Worries and concerns about the Glassboro Camden Line (GCL) led to heated meetings with residents of Mantua and other towns at the Wenonah council meeting on July 28 and at a recent land use board meeting in Westville.
Concerns include pollution from not only the train itself but from digging up possible chemicals long hidden in Wenonah’s soil and the probability of people losing their homes through eminent domain.
“I don’t want to lose my home,” said Lisa Masterson, one of the residents who received a letter saying her home would be taken. “I was proud to move here, I had a great school. It’s heartbreaking, because I thought it was the end of my road.”
“Nobody should have to start over,” said Westville land use board member Dennis Morina. “I don’t think that’s the intention of the borough council to do that.”
The GCL is a proposed light-rail transit route expected to run from Camden to Glassboro with the goal of providing easy and quick public transportation. It is currently in the engineering phase, according to WHYY, Philadelphia; the actual construction has yet to be approved. The project is expected to be completed in 2027.
Residents of Mantua and other local towns have rallied together against the proposed line. The most vocal of these is the No to GCL group of Mantua residents, which has more than 2,700 members on Facebook.
“Say no to GCL does not mean saying no to any form of mass transit or any public transportation,” said group member Anna Gunn Janda, who was present at both the land use board and council meetings. She suggested the use of electric powered Bus Rapid Transits (BRTs) that are more eco-friendly.
“Put it on the ballot,” said AntoNino Alveario, an administrator of the No to GCL group who was also at both meetings. “Let the people decide what to do.”
“It’d be nice if the county put it on the ballot,” said Wenonah mayor John Dominy. “I’ve been an opponent to this rail line since my youth.”
Members of No to GCL have been accused of personal attacks on government officials, Dominy’s wife among them.
“It does your group a disservice,” said the mayor. “You lose credibility when you make those baseless personal attacks. It was a horror show.”
The Westville land use board said it has nothing to do with the GCL but would review the project area again to see if certain lots could be removed and would continue to do so at its Sept. 12 meeting.