WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker and Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-Middlesex, Monmouth) today announced that Asbury Park will receive a $500,000 Choice Neighborhood planning grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allowing the city to develop a comprehensive revitalization plan that addresses housing, educational support, job training, and other critical initiatives.
“The West Side of Asbury Park is a neighborhood full of untapped opportunity,” Sen. Menendez said. “With this grant, investors, community groups and local officials will have the tools to transform the area to create opportunities for residents, and help Asbury Park return to its glory as a premiere Jersey Shore destination. Programs such as these are crucial for building ladders to the middle class for lower-income residents, strengthening neighborhoods and sowing the seeds for job and economic growth.”
“As a former mayor, I have seen firsthand the impact successful federal programs like the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative have on addressing some of the most pressing needs in our communities,” said Sen. Booker. “This federal funding will help Asbury Park lay the groundwork for longterm plans that will support revitalization efforts, improve access to safe and affordable housing, and strengthen neighborhoods. We must remain committed to securing the resources needed to help lift up our most underserved communities and create pathways of opportunity for all.”
“I congratulate the Asbury Park Housing Authority and the City of Asbury Park on receiving this grant, “ said Rep. Pallone. “These funds will help this iconic city continue its revitalization and, most importantly, improve the quality of life for residents of the West Side. Asbury Park is tremendously important to the Jersey shore and our local economy and these funds will allow the City to take another step forward.”
The Asbury Park Housing Authority and the City of Asbury Park will use the grant to formulate and then implement a plan for the West Side neighborhood in order to build affordable housing for vulnerable residents, create a pedestrian-friendly blocks and provide needed supportive services for residents. Asbury Park was one of 10 recipients across the United States to receive funding.
“I’m very pleased to hear about federal dollars helping housing, redevelopment, and social services in Asbury Park,” Asbury Park Mayor John Moor said. “Working with partners in the housing authority and non-profits, we’re going to use this money to think comprehensively and continue to improve life here in Asbury Park.”
“This an exciting opportunity for the board of commissioners, the agency, and most importantly the residents of Asbury Park,” said Tyrone Garrett, interim director of the Asbury Park Housing Authority. “By creating a strategic plan, it’s a giant step, and will continue the momentum to creating a strong, efficient organization that will improve quality of life for residents.”
Funded through HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, these planning grants are awarded to severely distressed neighborhoods to help local leaders develop a vision for revitalization and economic opportunity, and will allow Asbury Park to apply for Choice Neighborhood implementation grants to fulfill that vision.
Key partners in the project include:
· Interfaith Neighborhoods
· HOPE Academy Charter School
· Visiting Nurses Association
· Monmouth Medical
· Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County
· Maestro Community Development Corporation
· Monmouth University
· Wallace Roberts & Todd
· Community Action Network
· New Jersey Natural Gas
In 2013, Sen. Menendez introduced the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, which funds the HUD’s Choice Neighborhood grants, to support comprehensive local neighborhood transformation plans, such as the one proposed by Asbury Park.