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January 12, 2007

Contact: Elaine Makatura (609) 292-2994
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795


(07/02) TRENTON - Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced efforts to revitalize more than 200 blighted properties through the designation of Brownfield Redevelopment Areas for Neptune Township, Monmouth County; Orange Township and West Orange Township, Essex County; and Salem City, Salem County.

"Redevelopment of brownfields is a key component of restoring the economic vitality of our cities and older suburbs,'' Commissioner Jackson said. "In addition to removing environmental threats, cleaning up these properties and making new investments in their redevelopment preserves open space by taking pressure off undeveloped land.''

Brownfields are properties that are abandoned or underutilized because of actual, suspected or perceived contamination. Under DEP's Brownfield Development Area program, designated communities identify clusters of brownfield sites for coordinated remediation and reuse.

The latest designations involve a commercial district that has languished since the 1970s, a one-time center for the hat manufacturing industry, and a once-prosperous South Jersey port area.

Located between Route 35 and the Asbury Park border, the 3.5-acre Neptune-West Lake Avenue Brownfield Development Area was once the core of a thriving commercial district. Many of the more than 40 properties in this area were abandoned or burned down during races riots of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Redevelopment plans for this area call for 202 market-rate and affordable residential units, 95,000 square feet of commercial space, 60,000 square feet of office space, a municipal park, a police substation, a learning center and a public plaza.

The Orange/West Orange Central Valley Brownfield Development Area, meanwhile, was once a center for the hat manufacturing industry. It includes 17 properties straddling Orange and West Orange. The 12-acre area is roughly bounded by Nassau Street, Valley Road, Central Avenue and Scotland Road.

The planned end use for this area includes 1,500 market-rate residential units and 250,000 square feet of commercial retail space. An additional component calls for 800 residential units and a public park.

The Salem City Industrial District Brownfield Development Area encompasses 150 properties sprawling over 230 acres in the city's northwestern quadrant, including waterfront and upland properties along the Salem River and Fenwick Creek. The area is marked by vacant land, former bulk fuel storage facilities, and marginal or abandoned manufacturing facilities, including the former Heinz Co. site.

The city plans to prepare a detailed market study, land use plan and conceptual site plan.

With the three new designations, DEP now oversees 18 Brownfield Development Areas. Other municipalities with Brownfield Development Areas include Bayonne, Camden, Elizabeth, Newark, Paterson and Trenton.

Municipalities with designated Brownfield Development Areas are eligible for up to $5 million in assistance per calendar year from the state's Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund. The money may be used for site investigation and cleanup.

City Works, a nonprofit development company working on Neptune's redevelopment plans, and HANDS Inc., a nonprofit committed to redevelopment in the Oranges, plan to apply for additional site investigation money through a pilot program authorized by the Legislature.

City Works is the first nonprofit to act directly as applicant for inclusion in the Brownfield Development Area program.

Each Brownfield Development Area is assigned a DEP case manager, who is responsible for coordinating technical and financial assistance for the communities and for coordinating revitalization efforts with other state agencies, including the Economic Development Authority and Department of Community Affairs.

Local steering committees direct the development of plans for each Brownfield Development Area with DEP assistance.

"These are high priority sites for redevelopment and were selected through a rigorous review process,'' Commissioner Jackson said. "Bringing these properties under one umbrella creates new opportunities for neighborhoods to make their communities better places to live.''

DEP is accepting applications from municipalities interested in being included in the BDA program in 2007. Applications must be submitted by the steering committee representing the community.

Applications must include a description and explanation of the Brownfield Development Area and its proposed boundaries, a clear identification of the brownfield sites to be addressed, and current activities within the area.

The deadline for applications is March 31. For more information, go to:



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Last Updated: January 12, 2007