The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is expanding its Community Collaborative Initiative (CCI) to enable Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) staff to provide ground-level support on brownfields redevelopment and urban revitalization efforts to a wider range of targeted urban areas. In addition to the cities where CCI is currently operating – Bayonne, Camden, Perth Amboy and Trenton—the initiative will be expanded to new municipalities around the state. The list of additional cities, which has not been finalized, will include Newark and Paterson.
“Building a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy requires taking an innovative approach to community revitalization that acknowledges economic prosperity and environmental sustainability are not competing goals but mutually reinforcing ideals,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “CCI has already made significant progress toward achieving both of these goals by working with local leaders to protect the environment and transform dangerous eyesores into valued community assets.”
The CCI embeds DEP staff at the ground-level within communities, providing a more direct connection to the necessary expertise that will enable communities to address environmental concerns effectively and appropriately. By making this expertise more easily accessible in targeted communities where multiple environmental stressors exist, the initiative fosters the communication, relationships, and insights necessary to open pathways to successful remediation and redevelopment of contaminated sites.
CCI is already producing results in Bayonne, Camden, Perth Amboy, and Trenton. In Camden, CCI staff collaborated with local leaders and DEP experts to jumpstart the process of transforming a 61-acre landfill into restored shoreline and uplands, with improvements such as the creation of new tidal wetlands, recreational amenities for residents, and a solar field. CCI has had similar success in Perth Amboy, where embedded staff facilitated the launch of a project to clean up a 6-acre scrap heap and build a new park on the site. In Trenton, CCI staff helped to advance the development of the Assunpink Greenway Park—a 99-acre redevelopment project that will include soccer fields, a waterfront walk, and other amenities.
“The Community Collaborative Initiative exemplifies Governor Murphy’s commitment to revitalizing New Jersey’s communities in a way that puts environmental sustainability front and center and remains true to residents’ priorities,” said DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “The program has already been a tremendous success, with significant benefits for New Jersey’s most vulnerable populations. We are excited to collaborate with the NJEDA to replicate this success around the state.”
The NJEDA is working with the DEP to expand the initiative into more New Jersey cities that will benefit from this initiative, such as Newark and Paterson, among others. Under the agreement, NJEDA funding will supplement the existing two full-time equivalent DEP employees dedicated to CCI with an additional six full-time equivalent employees. The NJEDA’s total funding commitment is approximately $1 million.
“Governor Murphy’s vision for a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy focuses on making smart, targeted investments in our communities in a way that recognizes each of their unique assets and challenges,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of the NJEDA. “With this expanded partnership, DEP and the EDA will be able to help more cities and towns throughout the state do the long-term planning necessary to remediate and redevelop brownfields. We are thrilled to be partnering with Commissioner McCabe and her team on this comprehensive approach to tackling longstanding environmental and economic challenges.”
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