Friends, family, borough officials and police officers packed the Palmyra Borough Council chambers as Mayor Gina Ragomo Tait and Councilwomen Dr. Laura Cloud and Jessica O’Connor took their oaths of office during a reorganization meeting on Jan. 5.
The mayor – who was reelected to a four-year term – said before the meeting that she is looking forward to the completion of the Route 73 South Redevelopment Area.
Plans call for two large warehouses, one already built; some 102 affordable-housing units; and 34 acres of open space – including wetlands – and restoration of the Delaware River shoreline.
The meeting started with Solicitor Ted Rosenberg swearing in Ragomo Tait, then Dr. Laura Cloud to her second three-year council term. Jessica O’Connor then took the oath from Rosenberg for her first three-year term after being elected in November, followed by new council President Ted Howard’s swearing-in.
The mayor then presented the owners of F.C. Kerbeck & Sons car dealership on Route 73 with the key to the borough for their support of events and sports teams in Palmyra.
Council then proceeded to approve a series of professional and committee appointments and two borough police officers were promoted to sergeant. Police also named Shawn Benedict a part-time Special Law Enforcement Officer, Class 2, and Gerald Griffin a part-time Class 1 officer.
Appointed as crossing guards for 2024 were Sara Ercolono, Howard Dreby, Barbara Zehyer, Ellen Adams, Jarmilla Sheppard, Delia Spiker, Mary Boylan, Timothy Puglia and Joyce Allessandro.
Council appointed Ron Holt as its part-time housing inspector and fire inspector, George Moore as a part-time public buildings and grounds employee and Frank Billingiere as a part-time code enforcement inspector.
Council authorized a change order to the Municipal Maintenance Company, an increase of $36,748 for the Palmyra Sewage Treatment Plant’s emergency generator project, adjusting the total price to $330,348. That was followed by a resolution awarding the plant’s laboratory testing contract to Eurofins QC LLC for $12,335.
The cleaning and redevelopment of the South Route 73 site began last year, when the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) declared it a Brownfield development area. Before that, motorists crossing into New Jersey on the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge would pass a series of gas stations and truck stops, the 65-acre flea market that had been a U.S. Army training center and the 104-acre Fillit Corporation landfill site.
After extensive cleanup, phase one of the redevelopment was completed when the 700,000-square-foot Tac-Pal Logistics Center warehouse was built last year. In October, officials started phase two by breaking ground for another 700,000-square-foot Tac-Pal building.
There are also plans to make connecting trails from the affordable-housing development to the Palmyra Cove Nature Center at the foot of the bridge and the Delaware River.