Dear Community Friends,
As we enter into Thanksgiving week, I want to wish everyone a very blessed holiday filled with love and happiness. I’m hopeful that you’ll be able to spend time with family and loved ones, and cherish the many blessings that we all enjoy and are grateful for as township residents.
Our Veterans Day Ceremony was held this past Saturday. It’s always a tremendous honor to be able to recognize our veterans, and this year was no different. I’d like to congratulate Air Force veteran Cheryl Tunstall who’s also a teacher at J. Mason Tomiln School for receiving this year’s Veteran of the Year proclamation.
Our monthly township committee meeting was held this past Monday, Nov. 13.
At this meeting, we approved a resolution for Chestnut Branch Park and McCarson Park to be decorated professionally again this holiday season. The lights should be installed and illuminated within the next week or so. We also approved a resolution for the replacement of the flagpole at our Veterans Memorial in-front of the Township Administration Building on Main Street.
During the public comment portion of the meeting on Monday, a township resident alleged that the information that I provided in my weekly Mayor’s Message back on April 27 regarding the Fossil Park & Museum was inaccurate. The resident claimed that the revenue numbers were off by a couple hundred thousand dollars. The following information was fact-checked by our administration this week, and is determined to be accurate:
- Mantua Township purchased what was known as the “Ledden” redevelopment property back in the year 2016 for $452,000.00. We then authorized a RFP (Request For Proposal) seeking a redeveloper/developer to acquire and develop this parcel. In 2019, the property was sold to Ric and Jean Edelman for $655,000.00. The township netted a $203,000.00 profit.
- In order to help offset the loss of annual property taxes, Mantua Township entered into an agreement with Rowan University to have them pay a Municipal Impact Fee in the amount of $42,000.00 per year, for 10 years. Mantua Township will cumulatively generate another $420,000.00 by the end of the year 2025.
Our community will generate $623,000.00 in total revenue from this project over the 10 year period which includes the $203,000.00 plus $420,000 equalling $623,000.00.
The following non-binding referendum question was on the ballot for the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023: “Do you support the construction of the proposed Glassboro-Camden Line light rail transit system?”
The unofficial results as of this week indicate that 1,578, 31.55%, voted yes, and 3,424, 68.45%, voted no. Once the election results are certified, the township committee will have a resolution prepared for consideration relative to these election results. This non-binding question was to solely ascertain the sediment of the voters, as Mantua Township officials have no control over this proposed project.
Mr. Jim Kiel is the driving force for the recently opened disc golf course at Chestnut Branch Park. He recently shared this story called “Ghost Tornado” with me, and I thought it was worth passing along to our community. Congratulations to Mike Sheehan on the very first ace.
On Oct. 22, 2023, Mike Sheehan had an encounter with the Ghost Tornado at Tornado Crossing Disc Golf Course in Mantua Township, NJ and was rewarded with the first Ace at this new DGC.
Mike has been actively working at the Mantua Township Chestnut Branch Park Disc Golf construction site clearing branches, tree vines and briars on several fairways with his friend Dan for about seven weeks. He was an active volunteer helping the course designers, Jim and Jason, preparing to open an initial 9 holes for this future 18-hole course. The course was to be named Tornado Crossing because a tornado had crossed right over the lower end of the course on Sept. 1, 2021.
Nine holes were now open after an official dedication on Oct. 14, 2023. Mike was playing a round with a few friends and he was at the hole #4 red tee box. Mike was very familiar with this hole because he was also the first guy to lose a disc on this very same hole back on Aug. 29 when he and Dan were walking the construction site and met Jim for the first time. Mike was getting ready to throw his infamous back hand when he and his friends noticed a strong swirling wind just past a tree in the center of the fairway and within the basket green approach area. Mike’s quote – “It looked like a 50-foot diameter mini tornado”.
He decided to throw his disc into this swirling wind to see what would happen. The disc hit the ground at the edge of the wind swirl, was picked up and shot left toward the basket. Mike heard a slight sound of the basket chains but it was impossible to actually see the basket from the tee box. As he approached the basket, he was amazed to see his disc settled at home for an Ace. Was this just a very skillful throw by Mike or was it a combination of Mike’s skillful throw and nature’s way of thanking him for all his hard work getting Tornado Crossing Disc Golf Course ready for play. This was the first Ace at Tornado Crossing and the first known encounter of its Ghost Tornado.
Narration by Jim Kiel
Upcoming Township Meetings and Events:
- Friday, Nov. 17 – You’ll be able to sign-up for “Deck The House,” our first ever holiday house decorating / lighting contest on our website at mantuatownship.com.
- Thursday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. is the Winter Festival and Fireworks at Chestnut Branch Park.
- Our township committee meeting, and our last meeting for this year has been rescheduled for Monday, Dec. 18 at 4:00 p.m.
On behalf of Deputy Mayor Pete Scirrotto, myself and the entire township committee, we look forward to continuing our service with honesty, integrity and trustful leadership.
Mayor Robert T. Zimmerman, MAS