Dear Community Friends,
The township committee and I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. May the blessings of this holiday fill your hearts and homes with an abundance of joy.
At the Gloucester Camden Line’s (GCL’s) request, Deputy Mayor Pete Scirrotto, Township Administrator Jennica Bileci, Township Engineer Jon Bryson and I met with the following GCL representatives on Thursday, Nov. 16:
Michael Howard, Principal Engineer – Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA)
Richard Piloseno, Architect – GCL Preliminary Engineering Design Team
Brooke Schmoll, Stakeholder Manager – GCL Project Management Office
Keith MacKenzie, Project Manager – GCL Project Management Office
The following was the most relevant information discussed:
- The engineering phase is currently at 10% and is expected to be at 30% of the design phase at the end of 2024. The RFP’s (Request For Proposals) for construction are expected to go-out in 2025. There is a three year build-out for construction.
- We discussed the three proposed GCL stops in Mantua Township and requested that this number be reduced. The GCL team agreed to take this back to their superiors.
- We expressed concerns relative to obtaining potential ”quiet zones” and the costs affiliated with the “quiet zones” falling-back on the local tax payer. We were advised that the GCL met with the FRA ( Federal Railroad Association) and DOT (Department of Transportation) regarding the quiet zone application process. The FRA is confident that the applications will be approved. The GCL will pay for all costs associated with the “quiet zones”- equipment, installation, engineering, application process and maintenance. Mantua’s responsibilities will be to sign-off on the application and maintain any signs that are on the roadway. The GCL could not speak to the insurance for quiet zones, but the FRA indicated that there has never been a successful lawsuit as a result of a quiet zone.
- We relayed the opposition to the train within the community relative to the recent overwhelming results of the referendum question on the Nov. 7 ballot.
- We again requested public information sessions and meetings with the GCL team for our residents to be held here in Mantua Township. The GCL team responded that at this time, they have not committed to any dates. It was indicated that if they do any form of public outreach, it will be in a forum where they will have information booths/stations for individuals to ask specific questions. It will not be a public meeting setting with a panel.
- The GCL team has been meeting with a group of officials from each municipality along the GCL route this fall, and our meeting was similar to the meetings they’ve requested with all other mayors and their respective town officials. This was the first in-person dialogue we’ve had with the GCL team since 2017, and that previous meeting was specific to the GCL stops slated for Mantua.
We officially announced Deck the House on our township website and social media platforms. This is our first ever holiday house decorating contest for Mantua Township residents and for homes within our community. If you go all-out with your outdoor holiday decorations & lights, join in the fun, and let’s get some friendly competition going between friends, neighbors and throughout our community. To learn more and to register for this event until Dec. 10 at 11:59 p.m., please click on the following link to our website at mantuatownship.com/deck-the-house-challenge/.
Employee Leah Clemenson organized a wellness event for our township employees this past Wednesday. Debby Schiffer who is the wellness director from the Joint Insurance Fund (JIF) gave a presentation on diabetes. She provided our employees with the tools to manage a more healthy lifestyle relative to diabetes. The health and well being of our employees is very important to us, and therefore, we try to offer some type of wellness program at least once annually.
If you’ve visited Chestnut Branch Park recently, you may have noticed that the new white split rail vinyl fence is being installed on both sides of the entranceway. Our holiday lights are just about installed and should be completely lit by this coming weekend.
Upcoming Township Meetings and Events:
- 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.
- Our township committee reorganization meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024 @ 5:00 p.m.
Since this week is closing out Thanksgiving, and kicking off the holiday shopping season – please be safe and consider shopping local. Enjoy your leftover turkey and stuffing, and get those decorations ready for our holiday house decorating contest. May God bless our great community of family and friends.
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