Urban Enterprise Zone Authority Awards $7.4 Million in Zone Assistance Fund Grants to Lakewood; The Largest Grant in the State

The Urban Enterprise Zone Authority (UEZA), an affiliate agency of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, has announced today that Lakewood is the recipient of the largest total allocation of Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) grant funding in the state.

Lakewood will receive more than $7.4 million in Zone Assistance Funds (ZAF) in 2024, up from $5.5 million in 2023. These funds will support various community improvement initiatives, with a special focus on bolstering quality of life for Lakewood’s residents.

The UEZA offers business and tax incentives with the primary objective of reinvigorating designated urban communities, driving economic growth by encouraging businesses to expand and create private sector employment opportunities through a blend of public and private investments

Since the UEZA’s reboot in 2021, the Lakewood Development Corporation, which oversees Lakewood’s UEZ program, has implemented numerous impressive programs that have allowed the township’s businesses to grow and create jobs, in part by encouraging residents to shop local, and attracting residents from other towns to shop in Lakewood.

Lakewood’s UEZ program offers a couple of financial assistance programs that are very popular with businesses,” said David Klein, Executive Director of the Lakewood Development Corporation. “These financial incentives include loan forgiveness if businesses hire full-time employees that stay in their jobs for 12 months, as well as reimbursable tech incentives that promote modernization, and a revolving loan program.”

A cornerstone to Lakewood’s success is its robust and easy-to-use website portal, accessible at: Lakewood Development Corporation Urban Enterprise Zone : Township of Lakewood (lakewoodnj.gov).

The UEZ program was originally established in 1983. UEZ funds (known as Zone Assistance Funds, or ZAFs) are allocated to UEZs by a four-factor formula established by state statute at N.J.S.A. 52:27H-88. In August 2021, Acting Governor Sheila Y. Oliver signed legislation that appropriated $42.5 million to the program, enabling an expansion of UEZA services within designated zones.

A main benefit of the revitalized UEZ program is the ZAFs, which provide flexible revenue to communities for economic development. In the two years since the program’s relaunch, UEZA has awarded approximately $52 million in ZAFs to 115 municipal-level projects.

Additionally, participating businesses within the zones receive a reduced sales tax rate (currently 3.3125%), as well as tax-free purchases on capital equipment, facility expansions, and similar investments. There are currently over 6,000 businesses participating in the program throughout the state.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The whole UEZ makes no sense why does some bureaucrat get to decide to which stores in Lakewood should get my tax payer money its either all or none it just make it an uneven playing field! were I as a small business owner who is just out of a UEZ zone has to charge costumers double amount of tax !! I guess the deep state is in Lakewood to!!!!!!!!!!

  2. In my view, Lakewood is over-vitalized already, and not in need of any revitalization. how about just fix the traffic and call it a day?

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