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Main Street New Jersey faces more cuts; economic development successes threatened

March 15, 2010

Our preservation partners at Main Street New Jersey are facing a particularly tough fiscal situation, with a “perfect storm” of state budget cuts that may endanger the Main Street program’s future.  Main Street New Jersey has been designated by the National Trust’s Main Street Center as the State coordinating entity for the Main Street movement since 1989.

The Main Street movement has transformed the way communities think about the revitalization and management of their commercial districts.  The Main Street Four-Point Approach is a community-driven, comprehensive strategy used to revitalize historic downtown and neighborhood business districts throughout the United States. It is a common-sense way to address the variety of issues and problems that challenge traditional business districts.

Since 1990, the “Main Street New Jersey” program has been a valuable investment in revitalizing the many historic New Jersey downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts impacted by changing living, travel, and shopping patterns.   MSNJ has provided participating local Main Street organizations with the training, tools, information, and networking they need to be successful.

In those highly successful 20 years, the New Jersey downtowns supported by the state’s Main Street NJ programs:

• have leveraged over One Billion Dollars of private reinvestment
• have leveraged an additional $228 Million in public investment from a variety of governmental sources and levels
• have fostered the net creation of over 7,656 fulltime jobs in more than 1,716 new and expanded businesses
• have supported more than 4,800 building preservation, improvement and construction projects, resulting in more than 1,200 downtown residential units of all affordability levels  (since 1997)
• in collaboration with its local programs, has provided the State an ROI of over $214 from the private sector for every single dollar the State has invested in Main Street New Jersey

Now is the time for the Christie Administration to focus much-deserved attention on this vital, proven economic development program.  Stable and adequate funding and close coordination with the state’s Economic Development and Smart Growth efforts can make Main Street an even more effective job creation and community revitalization program.    And the Governor should re-examine recent decisions about local funding mechanisms that may lead to the dismantling of several successful effective local Main Street revitalization programs.

For more information, visit the National Main Street Center, and the Main Street New Jersey webpages.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2010 6:29 pm

    This is really tragic. Jef Buhler and Healther McCall have done such excellent work at as the tiny New Jersey Main Street staff with more than 25 towns. The program should be moved along with the other heritage programs into the Dept of State like the others noted in the transition documents of then Governor Elect Christie. Why was the Main Street program not identified in those documents? I understand a full court lobbying effort is being planned.

  2. March 17, 2010 1:57 pm

    Confusion already reigns as a result of Gov. Christie’s proposed budget! DO NOT CONFUSE the proposed $22 million budget item for the NJ EDA Main Street Business Assistance Program with the (trademarked) Main Street New Jersey downtown revitalization program.

    The latter, the community-driven, comprehensive program that has promoted the 4 point approach to revitalize historic downtown and neighborhood business districts is still very much at risk and is receiving NO FUNDS.

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  1. Main Street New Jersey program threatened « Heritage Consulting Inc.

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