Salem County residents hope new wind port will bring jobs, boost economy

LOWER ALLOWAYS CREEK TWP., New Jersey (WPVI) -- Lower Alloways Creek Township in Salem County, N.J. will soon be home to the New Jersey Wind Port, touted by state officials as the country's first purpose-built offshore wind port.

Word spread quickly after Gov. Phil Murphy made the announcement Tuesday, expecting the port to create around 1,500 permanent jobs.

People like Beriah Mathis in the nearby city of Salem say the employment opportunities are desperately needed.

"If this is really going to open up some jobs everybody's probably going to run to it," said Mathis.

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The site is next to PSEG's Hope Creek Nuclear Station. Gov. Phil Murphy says multiple factories will build the components for offshore wind turbines.

Tim Sullivan, Executive Director of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority says the location is perfect, adding that there's more than $100 billion in planned investment for wind farms from the Carolinas through Maine within the next decade."

"These windmills - they're big. In some cases they're as tall as the Eiffel Tower and they go out to sea upright. So you can't assemble them somewhere - they have to go out ready-made. So you need to have open access to the ocean," said Sullivan.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney says he wants to make sure the labor to build the port - and the jobs - stay local.

"Our goal is to make sure we partner with the local community college and the vocational school to ensure that as many local residents get trained for these jobs as possible," said Sweeney. "Salem's been a community that's struggled for quite some time and to get something like this down there is huge."

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Local businesses near the site say this is big for them, too.

"Having a small pizzeria five minutes down the road from the nuclear plant, and now you're talking about possibly adding 1,500 employees that's huge traffic. That's big-time," said Brad Serfass of Brad's Pizza and Suns in Lower Alloways Creek Twp.

Construction is expected to start next year.
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