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  1. Purpose

    In accordance with P.L. 2001, c.238, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-452 et seq., as amended and subsequent regulations, the Main Street New Jersey (MSNJ) Program may offer grant opportunities to eligible designated MSNJ district organizations to assist them with physical improvement projects that occur within designated districts as well as to support the development and implementation of their Transformation Strategies.

    The Main Street New Jersey COVID-19 Relief Program is a $1.6 million special program that provides District Management Organizations that actively participate in the Main Street New Jersey Program funding for eligible COVID-19 response activities and costs. The program aims to promote the continued recovery and revitalization of traditional Main Streets and business districts in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, with a special emphasis on supporting vulnerable small businesses. The program is funded by an allocation from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund and grantees must comply with all applicable federal rules around use of these funds.

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  2. Who May Apply

    Any designated MSNJ district management organization operating in accordance with P.L. 2001, c.238, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-452 et seq., as amended, and subsequent regulations is eligible to participate Awards will only be made to such organizations that submit complete applications and propose eligible COVID-19 response activities as described in this announcement.

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  3. Projects Eligible for Grants
    This grant is for eligible COVID-19 recovery activities as described below. The activities must occur within the boundaries of the designated MSNJ district.
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  4. Eligibility
    Funds shall be allocated towards uses that benefit small businesses with a physical location within the district boundary. The grantee may spend grant funds on small business-oriented items or programs, distribute funds to small businesses through a regrant program, or expend funds on behalf of small businesses. Neighborhood boundaries will be able to be viewed on DCA’s Community Asset Map.

    Funding is only available for necessary expenditures incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020 due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 (such as resulting from employment or business interruptions due to COVID-19), and includes:

    • Cleaning products, sanitizers, personal protection equipment, other safety equipment (cleaning service and/or supplies: EPA-approved disinfectants, gloves, and masks).
    • Expenses related to training and implement necessary and required protocols to continue operating the business, expenses related to the hiring and paying of employees necessary to implement protocols associated with screening, safety, security, cleaning, and sanitizing business premises to protect the employees and customers from COVID-19. Includes: creation/expansion of an ambassador program to help with sanitization of surfaces in public spaces and safety/security of public spaces.
    • Costs for retooling and technology activities, space and technology upgrades to reopen and conduct business safely, including furniture, barriers, cement planters for pedlets/parklets and technology such as laptops, software, and touch-free credit card payment systems to accommodate social distancing. Includes: cameras, software for security, propane heaters for cafes, and lighting upgrades throughout the district, provided they are specifically in response to circumstances created by the COVID-19 crisis.
    • Job training, classes and/or technical assistance, including, but not limited to, pivoting or modifying the business model, and training for long-term sustainability planning are also eligible for funding under this grant program. Includes: software platforms to initiate digital marketplace for district businesses, education courses for retailers and restauranteurs to pivot, classes to help setup for E-commerce Website upgrades (interactive directory/walking tours/mapping).
    • Amendments to code to permit dining, sales and consumption in areas not otherwise permitted.
    • Payment of rent or fees for use of vacant or publicly owned space for outdoor or indoor dining, sales or outdoor programming (for example, some municipalities are requiring that restaurant pay a fee and/or the daily cost for the use of a parking space if used by the restaurant as a seating area).

    Additional uses beyond these examples require prior approval from DCA.

    Funds may not be used for indirect costs, administration, or to support the salaries of applicant staff unless it is for activities substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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  5. Business Certification Requirement
    Businesses receiving funds from grantees must complete a written certification that:

    • They have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 Social Distancing Measures or the Stay-at-Home order (i.e. closed business temporarily, had to lay people off, realized at least a 25% drop in sales).
    • They have not received any COVID-19 relief funding from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, New Jersey Redevelopment Authority, or any other state business recovery program (excluding unemployment compensation from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development) including DCA’s Neighborhood Preservation Program and Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program. Businesses that received benefits (such as lease assistance and technical assistance) from the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority, New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and other state recovery programs, but did not receive direct COVID-19 relief funding from these programs, are eligible to receive funds.
    • They will not use the funds to support wages, activities, or purchases that have already received reimbursement from any state, federal, or foundation programs (including distributions from the unemployment insurance fund and any form of Federal CARES Act funding).
    • They have less than $5 million in gross receipts as of the most recent tax reporting year.
    • They have at least two employees (including owner) and no more than 100 employees.
    • They were in business as of March 17, 2020.
    • They have an operational physical location within the District boundary.
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  6. Scoring
    Funding awards will be determined based on the following factors:

    • Degree of project readiness to proceed.
    • Degree to which the project will be completed by or before December 15, 2020. This grant has a finite time limit for full implementation and the grant award and project must be completed in that period.
    • Degree to which grantee can document that the projects/activities implement or support the MSNJ DMO COVID-19 recovery and transition efforts for its district.
    • Number of commercial parcels in the District boundary.
    • Capacity Score: existing COVID-response activities, number of years active in District, past grantmaking activity to businesses. 

    Applicants are not required to provide data on commercial parcels, these data areas already on file with DCA.

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  7. Submission Requirements
      • Provide a description of the support for the project/activities by the Board of the MSNJ district management organization.
      • Provide a description of the support for the project/activities by the Executive Director of the MSNJ district management organization.
      • Briefly describe the MSNJ district management organization’s qualification of and capacity for implementing this project.
      • Describe the MSNJ district management organization’s history or providing grants and/or loans to small businesses (if any).
      • Briefly describe the MSNJ district management organization’s history of engagement in the neighborhood it serves, including the number of years it has served the neighborhood.
      • Describe the current need for the project/activities.
      • Explain why award would not constitute a duplication of benefits.
      • Provide a detailed description of the proposed project and how it aids in the recovery and transition from COVID-19.
      • Prepare a budget including all project costs.
      • List the amount(s) and source(s) of any matching funds and in-kind sources.
      • List the amount(s) of any paid staff time that is dedicated to the project (if any).
      • List the amount(s) of any consultant and professional costs that is part of the project (if any).
      • Certify that this agency is not delinquent on any Federal or State debt.
      • Certify that the applicant understands that payments from NJDCA will depend on our submission of all required grant reports.
      • Certify that neither members of our organization's governing body nor members of their families will receive any direct or indirect personal or monetary gain from the funding of this grant.
      • Certify that the organization’s Certification of System for Award Management (SAM) is valid and current.
      • Certify that neither members of the organization's governing body nor members of their families serve on any board, council, commission, committee, or task force that has regulatory authority or advising influence on the funding program.
      • If the agency has not received funds from NJDCA for the current State Fiscal Year, submit the organization’s most recent audit.
      • The information contained in the Board of Directors list in the Agency Information section is adequate and up-to-date at the time of this application.
      • Certification Regarding Debarment and Suspension
      • Certification Regarding Lobbying
      • Resolution of Board (Sample below)
      • IRS Determination Letter (New Applicants)
      • Organizational Chart
      • Other attachments as relevant
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  8. Application Process
    Funding Announcement released October 1, 2020 
    Applications due October 16, 2020 
    Applications reviewed October 23, 2020
    Notify applicants of award decisions October 28, 2020
    Anticipated award start date October 30, 2020

    Applications are due by October 16, 2020, with awards expected to be made by October 30, 2020. All funds received must be fully expended by grantees and their subrecipients by December 15, 2020. Any funds not expended by that date or expected to be expended by that date must be returned to DCA for distribution back to the US Treasury

    Applications must be submitted electronically through SAGE at

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  9. Sample MSNJ District COVID-19 Recovery and Transition Grants Resolution
    Click on the link below for a printable pdf file of the sample grants resolution:

    Sample MSNJ District COVID-19 Recovery and Transition Grants Resolution

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