On March 22, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy took the opportunity to connect by phone with the owners of our various small businesses in downtown Millville. The topic of the day was the NJDCA's Neighborhood Preservation Program ("NPP").

As a champion for small businesses in downtown Millville and the NPP Coordinator for the City of Millville, we at HCDC couldn't be more excited by Governor Murphy's outreach!

Per his tweet that same day, Governor Murphy especially enjoyed a conversation with Eric Nyman, owner of local favorite, Wildflower Vegan Cafe. Check out the following segment of the Governor's press briefing from March 24 for details.

As for HCDC and its administration of the NPP, we have some inspiring updates to share about downtown Millville over the past year. Thanks to funding through the NPP, as well as additional funding through the Coronavirus Relief Fund ("CRF"):

  • We retained 88 full-time jobs and 22 part-time jobs.

  • We kept 32 local businesses open with those jobs.

  • We invested a total of $337,398 in those local businesses.

This monetary investment covered several powerful programs, including:

  • Direct grant assistance to 26 businesses in the amount of $253,125

  • A four-part series on business survival for 15 businesses at a value of $5,000

  • Matching gift cards that generated $50,000 of cards to support purchases at 16 local businesses

  • $5,200 worth of PPE masks and sanitizer for two local businesses

And the year isn't over yet! We still plan to approve another round of forgivable business loans by mid-April, and we're eager to celebrate our perseverance together with Community Dinner Under the Stars, which will bring together residents for delicious take-out meals from three local restaurants in early May.

Looking ahead to next year, we have much more in store for the NPP! Stay tuned for further updates from us, and in the meantime, we thank Governor Murphy and his staff once more for their enthusiastic support of our city during an unprecedented challenge.

August 28, 2020 / Connecting Families to Communities

When the pandemic impacted their plans for PlayStreets programming, the Holly City Development Corporation partners provided themed activity kits to Millville families to help them stay active. For the past four years, Holly City Development Corporation (HCDC) has partnered with many organizations in the City of Millville to bring the PlayStreets program to neighborhood children. Traditionally for six weeks during July and August, a city block is shut down on Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Each week a different lead organization runs the program according to a theme such as Arts & Culture, Public Safety, Summer Fit and Fun, Carnival, Christmas in July and a Back-to-School BBQ where the kids receive free backpacks. Last year, we engaged more than 1300 kids over a six-week period. The kids look forward to a safe place where they can play, do craft projects, play games, and run through the spray of a fire hydrant. Every child also receives lunch.

At the request of Millville residents, HCDC and our partners planned to expand PlayStreets and provide additional interactive activities and learning experiences this summer. Then the COVID-19 crisis happened.By May, it was evident we were not going to be able to host PlayStreets programming.

It was a hard decision to make because we did not want to disappoint the kids.

Our team met virtually and decided we had to figure out a way to bring the PlayStreets experience to the children in our community. We decided to stick to our original schedule and themes. We also decided to limit registration to 300 children. Our announcement spread on social media and registration was filled in less than 24 hours!

Our team met virtually and decided we had to figure out a way to bring the PlayStreets experience to the children in our community. We decided to stick to our original schedule and themes. We also decided to limit registration to 300 children. Our announcement spread on social media and registration was filled in less than 24 hours!

Each week, the lead organization created 300 themed kits of activities and challenges for children and their families to do at home. Our team met at 9 a.m. on Monday morning, picked up kits for our delivery areas and delivered the kits to the homes of the children. They were well received and it was great! The kids and parents were so appreciative.

The six weeks flew by and culminated with our distributing stuffed bookbags full of school supplies to 300 children.

Next year we hope to bring back the in-person PlayStreets experience and make it bigger than ever.

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Members of the Millville Neighborhood Alliance, through the support of New Jersey Health Initiatives’ Upstream Action Acceleration initiative, have been working with residents to identify, and advocate for, the needs of the community. A group of local teens who participate in the SHINE Program at the First United Methodist Church in Millville have emerged as the first Community Action Group working toward building a healthier and safer community.

This group of 10 teenagers volunteer regularly in the community and have played an active role in the process to develop a new neighborhood plan for the Center City district of Millville. Through several focus groups and planning sessions, the teens identified three project areas that they believe will help improve conditions in the neighborhood and provide more recreational and educational opportunities for local youth and teens. The project areas they identified included:

  • the expansion of the summer Playstreets Program held annually for six weeks in July and August;

  • expanding the Millville Public library to include a teen room and to extend the reach of the library into the neighborhood; and

  • to increase the number of free, family events that promote positive social engagement and communication.

Currently, the group has created an action plan and budget for installing several Little Free Libraries in Center City. They are meeting and working with local organizations to express their vision for the libraries, identify locations to place them and to collect a diversity of culturally relevant book donations. They are also working with the Playstreets Planning Committee to identify new activities to bring to this year’s events, including weekly dance instruction and multicultural themes. The teens have also engaged the Millville Police Department in conversations to help build positive interactions and relationships between police officers and residents.

“The teens are so excited to implement a project of their own. They want to be able to say, ‘I did that. I helped make my community better.’ Their excitement is infectious and I can’t wait to report on the great things these kids have done and will do in the future,” says Lisa Romano, the Community Builder working with the teens.