Carteret, NJ – Mayor Dan Reiman was joined by County Freeholder Director Ronald Rios, to announce that the Borough has received a $6 million grant from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund. The funding, awarded at the Board of Chosen Freeholder’s meeting, will be used towards the restoration, reconstruction, and expansion of the former Ritz Theater located on Washington Avenue, where the Borough is establishing a local arts district. The county previously provided $325,000 to assist the Borough in facility acquisition costs in 2013. The grant will also be matched by a combination of public and private dollars from grants, donations, endowments, and redevelopment fees.
“This grant is a milestone in our journey to establish Carteret as an entertainment destination for local residents and draw visitors from throughout New Jersey,” said Reiman. “The funding generously provided by our county freeholders will help make the theater and performing arts center a reality.”
In addition to the 1,450 seat performing arts center and concert hall, future plans for the site call for constructing a movie theater adjacent to the soon-to-be-expanded structure. Organized similar to SOPAC in South Orange, the two components of the Ritz will be operated independently but synchronically, with similar visions and goals.
Added Rios, “It is hard to overstate the potential this project has to transform the region. From the State Theater in New Brunswick to Count Basie in Red Bank, the economic benefits directly linked to the creation of theater districts are well-established. This is just the beginning for Carteret.”
The Borough has established a non-profit agency to fundraise towards the project and oversee the theater’s operations once completed. Borough officials hope to have construction ready plans available early next year and to reopen the theater in 2017.