Private businesses in Howell, Farmingdale and other towns can receive up $1,850 for project upgrades like a new awning, paint, door or sign under a new program being overseen by Monmouth County.
A map on the county's VisitMonmouth.com website identifies eligible businesses zones in the municipalities. In Howell, that is in and around the Route 9 / Adelphia Road area, and the Ford, Kent and Brown Road area. All of Farmingdale is included.
"What we really hope it does is to give small businesses the ability to improve the look of their business," said Amy Fitzgerald of the Monmouth County Department of Economic Development. "A group of businesses in a downtown area can take advantage of it to make improvements and increase business flow."
The "Grow Monmouth Facade Improvement Program" is funded by $75,000 in Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant funds that have been pooled together from leftover projects around the county. There are no matching funds required from the business, and no county funds will be used, said county Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone.
Grant awards will be made on a first come, first served basis, said Arnone.
Applicants are encouraged to contact the Monmouth County Department of Economic Development at 732-431-7470 to discuss their projects prior to submitting an application.
The eligible municipalities include Aberdeen, Atlantic Highlands, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Colts Neck (naval station only), Deal, Eatontown, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Hazlet, Highlands, Keansburg, Keyport, Lake Como, Manalapan, Matawan, Neptune City, Neptune Township, Ocean Township, Red Bank, Shrewsbury Township, Tinton Falls (naval station only), Union Beach and West Long Branch.
Towns that receive their own their own HUD funding directly, such as Middletown, Long Branch and Asbury Park, are not eligible to participate in this program.