🇺🇸 Bridgeton is a city in Cumberland County, New Jersey, United States, in the southern part of the state, on the Cohansey River, near Delaware Bay. It is the county seat of Cumberland County. Bridgeton, Millville, and Vineland are the three principal cities of the Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses those cities and all of Cumberland County for statistical purposes and which constitutes a part of the Delaware Valley.
The city had the 13th-highest property tax rate in New Jersey, with an equalised rate of 4.598% in 2020, compared to 3.089% in the county as a whole and a state-wide average of 2.279%.
Similar to other areas near rivers and the bay, this area was inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples. At the time of European contact, Lenni-Lenape Native Americans lived in the area, following a seasonal pattern of cultivation and hunting and fishing. The state-recognised Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indians of New Jersey maintain a cultural centre here, serving a community of 12,000 in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.
The first recorded European settlement in what is now Bridgeton was made by 1686 when Richard Hancock established a sawmill here. Settlers established a pioneer ironworks in 1814. Bridgeton was incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 3, 1845, from portions of Deerfield Township. Bridgeton city was incorporated on March 1, 1865, replacing both Bridgeton Township and Cohansey Township. The city was named for its location at a bridge on the Cohansey River and is said to be a corruption of "bridge town".
Downtown Bridgeton includes an art gallery, second hand stores, a makerspace, and the headquarters of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation. The makerspace, called STEAMWorks, was opened as a collaborative project between the city and the local Cumberland County College, run by the college the space offers specialized equipment and software to the public at a membership based pricing system, as well as workshops and a limited set of certification courses, no involvement with the college is required. Bridgeton Main Street declared its downtown a Culinary Arts district and is highlighting downtown activity through the food and cooking-related retail sector. Bridgeton Main Street Association is the oldest Main Street Association in the state, founded in 1990.
In 2008, Rutgers opened the Cousteau Coastal Center of its Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences in the former David Sheppard House, a base from which it co-ordinates cutting-edge ecological research and develops modules for environmental learning at all educational levels from elementary school upward. South Woods State Prison, opened near Bridgeton in 1997, is the largest state prison in New Jersey and provides a range of employment.
Bridgeton is home to the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, an entry point for startup food manufacturers that allows a new company or entrepreneur to work with a specialised team from Rutgers University to develop, test, brand, and package their product.
Bridgeton is located about one hour away from Philadelphia, and 50 minutes away from Wilmington, Delaware. It is also about one hour away from Atlantic City and Cape May. Bridgeton is divided into three sections, Northside, Southside and Hillside.
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the city include East Lake.
Bridgeton borders the Cumberland County municipalities of Fairfield Township, Hopewell Township and Upper Deerfield Township.
Economy Portions of Bridgeton are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. The city was selected in 1983 as one of the initial group of 10 municipalities chosen to participate in the program. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3.3125% sales tax rate (half of the 6.625% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants. Established in January 1986, the city's Urban Enterprise Zone status expires in December 2023.
The UEZ program in Bridgeton and four other original UEZ cities had been allowed to lapse as of January 1, 2017, after Governor Chris Christie, who called the program an "abject failure", vetoed a compromise bill that would have extended the status for two years. In May 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed a law that reinstated the program in these five cities and extended the expiration date in other zones. Bridgeton is home to Ardagh Group, one of the largest glass production facilities in the state. In 2016, Ardagh Group, Glass – North America became ISO 14001 certified, which recognizes efforts to minimize their impact on the environment, comply with applicable laws and regulations, and work toward continuous environmental improvement.
Bridgeton has a population of over 25,349 people. Bridgeton also forms the centre of the wider Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton metropolitan area which has a population of over 157,429 people.