Home Cherry Hill News Cherry Hill civic associations attempting to band together

Cherry Hill civic associations attempting to band together

Bruno, Higgins lead the combined effort towards greater community involvement.

Greg Bruno (left) and Dawn Higgins (right) during an interview with the Sun at Bruno’s home on April 23. The pair, who lead the Erlton North Windsor Civic Association as president and vice president, respectively, are trying to link Cherry Hill’s neighborhoods into a cohesive unit with the new Council of Cherry Hill Civic Associations.

As longtime Cherry Hill resident and vice president of the Erlton North Windsor Civic Association Dawn Higgins sees it, as far as the diverse tracts that comprise Cherry Hill Township are concerned, there has to be strength in numbers.

“In our travels, we got very friendly with members of other civic associations, we would talk and compare notes. We came up with this idea of a coalition of all the civic associations because our needs are so similar,” she said. “We started about a year and a half ago, with about four or five different groups. We’re up to 13 now.” 

Higgins, along with compatriot and Erlton North Civic Association president Greg Bruno, are the principals behind a new movement: the Council of Cherry Hill Civic Associations. Informally, it is attempting to bind together like-minded citizens from as many of Cherry Hill’s unique neighborhoods as possible to address unified concerns. 

“We’re really fragmented in Cherry Hill. Most of the civic associations that have joined us are old-standing, re-created, and neighborhood focused, but which sat dormant for years, and somebody came along and said ‘let’s revitalize things’ which is what we did,” Bruno said. 

Politics often make strange bedfellows. But a simple game? Pickleball, a sport that incorporates elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong that can be played both indoors and outdoors, came to the township not too long ago, and caused quite a stir. 

“We had courts that were obnoxiously loud and not placed properly, because they were 50 feet from people’s dining room tables. To their credit, the township asked our civic association if it would be OK. And the leadership then said ‘sure,’ without really thinking about it, they wanted to be cooperative,” Bruno said. 

After a year of constant complaints by the neighbors, Bruno and his cohorts took their case to township governance, who explained exactly what occurred and the discussions between it and the civic association leaders. Based on that account, Bruno and Higgins eventually ran for, and took over, as the leadership for Erlton North Windsor. 

“Between us and four others, we’ve revitalized the whole thing, and along the way one of the council members suggested we look into putting together a larger group and thereby having more people in our corner. So here we are,” Bruno added. 

Regarding the challenges of bringing together 13 civic associations into a cohesive whole after an 18-month undertaking, Higgins credits the swiftness of electronic communications. 

“We mostly utilize social media, and we also knew some of the people active in Kingston, Erlton South. So it was like networking except through different means. (Kingston) never misses. Erlton South never misses. Some organizations are more active than others,” she explained. “I don’t think we’ve had all 13 in the room at the same time. A lot of people stay in touch via email, ask us to keep them informed on what’s happening. We have quarterly meetings. We usually meet at the library, and somewhere in that quarter there’s usually an issue (that needs to be addressed). 

Right now, the council is working closely with the Cherry Hill Police Department on similar traffic issues that crop up in all neighborhoods. At issue is fast-moving traffic that cuts through residential areas, and volume of traffic, which does so above the speed limit from one road to another. 

“We realize we can’t stop the flow of traffic. We’re in a uniquely compacted terrain when it comes to travel. There’s no interstate to use, there’s no highways to use, and the state routes we have are clogged. They’re public streets and it’s a right for people to travel them. What we’re asking is they travel them respectfully, at the speeds posted, and stop at the signs, and regard pedestrians. That’s the struggle we all face,” Bruno admitted. 

That’s not to say it’s been all business between township enclaves. Bruno talked about an upcoming softball game between Erlton South and Erlton North Windsor. The optimistic Higgins opined that, if all goes well, maybe Erlton North Windsor could challenge Kingston to a game, and maybe later on, each civic association could have a different social activity in the summertime. 

“That’s what we’re really about. Exchanging ideas. We’re about addressing problems together. Giving each other ideas on how to raise money or how we can increase membership – that’s the biggest issue and it’s a real challenge,” she concluded. 

For more information about the Council of Cherry Hill Civic Associations, and how to form your own neighborhood civic association, contact Bruno and Higgins at the Erlton North Windsor Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/294236064296853/.

Exit mobile version