Bridgeton Investments and Improvement Projects to Support Economic Development
Cumberland County Improvement Authority (CCIA) is working to support the economic development efforts of the county including those that meet the specific growth objectives of cities like Bridgeton. From the development of the Food Specialization Center, to the investment in Bridgeton’s downtown and proposed energy resources and savings at the City’s landfill – the CCIA is cultivating improvements and advances that directly benefit Bridgeton, the county’s seat.
A $9.5 million Food Specialization Center, planned to expand the local economy, will result in a 27,000 square-foot facility the CCIA plans to construct adjacent to Rutgers Food Innovation Center. With the city’s approval, this strategic investment will attract more companies and people to the city.
“The Food Specialization Center will host large scale food companies and their employees before their products are launched into the market,” Gerard Velazquez, Executive Director of the Improvement Authority explains. “This Center will provide three to five-year tenant arrangements for established or new companies. In addition, the experts at Rutgers Food Innovation Center will support these companies technically with a full complement of services to prepare them for facility independence and maximum growth potential.”
According to Velazquez, the real economic benefit of the center will be to keep these food related businesses in the county and expand the county’s opportunities for jobs and tax contributors. Velazquez said, pending city approvals, the project will begin in October so that it can be completed by fall of next year.
One of the largest and more strategic initiatives in Bridgeton is the CCIA’s improvement project for the city’s downtown area. A $10 million project to renovate a former and older bank building is planned to bring added foot traffic to the city’s center where the new County Clerk’s Office and other tenants will be located. In addition to this $10 million investment in the county seat, the project will result in the rehabilitation of a state-designated “Brownfield” or vacated commercial site.
The CCIA will secure the funds, independent of the City of Bridgeton, and completely manage the project. “This is a major project for our downtown and we are excited to work together with the CCIA team to see it come to fruition”, Bruce Riley, Chairperson of the Bridgeton Area Chamber of Commerce said. Plans include the bidding process occurring this fall with construction expected to begin in 4th quarter of 2017.
In addition to these two landmark building projects in Bridgeton, a capping project at the Bridgeton Municipal Landfill, pending city approval, also holds many benefits. This $300,000 CCIA-funded improvement project is intended to not only secure the landfill and its health and safety standards, but will provide the city an opportunity to develop a solar energy project. This sustainability project, to be entirely funded and managed by an outside energy development company, will provide a renewable energy source for Bridgeton and is estimated to result in a 15% savings for the city over the next 20 years.