Salem has seen industry flee and poverty grow, but there are new signs that a turnaround may be on the horizon.

A struggling New Jersey city is getting help under a new state initiative aimed at reviving depressed communities — and more towns are likely to see the same aid.

The Department of Community Affairs says Salem is the first municipality in the state chosen to receive assistance through the New Jersey State Resource Network.

The network will provide “targeted help at minimal cost of municipalities … that have special challenges,” the DCA says.

For Salem, the focus will be on “areas of financial recovery, economic growth and community development.”

The economic component is “centered on the Port of Salem, one of the city’s best competitive advantages,” said DCA Communications Manager Gina Trish.

That focus will be on attracting industrial manufacturing jobs to the city.

Salem will also receive professional assistance in putting together a five-year financial plan which “will emphasize achieving fiscal stability so the city can invest in the necessary infrastructure to build a tax base, support job creation and redevelop the waterfront,” the DCA said.

The city already has already put a Waterfront Redevelopment Plan and a program aimed at boosting home-ownership, The Neighborhood Transition Initiative, in place.

Officials believe this new initiative will compliment programs the city already has in place and help them to gain momentum.

The DCA worked together with the National Resource Network to establish the New Jersey State Resource Network to supplement the existing programs in the DCA which help financially distressed cities.

Professionals involved in helping Salem will come from the national network, Trish said.

Seventy-five percent of the cost of their work is jointly funded by DCA and national network through the Arnold Foundation. Remaining funds come from local sources that may or may not include money …read more

Source:: New Jersey Real -Time News


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