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Singleton Bill to Support Downtown Businesses in Less Populous Municipalities Advances

TRENTON – In an effort to promote economic development and business opportunities in less-populated municipalities, the Senate Economic Growth Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Troy Singleton and Parker Space that would provide financial and technical assistance to businesses located along main street areas in certain smaller municipalities.

“Providing assistance to businesses in small towns would breathe new life into the local economy and community,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “A main street lined with businesses, shops and restaurants attracts consumers and other new businesses into town, benefiting all the residents. This legislation makes downtown revitalization efforts of small town main streets possible.”

The bill, S-1435, would direct the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to establish the Downtown Economic Growth Program. Financial and technical assistance would be made available to businesses located along main streets in municipalities with populations of less than 11,000 and that is either a county seat, contains an opportunity zone, or is over 70 percent developed. 

The EDA would also be required to establish the Downtown Economic Growth Assistance Fund for the purposes of providing loans, loan guarantees, and technical assistance to the aforementioned businesses. The EDA would submit an annual report to the Legislature and the Governor on the effectiveness of the program, the number of businesses supported by the program, the types of businesses, the amount and types of assistance awarded by the program, and other necessary information. 

The bill was advanced in a unanimous vote.