The Moorestown Business Association believes Main Street is overdue for a little sprucing up, and the township couldn’t agree more.
“When you go by quickly it looks very nice, but if you really look in detail it needed some attention, and we wanted to bring a focus to that, that some of the stuff needed updating,” said MBA President Steven Pazienza.
“Downtown was done maybe 20 years ago and since then there hasn’t been much investment visually,” said Mayor Lisa Petriello.
A solution came in the form of a partnership between the MBA and the township. During its budgeting process, the township dedicated $25,000 for improvements to the Main Street business district, and the MBA has agreed to match that amount, hoping to expedite and enhance the project.
“This is a collaborative effort, I look at our Main Street as a community asset. In order to move it forward, it takes a collaborative effort on the part of many,” said Petriello.
“It’s been absolutely incredible working with (Township Manager) Tom Neff, our new mayor Lisa Petriello and (Police) Chief Lieber, we really have come together to work as a group, which is how I always envisioned it when I got involved in the MBA organization,” said Pazienza. “I couldn’t be any happier with people all trying to find a way to still do their jobs while helping one another.”
According to Pazienza, as president of the MBA, he tries to keep a focus on local business while still finding ways to serve his community through his organization.
“I’m trying to find a business purpose to do good things for our community,” said Pazienza.
He believes the appearance of a town’s business district can have a direct effect on driving customers to the businesses housed within that district.
“We do so much buying with our eyes and we thought that this was the best way to get an immediate impact,” said Pazienza.
Petriello also sees the improvements as a means to attract businesses to the township.
“Where would you rather open a business? Would you rather open next to ones that look to be taking care of their area or not? I think a visually attractive Main Street benefits us all,” said Petriello.
According to the mayor, planned improvements include several basic visual enhancements. The project will include improvements and repairs to sidewalk foundation beds, the sidewalks themselves, benches and trash cans.
“I think it’s time for some sprucing up to get things started in the right direction, and we need to start enforcing our township code that helps maintain some of these things to a better standard,” said Petriello.
As far as a timeline for the improvements, according to the mayor, the township has until the end of 2019 to use the money, but hopes to start moving forward with improvement projects as soon as possible.
Certain aspects of the project, like plantings, are dependent on the season and will have to wait for an appropriate time. Other portions of the project, like benches and sidewalks, are expected to begin earlier in the year.
“It’s been a long time coming and I’m glad to get started,” said Petriello. “I’m happy to be working together with the MBA to provide the much-needed enhancements in our business district. I think this type of partnership is exactly the type of collaboration we need to foster between our township and the business community moving forward, and I hope to be able to do more of this with any group.”
Although Pazienza shares the mayor’s optimism concerning his organization’s partnership with the township, its future may depend on the outcome of this joint project.
“If it’s successful, perhaps we can do more in the future. Everyone’s kind of waiting to see how it works out, and I’m hoping this is the beginning of a really great partnership,” said Pazienza.