Carteret, NJ – Mayor Dan Reiman and the Borough Council announced today that a $500,000 UEZ Funding grant for the Carteret Health & Wellness Center has been awarded by the New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zone Authority at their December 10th meeting. The UEZ Funding will be used for site improvement costs, including demotion of existing structures, and environmental preparation of the site of construction. To date, approximately $10 million has been raised for the state-of the-art health and fitness facility through state and county grants, private endowments, and redevelopment fees generated by local business and litigation settlements.
A junior Olympic sized swimming pool will be housed in the facility’s 7,000 square foot aquatics center. The pool along with the Health and Wellness Center’s many other amenities will be tailored to meet a wide variety of health and recreational needs, and will allow for programs that will benefit different age groups. The UEZ funding award will complement existing financial resources for construction of the project. Total cost for the facility has been estimated at $14 million, which the Mayor and Redevelopment Agency expect to have earmarked by the project’s completion in 2010.
Carteret is one of 37 UEZ designated communities in New Jersey. Since 1996 Carteret has collected in excess of $5.2 million in UEZ sales tax revenues that are dedicated for UEZ Projects. Since the UEZ designation, over 11 projects have been funded through the program, including Washington/Roosevelt Avenue streetscape improvements, a state-of-the-art computer lab, a range of small business startup programs, and Washington Avenue facade Improvements. Carteret will be developing additional projects for consideration by the NJ Urban Enterprise Zone Authority.
“We expect it to be close to fully funded through public and private endowments by completion, at minimal or no cost to our taxpayers” Mayor Reiman stated. “The value of this project to the community and the region is immense, both in terms of its immediate value to residents, and the inevitable impact it will have on area businesses.”
Mayor Reiman has emphasized that the Health and Wellness Center will eventually contribute to the economic vitality of the Cooke and Washington Avenue Redevelopment areas, which lie adjacent to the project area, and will provide union Construction employment, and new small business opportunities within the facility itself. The Cooke and Washington Avenue Redevelopment areas are mixed-use in-fill construction projects, which bring a walkable compact scale of Smart Housing options and small business opportunities in proximity to Carteret’s town center.
The facility will ultimately be subleased to private medical and health-related professionals, and house a café. With a health conscious population along with the baby-boomer population, health and wellness activities represent a sizable market that are expected to attract new investments in Carteret.
“The project will be a boost for the surrounding small businesses in the UEZ Area, stimulating and expanding the customer base, and adding pedestrian walking traffic” Kathaleen Shaw, UEZ Director stated. “ These added activities will support small UEZ business employment obligations to maintain UEZ certification in the program.”
The challenging economic climate demands public private partnerships and dynamic funding resources. Carteret has assembled these creative resources to create a new brick and mortar project that create jobs and full fill an enhanced quality of life for Carteret. Construction plans for the facility include the most energy efficient materials and standards to promote Green Technologies. Construction of the Carteret Health and Wellness Center will begin in 2009 with the demolition of a city block adjacent to the Borough Hall, with its completion projected for late 2010.
The Health and wellness center will be publicly developed and owned while managed by a Non-profit private foundation. Membership fees will be based on the level of participation and Carteret residents will benefit with discounted single and family memberships.
“We have already seen an exceptional interest in managing the facility from YMCA’s and Hospital foundations to the Jewish Renaissance Foundation; all are extremely well qualified. We will soon begin the process of selecting the operator and negotiating the management contract” said Mayor Dan Reiman.