GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, NJ– Gloucester Township Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) district has been awarded $200,000 Community Capital Needs NPP Grant from the NJ Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA). The grant will be used to acquire and help fund reconstruction of the former bank building on the corner of Black Horse Pike and Church Street ( 3 S Black Horse Pike) in Blackwood section of Gloucester Township. Approximately $550,000 in additional funding from various federal, state, and local sources will go toward this project in keeping with goal of leveraging Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) funding to expand the resources and impact on the community.
Built over a century ago (est. 1911), this 6685 square-foot historic building will serve as a much-needed Community and Arts Center, a “shared space” where Gloucester Township residents and entities such as, but not limited to, the Library and Mainstage Center for Performance Arts, will hold their events and other happenings. Local artists’ exhibitions, community classes, non-profit organizations’ meetings and events can take place at the Gloucester Township Community and Arts Center which will become the pinnacle and a community hub of the Gloucester Township Arts District in Downtown Blackwood.
“We are extremely grateful to receive the grant from NJDCA. The historical bank building is located in the very heart of the Downtown Blackwood in a highly visible area. The proposed Gloucester Township Community and Arts Center will serve as a catalyst project to solidify the revitalization efforts in the district. Without this funding Gloucester Township would not be able to realize other investments to make this project a reality, “said Mayor David R. Mayer.
The grant will allow the Township to fast track this project, which was identified as a need when the NPP Stakeholder Team sought community input for the 5-year NPP Implementation Plan. The project will be completed in multiple stages, the first of which is scheduled to be finalized in summer 2023.
In June, the NJDCA announced 13 Community Capital Needs (CCN) NPP grants totaling $3.75 million for NPP districts throughout New Jersey. The grants are designed to significantly leverage prior and new investments, and aid designated NPP districts in completing or advancing projects of a capital nature. The program was created to
promote the continued recovery and revitalization of communities in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. It will also address key capital improvements in NPP districts that can serve as catalysts for ongoing economic growth and increased quality of life in those areas, resulting in more resilient communities and a stronger and fairer New Jersey.
The Neighborhood Preservation Program is designed to increase place, economic, civic and social value in 40 “threatened but viable” communities – including the Arts District NPP Neighborhood centered around Downtown Blackwood. It does so by awarding designated communities $125,000 a year over 5 years to enhance buildings, streets and a district’s entire physical realm. The grants also help to support and coordinate small business recovery, growth and sustainability, and market district events and activities while engaging local stakeholders in planning and relationship building.