Carteret, NJ – Mayor Dan Reiman recently joined with the Carteret Department of Economic Development to announce that the Borough will receive $107,000 from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, for the calendar year 2008. The funds have been competitively applied for through Middlesex County’s participation in HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Program.
The federal CDBG program was established in 1974 as a flexible program to provide communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. It is one of the longest continuously run programs at HUD, providing annual grants on a formula basis to 1180 general units of local government and States. HUD distributes funds to each State based on a statutory formula which takes into account population, poverty, incidence of overcrowded housing, and age of housing. Neither HUD nor States distribute funds directly to citizens or private organizations. With the exception of larger “entitlement” communities, funds are distributed by States to units of local government.
In recent years Carteret has benefitted from the program’s versatility, providing funding for public resources, senior programs, and the newly established Small Business Loan program. The Borough’s elder residents have received a number of household safety conveniences through Carteret’s participation, including carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers, as well as ADA enhancements to public facilities. 2008 will mark the 4th year that local seniors will be eligible to receive sidewalk “cake” replacements with the assistance of CDBG funding.
More recently, Carteret’s redevelopment areas, most notably Washington Avenue, have experienced growth in the form of new or revitalized businesses. In 2003 the Borough established the “Carteret Business Partnership,” a local coalition of businesses that now provide grants and loans to help jumpstart new businesses. The Carteret Small Business Loan Program has provided funding for over 20 projects including loans, new and expanded small business grants, and facade improvement matching grants including awning and signs. Since 2004, over $685,000 has funded Small Business Programs from a number of resources including the CDBG program. Last year alone, the Borough introduced 5 new or relocated businesses to Washington Avenue, which is now celebrated for its aesthetic transformation and economic revitalization.
Mayor Reiman has announced that plans for the 2008 cycle of funding will include long-awaited improvements to the Borough’s central Carteret Park. Among these will be the restoration of the park’s dilapidated basketball and tennis courts. Funds will also assist with the completion of Carteret’s first Cultural and Historic Center, and Health and Wellness Center.
“There is an incredible range of quality-of-life enhancements that have been made possible through the Community Development Block Grant program,” Mayor Reiman commented. “From small programs that benefit our residents directly, to grants and loans that are reshaping our commercial corridors, the flexibility of CDBG has allowed us to apply vital resources where they are most needed, and to redefine Carteret as a great place to live.”
Mayor Reiman also expressed concerns regarding President Bush’s proposed abolition of the program:
“I find it disturbing that his budget calls for the complete elimination of the community development block grant program. Here in Carteret, our administration has utilized CDBG funding to improve community based programs and services for our seniors and those in need, and I know there are many other communities that have benefitted similarly. Pulling the carpet from under this vastly successful resource would be shortsighted and neglectful.”