Hunterdon County Freeholders, at the May 5 board meeting, approved four new economic development grants designed to improve the economic and business climates for Lambertville, Frenchtown, Milford, and Kingwood Township, N.J.
“The municipal grant program has been in a place for over two years now and is designed to help county towns prepare for their future economic success,” said Freeholder Board Director Shaun C. Van Doren, “There’s no better time to be doing that than right now.”
The grants to Lambertville and Milford will allow both to contract with planning consultants to undergo ordinance reviews to make the process for business growth less cumbersome. Lambertville also intends to solicit feedback directly from business owners in a series of in-person and online roundtables.
Along with the ordinance review, Milford will utilize the grant to work with planners to expand the borough’s business district, to allow for more business opportunities and potentially increase local investment.
“Milford has been on the cusp of an economic revival and we don’t plan to let current circumstances alter that,” said Milford Mayor Henri Schepens. “This project helps us continue to set the stage for success.”
As Lambertville and Milford intend to do, Frenchtown has already used the county’s grant program to implement ordinance and procedural changes in the borough. The new grant will now fund work with a vendor to provide online access to the boroughs’ municipal code. This project will result in all laws, regulations, and related documents being easily searched and located by the business community and the public. According to borough officials, this change will also save staff time.
Kingwood Township officials say they have big plans to market their more than 1,200 acres of parks. Among them, they will use the grant funding to work with OuterSpatial, a company that has created a platform specifically designed to help park agencies take advantage of mobile technology.
“The result will be an interactive App that will maximize the parks visibility to the public,” said Kingwood Township Committeeman Richard Dodds. “It’s more important than ever for Hunterdon residents to have knowledge and access to the terrific assets the township and county have to offer.”
Also on the tourism front, Frenchtown officials report that they are finalizing a film ordinance to let that specific business sector know that they are “open for business.”
“Tourism is a big part of Hunterdon’s economy,” said Freeholder Matt Holt, “It’s great to see our communities embracing the industry as a part of their future success.”
Holt added that Frenchtown’s effort is a part of the county’s FilmHunterdon initiative, aimed at attracting film and video productions to Hunterdon.
As a condition of the grant program, municipalities pay 10% of the total cost of their funded projects.