The CEZC has worked together with municipal administrations in revitalization efforts in the downtown corridors of both the City of Vineland and Bridgeton. In Vineland, many buildings have had façade improvements, paving the way for new businesses assisted with CEZC loan financing. The CEZC has also been an active participant in the city’s Main Street program. In Bridgeton, CEZC staff works closely with the City’s Economic Development Department on Downtown revitalization, and created a land bank program with the City whereby key properties are targeted for acquisition and development in a manner consistent with the City’s vision for the Downtown. Significantly, the land bank program is providing a facility for an innovative Makerspace facility, through a partnership between the CEZ, City of Bridgeton and Cumberland County College. This project, slated for opening in November 2014, places the City at the forefront of the rapidly growing 3D printing industry, and provides education and entrepreneurial opportunities for residents throughout the County.
To date, 400 homes have been renovated, built, or purchased by EZ residents with Cumberland Empowerment Zone assistance through the Tri-County Community Action Agency Lead Abatement Program, the City of Vineland Paint and Improvements Needed Today (PAINT) Program, the City of Vineland’s Neighborhood Revitalization Housing Rehabilitation Program, Vineland’s Housing Down Payment Assistance Program (HOAP), and Tri-County Community Action Agency’s development of the Wesley Village Housing Project. The CEZ also provided financial assistance to the HOPE VI project in Bridgeton that has created an additional 9 home ownership opportunities and over 200 rental units.
The CEZC also received a $2.5 million grant from the State of New Jersey under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. With these funds, 9 properties that were either abandoned or foreclosed in the County have been renovated and sold to new homeowners. Presently, the CEZC and its partners are in the pre-development phase of a 28-unit rental housing project to provide quality housing alternatives for year-round agricultural workers in the City of Bridgeton. USDA funding has been committed for the project, and the development team is seeking the remaining funding needed to bring this important project to reality.