MILLVILLE — A community development organization is getting $1 million to help in the city’s effort to revitalize some of its slumping neighborhoods.
Officials with Holly City Development Corp. say they will use the money to tear down dilapidated buildings and install lighting and surveillance cameras in those neighborhoods. Some of the money may be used to build a community center, they said.
The money is coming from South Jersey Gas and will be channeled to the corporation, a subsidiary of the Millville Housing Authority, through the state Department of Community Affairs’ Revitalization Tax Credit Program. Funds from the state program are used by eligible nonprofit organizations to improve the neighborhoods they serve.
“We are excited about our new partnership with South Jersey Gas,” said corporation Executive Director Paul Dice. “With their generous support, we will be able to improve center city Millville.”
South Jersey Gas President Jeffrey E. DuBois said the partnership provides his company “with the opportunity to invest in the future and the families in a location where our employees live and work.”
South Jersey Gas provides natural gas service to more than 362,000 customers in a large part of South Jersey, including Cumberland County.
Last year, the city began taking a tougher stance on dilapidated buildings in the municipality, but especially those in the center city and 3rd Ward neighborhoods. That involves a greater use of demolition.
City officials turned to that option to deal with an increasing problem of abandoned buildings that are — in part because of sour economic times — falling into disrepair and creating potential health and public safety problems. Some of the buildings targeted by the city have sat empty for years, and local authorities allege some are used as illegal drug distribution centers.
Other abandoned buildings pose potential fire hazards, city officials said. They include a few downtown duplexes that the city had to demolish because of fires whose origins were labeled as suspicious.
The city issues liens against the properties to recoup the cost of demolition.
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