Program Shows Net Gains of New/Expanded Businesses and New Jobs in 2011

TRENTON - Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Acting Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III today announced that the Christie Administration’s Main Street New Jersey (MSNJ) program continued its success in 2011, spurring job creation and business expansion in key New Jersey communities. The program’s technical assistance to designated local MSNJ programs supported net gains of 155 new/expanded businesses and 588 new jobs while attracting more than $123.5 million in public and private investment in such areas as property purchases, façade improvements and building rehabilitation.

"Main Street New Jersey is an important part of Governor Christie’s commitment to create jobs, spur investment in our downtowns and neighborhoods, and put people back to work," said Acting DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III. "Through Main Street New Jersey, we have partnered with leaders at the local level to invest where it matters and get people working again – creating over 588 jobs in 2011 alone. From business and job expansion to façade restorations and building renovations, the program is having a real, positive impact in our communities."

Since its inception in 1989, $1.3 billion has been provided for reinvestment in participating Main Street New Jersey districts. In 2011, the program had approximately $227 return on investment for every state dollar invested in the program.  Local stakeholders and volunteers invested $2,018,840 worth of free labor for the betterment of their historic downtowns and commercial corridors in 2008 alone.  Additionally, 48 properties were purchased, 101 façades renovated, 109 buildings rehabilitated, and 12 construction projects started in 2011.

"Main Street New Jersey helps municipalities across the state enhance their economies, their appearance, and their futures," said Jef Buehler, Director of the Main Street New Jersey and Improvement District Programs at the DCA. "Economic viability of a community's downtown area creates new and returning merchants, more shoppers, and visitors.  It encourages local investment in those communities. And increased local revenue creates new jobs matched by more and better business investments."

There were 25 designated communities in the Main Street New Jersey Program in 2011. The list includes Atlantic City, Boonton, Bridgeton, Burlington, Caldwell, Hammonton, Highland Park, Jersey City, Lawrenceville, Maple Shade, Millville, Montclair, Mount Holly, Newton, Ocean City, Orange, Plumsted Township, Salem, Somerville, South Orange, Vineland, West Orange, Westfield, Woodbury, and Camden's Broadway district.

Main Street New Jersey is a comprehensive revitalization program that promotes the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional business districts in New Jersey. The program builds on the Main Street Approach™ that was developed by the National Trust's National Main Street Center in 1980 to assist downtown revitalization efforts nationwide. Communities participating in Main Street New Jersey receive valuable technical support and training to assist in improving their Main Streets. The program employs a four-point approach that focuses on:

  • Building a strong, local Main Street organization that is well-represented and funded by stakeholders such as residents, merchants, civic groups, and bankers;
  • Restructuring the district's economics by engaging in such activities as recruiting new businesses, converting unused space for new uses, and sharpening the competitiveness of merchants;
  • Enhancing the visual appearance, attractiveness and traffic management of the business district; and
  • Promoting the district through festivals, retail events and marketing campaign to encourage consumer traffic.

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