Thursday, July 7, 2022
Ten years ago, the South Jersey Economic Development District, representing Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties, was bankrupt with significant debt. Today, the federally-funded agency that coordinates regional economic development initiatives is debt-free after making its final payment on a $275,000 loan to the Atlantic County Improvement Authority, three years earlier than expected. The ACIA had provided the SJEDD with the loan to satisfy a portion of its financial obligations.
Atlantic County Commissioner John Risley, who was appointed by County Executive Dennis Levinson to represent Atlantic County and currently serves as SJEDD chair, acknowledged the efforts of SJEDD Executive Director Lou Joyce, its board members and past chairman, Cape May County Commissioner Will Morey.
“It is gratifying to achieve solvency ahead of schedule,” Risley said. “The entire team is to be commended.”
The SJEDD is currently working with its four county members to provide funding and technical assistance for COVID recovery and resiliency plans. It has also partnered with the Cooperative Business Assistance Corporation to offer business loans through a revolving loan fund. In Atlantic County, SJEDD funding is helping the Atlantic County Economic Alliance identify properties to spur development and job creation.
“The SJEDD has made great strides and is hard at work to support our efforts to strengthen the regional economy,” stated Levinson.