Annual State of the County brings freeholders, mayors to talk redevelopment in Burlington County

Featured speakers included County Freeholder Director Tom Pullion and mayors Brian Carlin and Jaclyn Veasy.

Burlington County Freeholder Director Tom Pullion gives his first State of the County address at the annual State of the County event.

On Monday, Sept. 23, the annual State of the County event was held at The Merion in Cinnaminson, hosted by the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce. At the event were Burlington County Freeholder Director Tom Pullion, who gave the State of the County address, as well as Assemblyman Ryan Peters of the 8th Legislative District, Assemblyman Herb Conaway of the 7th Legislative District and a representative of 3rd District Congressman Andy Kim’s office.

Also included in the event was a panel discussion on redevelopment in Burlington County featuring Evesham Mayor Jaclyn Veasy and Burlington Township Mayor Brian Carlin, both of whom discussed recent development efforts in their towns.

“As the freeholder director, I know I speak for the entire board in saying that we are committed to making Burlington County a more affordable, prosperous and welcoming place to live, work and retire,” said Pullion as he opened his address.

The State of County is an overview of the freeholder board’s activities and focus for the year thus far. In his first address at the annual gathering, Pullion began with the board, early in the year, bringing back municipal park grants that supplied county open space funds to build new infrastructure in municipal parks.

“In our last round of grant funding, we built playgrounds, we built a high school track, we have dozens of new tennis courts, bike trails and much more,” said Pullion. “This funding has been unavailable since 2017, so we are very proud to bring it back.”

According to the freeholder director, this year the county purchased a new road paving machine that will perform small municipal and county jobs with an aim to provide better services in emergency situations to save municipalities and reduce commuter inconvenience.  

Continuing on the topic of roads, Pullion included that this summer the county began a study on County Route 541 in response to a rising population and an influx of new businesses contributing to added traffic. 

“Specs will provide key insights that will allow us to adapt our roadways to provide traffic remediation,” said Pullion.

A continuing goal of his board, according to Pullion, is providing innovative shared services to help mitigate taxes within the county.

“Outside of Burlington County, municipalities must hire consultants to write their plans, which is expensive and time consuming. Economic Development provides these professional services to our current municipalities at no cost,” said Pullion.

The panel portion of the evening highlighted current development projects in two Burlington County municipalities. Carlin and Veasy acted as panelists alongside developers Dan Hudson of MRP Industrial and Art Corsini of Fieldstone Associates. 

Asked by moderator Mark Remsa, director of economic development and regional planning for the Burlington County Bridge Commission, about their planning process when it comes to attracting developers to their communities, both Carlin and Veasy gave considerable credit simply to their location.

“We have Route 130 and Route 541,” said Carlin. “With our location, we basically have developers approaching us.”

“Location can play a big role in everything. We’re lucky to be in Evesham where we run up and down the 70 and 73 corridor which makes it very open for business,” said Veasy.

Veasy also pointed to her administration’s efforts to maintain good communication with the public and to take into consideration what the people of her town would like to see happen in their area.

According to the mayor, they are continuing in the spirit of a vision study for 2020 undertaken by the township in 2009 that continues to guide the township’s direction when it comes to redevelopment. During the study, they reached out to community members and businesses who came forward and gave their ideas.

“It was a study that was done as to what we were going to do with the town. What was going to be the next best step for the town? From that, we looked at the areas that could use some redevelopment and how that would then transform the town,” said Veasy. 

For more information on the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce and a full calendar of upcoming events, visit bcrcc.com.