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NJRA Training Has an Impact on Elizabeth

The Rewards of
Bringing Key
'Problem Solvers'

Christian Bollwage  Leslie A. Anderson
By J. Christian Bollwagel
Mayor, City of Elizabeth, League Past
President and Leslie A. Anderson.
Executive Director New Jersey
Redevelopment Authority

People in business dress sitting at a conference table

The City of Elizabeth has experienced an unprecedented transformation. From housing and transportation enhancements to industrial and retail opportunities, the city continues to reinvent neighborhoods and reinvigorate the community. Easily accessible by major roadways, Elizabeth’s unique location continues to attract residents and employers that seek tree-lined streets, thriving business districts and diverse culture.

Economic Development Since 1993, $1.5 billion in economic development investments have been made and more than 7,000 jobs have been created in the City of Elizabeth. Working with vital partners, such as the Elizabeth Development Company (EDC), the city has been able to leverage federal, state, city and local funds. Established to address the municipality’s economic development needs, the Elizabeth Development Company has assisted in the facilitation of numerous public and private initiatives. Successful large-scale redevelopment projects, such as the Jersey Gardens Mall and IKEA store continue to excel, drawing patrons from throughout the tri-state area.

The EDC not only implements and seeks financing for redevelopment projects, but also spearheads several projects including the landmark $12.2 million Broadway/ Livingston Street Development Project. Located on a 1.5 acre brownfield site in the city’s Elizabethport (E’Port) section, this project will provide a new state-of-the-art supermarket, a pharmacy and additional retail space. Acting as an economic anchor to Elizabethport, this initiative will provide essential services to the entire surrounding area.

Housing Projects In addition to economic development initiatives, this partnership includes life-changing projects, such as HOPE VI, which have reinvented neighborhoods and enabled residents to experience the joy of homeownership. In addition to new housing, the $90 million HOPE VI housing initiative provided transitional services for re-located public housing residents.

As new initiatives are embarked upon, it is important that municipal administrators and department personnel stay informed and educated on the redevelopment process. Redevelopment law in New Jersey continues to be modified and municipalities must apply those standards and requirements to all development projects.

Redevelopment Training Assisting in this effort is the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority’s (NJRA) Redevelopment Training Institute (NJRA RTI). This intensive training is taught by seasoned industry professionals, who share real-world experience regarding all aspects of redevelopment.

Courses on the Redevelopment Planning Process, Real Estate Development and Project Finance provide economic development personnel with the knowledge they need to make their redevelopment goals a reality.

The instructors at the Redevelopment Training Institute provide participants with detailed resources, comprehensive manuals for future reference and insightful accounts of the redevelopment process. The training promotes an atmosphere of interaction and incorporates “hands on” problem solving techniques. Participants also share their own experiences and have an opportunity to network with other professionals.

Aiding Nonprofits Many nonprofit agencies have had to reinvent themselves due to developement trends, the economy and diminishing public funding sources. Training provided through the NJRA, enables individuals and agencies working in or with the public sector to hone and acquire skills that will promote growth and success. Invaluable training and instructive workshops offer key “problem solvers” important updates and an exchange of professional experiences. These interactive sessions include, but are not limited to: developers, finance and development professionals and public/non-profit representatives. In addition to being a valuable learning tool, these forums also provide great networking opportunities.

The NJRA Redevelopment Training Institute is dedicated to providing the necessary resources to implement successful redevelopment through the incorporation of innovative planning with committed and qualified partners. To take advantage of this exciting training, please visit the NJRA Redevelopment Training Institute Web site at, or by contacting the NJRA RTI Hot Line at 609-292-0031.

This article was originally published in New Jersey Municipalities magazine. Vol. 86, No. 5, May 2009


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