Expert Embed Program in New Jersey Expanding Collaborative Redevelopment Platform to 8 New Cities
Promising inter-agency redevelopment initiative is expanding to Jersey City, Newark and 6 other cities in the Garden State.
Based on impressive early results reducing barriers to brownfield redevelopment, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) last month jointly announced the expansion of the state’s Community Collaborative Initiative (CCI) into Bridgeton, Jersey City, Millville, Newark, Paterson, Paulsboro, Salem City and Vineland.
In the four cities where it currently operates, Bayonne, Camden, Perth Amboy and Trenton, New Jersey’s innovative CCI embeds NJDEP staff directly within communities, where their knowledge and expertise is deployed to address environmental concerns on the ground. The initiative creates the kind of embedded communication that fosters closer working relationships and generates the insights necessary to overcome obstacles to redevelopment. And, by targeting communities where multiple environmental stressors exist, CCI works to open pathways to the remediation and redevelopment of contaminated sites that leads to the kind of multi-dimensional revitalization that produces environmental, economic and community benefits that stack to generate benefits orders of magnitude in size.
“The program has already been a tremendous success, and we are excited to help more communities throughout the state do the long-term planning necessary to address and remediate the unique environmental challenges faced by individual cities and neighborhoods,” said NJDEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe.
Success in Camden helped lay the groundwork for expansion of the immersive redevelopment program. There, CCI staff collaborated with local leaders and NJDEP experts to jumpstart the process of transforming the old 61-acre Harrison Avenue Landfill, shown below, into the new Cramer Hill Park with restored shoreline and uplands, new tidal wetlands, recreational amenities for residents and a solar field (or “brightfield”).
CCI cultivated 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. And 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 (a portion of which is shown at the top).
Leaning onto this track record of redevelopment success, this March the NJEDA and NJDEP announced their intentions to expand the collaborative inter-agency CCI partnership. Under the expanded partnership, NJEDA funding will supplement the existing two full-time equivalent NJDEP employees dedicated to CCI with an additional six full-time equivalent employees. These new full-time employees will work with community leaders, developers and government officials in the newly-added cities to facilitate brownfield remediation that aligns with the communities’ priorities and plans for the future.
“Governor Murphy’s economic development vision recognizes that growth and environmental protection are not competing priorities, but instead complementary goals. That is why we are focused on undertaking smart, targeted investments in New Jersey’s communities that take a comprehensive approach to tackling long-standing environmental and economic challenges,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of the NJEDA. “Given CCI’s track record of effectively addressing environmental issues in ways that accommodate the local community’s needs, the NJEDA is proud to partner with the NJDEP to expand the initiative into additional communities around the state.”
In the Garden State, with as long an industrial development history as any patch of land on the continent, the need to process legacy sites and redevelop brownfields is a necessity. As NJEDA’s Sullivan and NJDEP’s McCabe jointly penned in a recent Op-Ed:
Governor Murphy’s economic plan specifically identifies remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites as critical components to stimulating economic growth, and include a series of brownfields-specific investment programs, including an expanded brownfield redevelopment tax credit as well as an enhanced loan program administered through the NJEDA.
To read Governor Murphy's complete economic plan, please visit https://nj.gov/economicplan.
To learn more about redevelopment in New Jersey, redevelopment in Opportunity Zones and brownfield redevelopment in general, don’t miss the next national Opportunity Zone Boot Camp & Pitch Competition coming to NJIT in downtown Newark, New Jersey, conveniently located just minutes from the airport.
About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.