A new Middletown Township Economic Development Committee has been formed for the purpose of reeling in new businesses, and holding onto the ones already in town.
Following a public appeal for business community representatives in July that brought in about 25 applications, and legislation to create the committee, the township's governing body has appointed the following people to the seven seats:
- Andrew Melnick and Patrick Chanod will serve through Dec. 31, 2012.
- Peter Wilkens and Harold J. Nolan will serve through Dec. 31, 2013.
- Kevin Colangelo and Richard Saker will serve through Dec. 31, 2014.
- Mayor Anthony Fiore will fulfill the place for the mayor or mayor's designee, and serve through Dec. 31, 2012.
The office holders with December expiration dates are expected to be reappointed to new terms.
One of the first things the group will tackle is a marketing plan for Middletown, said Fiore. "We need to provide a backdrop to prospective companies on what makes Middletown attractive," the mayor said.
Highlighting the township's train and bus service, highway business centers, and highly-rated school systems and neighborhood life will be some of the things the group will want to promote, he said.
The committee will also take a look at revitalizing the Route 36 business corridor, the Belford waterfront and guiding prospective businesses to consider empty commercial space like the vacant Pathmark on Route 35 near New Monmouth Road.
With backgrounds in law, commercial real estate, tourism and business, the new Committee members will seek input from the existing community's business leaders on how to make sure current Middletown business stay in township, said Fiore.
The advisory group is expected to meet monthly or bi-monthly and provide advice to the government. Meetings will be open to the public. They do not receive compensation or benefits.
In the Township Committee's resolution appointing the members, the township pointed out that the recession had taken a "significant toll" on many Middletown businesses, and that the commercial tax base had been "greatly eroded, placing and even greater burden on residential property taxpayers."
State and local mandates have shown to be detrimental to economic development, the Committee's resolution said, but efforts through the state's Business Action Center and NJEDA, as well as the county's "Grow Monmouth" program have launched major initiatives to help spur economic grown and business retention.