Joe Malinconico Paterson Press

PATERSON — Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday added $20 million to an existing $130 million state tax credit package that city officials are using for such projects as a new visitor center at the Great Falls and the reconstruction of historic Hinchliffe Stadium.

Murphy said increasing the allocation of tax credits would help the developers complete the projects as the region’s economy struggles with the coronavirus. The governor added the $20 million as part of his approval on Monday of a bill passed by the New Jersey Legislature three weeks ago extending the deadline for use of the tax credits until the end 2023.

“The COVID-19 crisis has presented an unusual hardship for real estate developers, who have struggled with a lack of project financing and liquidity in the capital markets caused by the financial uncertainty brought about by the pandemic,” Murphy said.

Murphy’s statement about the extra funding does not mention Paterson by name, but legislators and city officials said the financing will be limited to the city’s projects under the Economic and Redevelopment Growth program.

Besides the stadium and visitor center, city officials are looking to use the state credits for a youth performing arts center, a mixed-use development near the Paterson train station, a grandparents’ housing complex and a rebuilt downtown parking garage.

“These are projects that are sorely needed by our city,” said Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter, a Paterson resident and one of the sponsors of the tax credit legislation.

Many of the Paterson tax credit projects had run into delays before the pandemic, and developers said the extension of the deadline was needed to get them done. Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh noted that the COVID-19 crisis has increased construction costs.

“Now we can secure what we need,” the mayor said. “Governor Murphy, to his credit, sees the significance of these projects for Paterson.”

Sayegh said the increased financing from Trenton demonstrated Paterson’s importance to the Murphy administration.

“He’s got Paterson’s back,” the mayor said.

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