Questions surrounding the fate of Kingston Estates Swim Club have begun to be answered, thanks to Cherry Hill Township Council passing two pieces of legislation that will allow the municipality to purchase the neighborhood landmark and convert it to locally controlled open space.
During its Sept. 14 virtual session, council unanimously voted to authorize the entry into an agreement for the acquisition of the club for open-space preservation, and to endorse the township’s application to Camden County to fund the purchase through its own open space trust fund.
The township’s Open Space trust fund results from a 1-cent levy on every $100 of assessed property value, according to Township Director of Planning, Policy and Programs Chris Summerhayes. Purchase of the swim club will come entirely from the fund, which aligns with its stated purpose of acquiring, preserving and maintaining open space.
“I want to thank the board members of Kingston Swim Club, who remained engaged and in contact with us. Their cooperation in this example of progress can be made when citizens and government work together to achieve a positive result,” Mayor Susan Shin Angulo said.
“Our goal is to protect and enhance the charm and character of the Kingston neighborhood.”
Township residents Rob Connor, Yolanda Lorenz and Anne Einhorn praised council Vice President Brian Bauerle and fellow council members for their efforts to prevent the club from passing into bank control, and eliminating the possibility of residential or other unwanted development on the site.
Council President David Fleisher declined to speculate on the exact scope of the conversion, but confirmed the property, once under township control, will not operate as a swim club. He added that once the purchase is made, the township anticipates closing would take place within 30 days. Following that, council will confer with KIngston residents on what shape they prefer the land should take.
“I had the opportunity over time to speak with residents of Kingston, the swim club board, some members of the neighborhood association and the president of CHYAA (Cherry Hill Youth Athletic Association),” Bauerle stated.
“After speaking with all, they are in support of the action we took tonight. I look forward in the future to figuring out what is appropriate for that space.”
Regarding the passage of the outstanding 2020 municipal budget, Fleisher said the original plan is for the document to be introduced at the next public session on Sept. 29, or, at the latest, the following public meeting in early October.
Township Chief Financial Officer Michelle Samalonis additionally stated that she plans to have “everything ready for the next meeting.” If by some chance that is not feasible, council will instead introduce next month.
Samalonis said deadlines for budget passage have been pushed back due to the impact of COVID-19, but a finalized budget has to be adopted no later than the end of October.
In other news:
- Council passed a resolution authorizing temporary lifting of the existing parking regulations along both sides of Cropwell and Kresson roads, not inclusive of the section of road on each within 250 feet in any direction of a traffic signal, for the impending Jewish High Holidays. Rosh Hashanah was scheduled to begin at sundown on Sept. 18, with Yom Kippur commencing at sundown on Sept. 27. Several houses of worship are located on or near the two major thoroughfares, including Temple Emanuel, Chabad Lubavitch of Cherry Hill and Temple Beth Sholom.
- Two permits were reviewed and approved for upcoming family drive-in movie nights: one for Lidl Grocery store on Route 38, planned for Oct. 16, and the other for Cherry Hill Mall on Oct. 17.
- Girl Scout Troop 30087 led the meeting with a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.