Council hosts listening session for redevelopment

Residents share their ideas on Lenola improvement project

Moorestown Mayor Nicole Gillespie and Councilman Quinton Law held a listening session with residents regarding the Lenola Town Center Improvement Project on Aug. 17.

Moorestown has received final approval and funding to begin construction on the project, which will add a bike lane, new street plantings, benches, new light fixtures, signs and decorative crosswalks. The contract will go out to bid in September and construction will likely begin in late fall.

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In conjunction with the project, council is discussing ways to attract new businesses and development to the commercial area on Camden Avenue in the Lenola neighborhood.

“This is one of what will be many conversations about the future of this center,” Law said. “ … I know that this is a long time coming, but as a Lenola resident, I’m extremely proud to be on the council that has been able to move this project forward.”

Lenola residents described to Gillespie and Law the kind of businesses they would like to see.

“I think making Lenola look like Moorestown would be a great incentive for new businesses to come in,” Sue Logsdon said. “ … There’s an empty lot at the end of Villa Avenue (and) I would love to see that to be sort of a trendy, little coffee shop-type of place.”

“ … I would love to see a bakery,” said Kim Smith. “ … Also, we are in desperate need of a kosher deli … “

Lynne Schill’s suggestions for the center include a team room, tea shop, noodle shop and brew pub.

“One of the things we’d like to see is, if we’re going to do rehabilitation, is to put the stores closer to the sidewalk and have parking in the rear,” she noted. “It’s very uncomfortable to walk past big areas of (a) parking lot. It’s not welcoming.”

According to the township website, rehabilitation includes all the benefits of redevelopment without eminent domain/condemnation and long-term tax exemptions. Rehabilitation for Moorestown means creating incentives for homeowners and business owners to make improvements, maintaining the historic and aesthetic integrity of the town and improving the tax base and local economy with new businesses and job and housing opportunities.

“ … If we do declare a particular area in need of rehabilitation, that gives us some flexibility about what we can do there,” Gillespie explained. “… One of the advantages of using rehabilitation is that it allows us to sort of set those kinds of standards.”

Kristin Cate would like to see a look similar to Main Street.

“ … I would definitely really love to see some kind of smaller, family-owned restaurants maybe, and maybe some smaller boutiques where you can find unique clothing and accessories,” she said. “Something like that to just kind of draw in all types of ages.”

Project goals for the Lenola Town Center Improvement Project include creating a safe environment to encourage more pedestrian and bicycle traffic, providing a sense of place and identity for Lenola and promoting business development and investment.

“ … This is a long time coming,” said Law, “but we’re moving forward and I think this is a very important step.”

For more information and to view the discussion, visit moorestown.nj.us.

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