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PERTH AMBOY GETS CHOSEN FOR THE BUILD IT GREEN (BIG) COMPETITION

Perth Amboy Selected To Accelerate
Water Infrastructure Innovation

Perth Amboy is one of three New Jersey cities selected to receive technical assistance and engineering support services to design innovative, financeable projects that reduce combined sewer outflows (CSOs) while also making neighborhoods and downtowns better places to live, work, and invest.

TRENTON, May 25, 2016 -- New Jersey Future today announced that Perth Amboy is one of three cities selected by the Build It Green (BIG) Competition to receive technical assistance and engineering support services. The BIG Competition, launched in partnership with re:focus partners and with the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's New Jersey Health Initiative, will catalyze the design and implementation of an integrated, creative project that will reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in the city while generating multiple local environmental and health benefits. For example, roads can be repaved with porous pavement when installing underground broadband infrastructure to improve the economic prospects of local residents and businesses and simultaneously reduce surface water runoff.

New Jersey's water infrastructure requires massive upgrades statewide, but nowhere is the problem more acute than in those communities with antiquated combined-sewer systems and economically distressed populations. The BIG Competition is an opportunity to empower these communities to design and finance projects that solve multiple problems at once, and that will act as replicable models for the rest of the state, positioning New Jersey as a national leader in implementing innovative approaches.

Perth Amboy will receive customized technical assistance to design its CSO solution. It will also receive engineering services (valued at approximately $17,000) to support the preparation of project implementation funding applications for submission following the BIG technical assistance process.

"Perth Amboy is proactive about environment and urban infrastructure initiatives.  Working with the Re:focus team will reinforce these efforts to design a project that protects the Raritan River. These initiatives maintain and aid our local community in its preservation, " said Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz.

Gloucester City and Jersey City are the other two awardee cities. An evaluation committee reviewed all applications submitted to the BIG Competition. Committee members included individuals from academic institutions, foundations, private-sector associations, former state and federal government officials and others.

"The Dodge Foundation's ongoing commitment to preserving and strengthening New Jersey's critical environmental assets, including its water, means we are eager to help our cities and towns do all they can to reduce sewer overflows in innovative, cost-effective ways," said Margaret Waldock, director of the foundation's environment programs. "We look forward to taking advantage of the lessons other regions of the country have learned about managing stormwater, and advancing their implementation here." 

"It was gratifying to see the enthusiastic new thinking that went into all the BIG Competition applications," said Bob Atkins, director of New Jersey Health Initiatives. "With such a diverse set of cities awarded, these design projects will provide all New Jersey communities with a lesson plan for how they can implement similar initiatives, resulting in reduced stormwater runoff and flooding, leaving communities healthier and waterways cleaner and safer. We are eager to see these projects move from concept to reality."

"For New Jersey's cities, many of which have limited resources, investing in integrated solutions that address multiple challenges will bring the greatest return for both residents and the bottom line," said New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach.

"The BIG Competition takes the approach that innovative thinking can lead to sustainable, cost-effective solutions for these large-scale water infrastructure problems - solutions that create exponential health and economic benefits to the communities where they are implemented," said re:focus Chief Executive Officer Shalini Vajjhala. 

More information may be found on the BIG Competition website.

Support for the BIG Competition was provided by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's New Jersey Health Initiatives program and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. 

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About New Jersey Future
New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that brings together concerned citizens and leaders to promote responsible land-use policies. The organization employs original research, analysis and advocacy to build coalitions and drive land-use policies that help revitalize cities and towns, protect natural lands and farms, provide more transportation choices beyond cars, expand access to safe and affordable neighborhoods and fuel a prosperous economy. More recently, New Jersey Future has expanded its work to include local engagement and implementation, most notably in Sandy-affected communities. Through its work facilitating Jersey Water Works, formerly known as the Urban Water Solutions Initiative, and with the support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey Future has built relationships with elected officials, staff, nonprofit organizations and community groups working in many of New Jersey's CSO communities, as well as at the state level.

About re:focus partners
re:focus partners is a design firm dedicated to developing integrated resilience solutions and innovative public-private partnerships for vulnerable communities around the world. Through large-scale programs like the RE.invest Initiative and the RE.bound Program, re:focus identifies systemic opportunities for innovation to create both public value and new private investment potential through projects with sound financial returns and economic, social, and environmental integrity for the communities they serve.