Working for Smart Growth:
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Build It Green Competition

BIG logo

Gloucester City, Jersey City, and Perth Amboy will 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. 

On May 25 2016, New Jersey Future announced that three cities – Gloucester City, Jersey City, and Perth Amboy – have been 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 integrated, creative projects that reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) 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.

The BIG Competition selected three New Jersey cities to receive customized technical assistance to design integrated CSO solutions. The selected cities will also receive engineering services (valued at approximately $17,000 per winner) to support the development of project implementation funding applications for submission following the BIG technical assistance process.

re:focus partners, working with New Jersey Future, will deploy a team of policy, engineering, design, and finance experts to assist awardee communities in developing integrated CSO solutions. Targeted technical assistance will prepare these communities to apply for funding from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust and/or other funding sources, as soon as they have viable project designs in hand.

“Gloucester City is committed to the installation of green infrastructure to manage stormwater, provide good local jobs, and make our neighborhoods healthier and more beautiful,” said Mayor William James. “We look forward to this project serving as a model for future installations city-wide.”

“Jersey City will develop an integrated, innovative project to take on storm surge flooding, combined sewer overflows, and historic industrial contamination,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. “These are issues that cross neighborhoods and affect some of the city’s most vulnerable residents, and we are honored to be selected for this unique opportunity.”

“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.

The BIG Competition provides an opportunity to empower these communities to design and finance projects that solve multiple problems at once, and that offer replicable models for the rest of the state and position New Jersey as a national leader in implementing innovative approaches.



While most cities have newer wastewater systems with separate sanitary and stormwater sewers, 21 New Jersey communities are still served by older combined systems that discharge untreated sewage and stormwater into waterways during heavy rain and snowmelt events. These New Jersey communities must respond to new state environmental mandates (pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act) that require dramatic reductions in overflow events.The enormity of the needed investment represents a tremendous opportunity to leverage new projects to create multiple benefits for New Jersey communities. The Build it Green (BIG) Initiative will provide technical assistance and engineering support services to the selected New Jersey cities and utilities to design innovative, financeable projects that reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) while also making neighborhoods and downtowns better places to live, work and invest.

The Build It Green Initiative is a collaborative program developed and led by New Jersey Future and re:focus partners. 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.

about rf.fw

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. More about re:focus partnersMore about the RE.invest Initiative.


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