By Leigh Anne Hubbs
Gloucester City News
The Mount Ephraim Commissioners had a special meeting last week to discuss a possible redevelopment strategy for a two to three-acre site located on the north-end of the Black Horse Pike, between Valley Road and George Street.
In attendance were Mayor Joseph Wolk, Commissioners Andrew Gilmore and Bruce Greenwald, Tax Collector Marie Darlington, President of PRD Management in Pennsauken James McGrath, President of TRF Development Partners in Philadelphia Sean Closkey, and District Representative Anthony Bianco of U.S. Congressman Robert Andrews’ (D-1) Office.
McGrath said options for redevelopment include residential, commercial or multi-use; once a choice is made a further question would be whether to level the site or work with existing structures.
“Community input” is what Closkey said is one of the most important factors in deciding the direction of redevelopment.
The goal is to create wealth and opportunity which will result in a healthier neighborhood.
Mayor Wolk and the Commissioners said now that the firehouse is complete, they are eager to start their next project – but are looking for a project that will have no tax impact on residents.
As for money, Bianco said that although funding is tight these days, there are grants available and tax credits for projects involving new energy, housing for the elderly and/or disabled.
Some of the ideas for redevelopment include senior housing, a restaurant, and a small convenience store.
No action was taken at the meeting as the planning is still in the preliminary stages.
McGrath advised the governing body to gather information on the site such as its land value, its existing use value and its exact dimensions.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners will be Thursday, September 1, at 8 p.m. in Borough Hall.