Celebrate 50 years of Cherry Hill

Mayor’s message: Bernie Platt

In November 1961, the residents of what was then Delaware Township decided they wanted to change the town’s name.

On Nov. 7 of that year, the name change was put to a public vote: “Shall the name of the Township of Delaware, in the County of Camden, be changed to the Township of Cherry Hill, in the County of Camden?” The final vote was 5,201–3,700 in favor of the name change, and Cherry Hill Township was born.

For much of this year, the township has hosted smaller events to commemorate the occasion — such as the “I Remember That!” exhibit featured at the Cherry Hill Mall earlier in the fall. But now, as we wind down 2011, we are gearing up for a bigger, official birthday celebration.

Dec. 7 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Cherry Hill Township Council meeting. With that in mind, next Wednesday, the council and I will host a special, commemorative council meeting in the auditorium at Cherry Hill High School West.

This very special, festive evening will begin at 7 p.m. with our regular town council meeting and will be immediately followed by a birthday celebration truly befitting Cherry Hill. Guests — including current and former Cherry Hill mayors and council members — will be treated to musical performances by the All Cherry Hill Chorus, a mix of fifth-graders from each of our local elementary schools; the “I Remember That!” exhibit from the Mall; and a special presentation by Lisa Mangiafico of the Cherry Hill Historical Commission.

There will also be light refreshments and, of course, a special 50th anniversary birthday cake.

As a special addition to the evening’s festivities, the Dec. 7 event will feature the sealing of the Township’s special 2011 time capsule, which will stand unopened in town hall until the 100th-anniversary celebration in 2061.

In my mind, this is the most exciting part of the celebration — and the biggest opportunity for the public to get involved. From now through the morning of Dec. 7, anyone in the community is welcome to visit the recreation department, in Room 102 at Town Hall, with their own personal submissions. All we ask is that items relate directly to Cherry Hill, and should document life in the township in 2011.

Pictures, event programs, ticket stubs, team rosters, church bulletins and civic association newsletters are just a few items that would make wonderful submissions to our time capsule project. Be creative, and in turn, become a piece of the fabric of Cherry Hill’s continuing history.

More detailed information on the Time Capsule project is available online at www.cherryhill-nj.com/pdfs/timecapsuledonationform.pdf; details on the 50th anniversary celebration are also posted online at www.CherryHill-NJ.com.

We are expecting a big crowd on Dec. 7, and I hope many of you will join us as we celebrate our community and our collective history.

Cherry Hill has always been a wonderful place to live, work, and play, and I am honored to be able to celebrate this milestone with our entire community.

For more information on the 50th anniversary or any part of our celebration, please call the recreation department from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at 488–7868, or e-mail Events@CHTownship.com.