MCIA Receives $1 Million Federal Grant to Study Possible
Contaminated Sites Grant To Fund Work in Woodbridge, Perth Amboy

May 12 , 2009 -- The Middlesex County Improvement Authority received a $1 million grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess properties in Perth Amboy and Woodbridge that are suspected of being contaminated.

In order to receive the grant, entities will be required to work together to investigate and redevelop properties known as Brownfields. The MCIA partnered with Perth Amboy and Woodbridge to meet the grant’s stipulations.

Perth Amboy is targeting its Redevelopment Area 1 in the southern part of the municipality, while Woodbridge is seeking to investigate properties in its Route 1 Corridor Redevelopment Area in Avenel.

Middlesex County Deputy Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano, liaison to the MCIA, stated: “This EPA grant will bolster the MCIA’s program of pairing in-house planning, project management, and partnership assistance with outside financial and other resources to maximize a project’s potential for success.”

To date, the MCIA has secured $950,000 through four previous EPA grants for similar work in various communities, including Carteret, Highland Park, Middlesex Borough, Milltown, Perth Amboy and South Amboy.

“Through our Economic Development Office, we have helped municipalities throughout the County reclaim underused properties to bring them back to beneficial use,” said MCIA Chairman Leonard J. Roseman. “ Our assistance runs the gamut from helping fill out permitting applications, helping to secure state and federal grants, or assisting with the planning and management aspects of a project.”

MCIA Executive Director Richard Pucci thanked the EPA for its strong support of the Authority’s Redevelopment Program. He noted that EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant Funds have been used to further projects throughout Middlesex County such as the:

EPA monies have worked together with many millions in funds from other sources to bring neglected, contaminated, and underutilized properties back to contribute once again to their host communities.

Woodbridge Mayor John E. McCormac has made redevelopment of the area a priority: “The Township of Woodbridge is anxious to move forward in the process to identify, remediate and redevelop Brownfields areas that have had a longstanding impact on productive redevelopment along the Route 1 corridor within Woodbridge Township. The Woodbridge Redevelopment Agency continues to work with the MCIA, state agencies, neighboring communities, and the business and corporate community to further the redevelopment process of Brownfields areas and has already conducted and completed redevelopment studies of the Woodbridge Township Brownfield areas. Through the MCIA and the EPA grant, Woodbridge, Perth Amboy and Middlesex County will now be better positioned to clean-up the sites and to move forward with productive redevelopment.”

Mayor Wilda Diaz said: "This funding to study environmental concerns is part of our continued efforts to eliminate Brownfields and spur economic development. My administration looks forward to continuing to work with the MCIA on efforts that will have a positive and substantial impact on those who live and work in Perth Amboy."

Participating community organizations in this grant submission include the Perth Amboy High School Environmental Club, the Raritan Bay Area YMCA, the Perth Amboy Merchants Association, the Perth Amboy Chamber of Commerce, the Raritan Riverkeeper, the Woodbridge Environmental Commission, the Woodbridge Economic Development Corporation and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Division of Brownfields Resources

The grant is one of three selected from 16 applicants in New Jersey to receive EPA regular competitive grant funds. The EPA is awarding $111.9 million nationally in Brownfields grant funds.