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Freehold Borough takes step forward in revitalization efforts

FREEHOLD – A state agency has awarded the Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) designation to Freehold Borough and the action is expected to assist municipal officials as they work to revitalize certain areas of the community.

Mayor Kevin Kane recently received a letter from New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver which stated that Freehold Borough has received the NPP designation from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA).

The designation was awarded to the borough’s neighborhood preservation project district, which includes portions of Throckmorton Street, Mechanic Street, Lafayette Place, Haley Street and Rhea Street.

According to the state, the NPP is a program of grants to encourage and promote the social and economic strengthening and development of neighborhoods. The NPP directly serves targeted neighborhoods throughout New Jersey and provides money to revitalizes areas in decline.

Municipalities are eligible to apply for the NPP if they have a local residential area that meets the “threatened, but viable” criteria. The criteria is defined as neighborhoods that are beginning to decline, but can be rehabilitated and restored by cultivating existing social, economic, financial and technical resources toward the development and implementation of planned activities that sustain neighborhood vitality, according to the state.

NPP funds may be used for administrative costs; community planning; housing rehabilitation, code enforcement, and related commercial rehabilitation/revitalization; educational, self-help activities, and neighborhood organization; demolition, site clearance, and property acquisition and disposition; and limited infrastructure and public facility improvements in conjunction with neighborhood rehabilitation activities.

In her letter to Freehold Borough, Oliver said applications from 31 municipalities sought 20 available spots for NPP designation.

The lieutenant governor said that in addition to the NPP designation and technical assistance from the DCA’s Neighborhood Preservation Program team, Freehold Brough will receive an initial grant of $125,000 to support the implementation of the program.

“We believe that working together, we will be able to achieve stakeholder-driven visible and tangible change in this part of your community that will benefit your residents and business owners while helping to build a stronger and fairer New Jersey,” Oliver wrote. “We look forward to continuing to support the borough as you (Kane) move forward with your local NPP efforts.”

In a Dec. 27 post on Facebook, Kane asked Freehold Borough residents and stakeholders to participate in a survey related to the NPP.

The survey may be found at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScu0t2Wp3KkvKPH96GrPeQfhfVP3K2gOOoY7g4zSpMHTqgXnQ/viewform

In his Facebook post, Kane said the online survey “is one step toward ensuring residents and business owners have the opportunity to provide valuable input for the five-year NPP Implementation Plan.

” … Robust community engagement is the name of the game. A lot of staff and volunteers worked so hard to secure this amazing opportunity and we need to show the funders we are taking this very seriously and are committed to an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to generate visible, tangible, collaborative and positive change,” he said.

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