Mayor’s Message: Exciting 2021 projects on the horizon

Mayor Louis Manzo

With 2020 finally in our rear view mirror, it’s time to look forward. Hopefully 2021 will soon make the past year a distant memory. Here, at home, there are some exciting projects and initiatives moving forward that I want to share with you. We expected much of this progress to crystallize coming into 2020, but then COVID happened, so that brought everything to a screeching halt. But we have seen that mindset shift in recent months and it’s safe to say that we expect certain projects to come before our Joint Land Use Board (JLUB) for final approvals in 2021.

In no particular order, we believe the developer of the proposed gas station at the corner of N. Main (Rt. 45) and Cedar Road will seek final approvals to break ground later this year. This long-anticipated project will bring a needed use to this area. A beautiful new Medical Office Building located on the vacant, triangle lot at Rt. 322 and Cedar Road will come before our JLUB also. This will include a new alignment (90-degree angle) of the Stop Sign there, improving that intersection’s movement and safety. And another developer is expected to seek approvals for an office building that will be located next to the CVS on Rt. 322.

We are particularly excited to see two other major projects materialize this year. The first is an Active Adult (over 55) community on the parcel between Rt. 322 and Woodland Avenue, behind North Main Street, known as the Holtzhauser Farm. A developer has had that parcel under contract for a few years and has been working on the plans and engineering, with the expectation of coming before our JLUB in early 2021.

The second exciting project is a total renovation of the historic Cope Building located on Woodstown Road, just off Main Street. This four-room schoolhouse, originally known as Union Academy, was built in 1908 but had fallen into disrepair and sat vacant for many years. It was purchased last year by a developer with the intent to completely restore the building to his historic grandeur, containing office space on the lower floors and potentially two apartments upstairs. This project will transform a dilapidated eyesore into a magnificent cornerstone of our Historic District once again. We can’t wait for the process to begin, with hopes of seeing them come in for approvals later in 2021.

Limited space here precludes me from providing more details on other potential projects or touch on any municipal projects, except to say that 2021 will see the construction of Concession Stand at PVS, completion of the sidewalks and retaining wall near Mullica Hill Pond, along with additional recreational improvements around the pond. 

Obviously, there’s a lot happening! To hear more, go to our township Facebook Page (facebook.com/TownshipofHarrison) and view my video Mayor Message posted there from Dec. 31. The challenges of COVID aside, life is good in Harrison Township, with 2021 beginning a stretch of several years that will fulfill a wish-list of projects and initiatives complementing our community. Happy New Year … the best is yet to come!