NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

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 CNBNEWS.NET Tips and Snippets: 

by Bill Cleary


MAYBE, JUST MAYBE IT WILL HAPPEN! Approximately 100 people attended the official  dedication of Freedom Pier, King Street and the Delaware River, Gloucester City on Saturday morning, Sept. 17. Besides being the former Coast Guard Base the site was also
P1060835 a  U.S. Immigration Station at one time; thus the reason it is being called Freedom Pier.


cnbnews photo-from left Deacon Crosson, Mayor's Assistant Bob Bevan, Historian Dave Munn, Councilman Marchese


St. Mary’s Church Deacon Frank Crosson opened the ceremonies with a prayer followed by the playing of the national anthem. “Welcome all to this recreation destination, to be forever known as Freedom Pier,” said Councilman Nick Marchese, M.C. of the event.


Some of the dignitaries present were State Senator Donald Norcross, Assemblymen Gilbert Whip Wilson, and Angel Fuentes, Sheriff and former City Mayor Chuck Billingham, Freeholder and former City Councilman Tom Gurick, Councilmen Nick Marchese, Jay Brophy and Dan Spencer, City Historian Dave Munn, School Board President Louisa Llewellyn.


 Because of previous commitments Mayor William James and Council members Bruce Parry, Kelli Ferry, and John Hutchinson were missing from the event.


The idea to repair the pier began five years ago. The original estimate was $3.8 million to complete it. But by using some innovative ideas with the help of Project Manager Jack Hughes, who oversaw the renovations, the cost was reduced drastically. Hughes is a Gloucester City resident.


According to Marchese it cost $1 million to reconstruct the pier’s bulkhead and another $570,000 was spent to build the 1200 foot promenade which is surrounded by an iron railing, lanterns and benches.  Funding was provided through various grants such as Green Acres, and the City’s UDAG program, along with financial help from the Economic Development Association, and the Delaware River Port Authority.


Near the end of the presentation it was announced that Don Bigley, the owner of several restaurants in Burlington County will build a restaurant, marina and retail shops on the site beginning in the spring of 2012.  The plans call for the venture to be broken down in three phases. The first phase would be the completion of the restaurant, second phase a 24 slip transient marina and the third phase would be retail shops. The agreement calls for the City to lease the ground to Bigley for 30 years. He would pay all construction costs.


I have been writing about this plan to build a waterfront restaurant in Gloucester City for over 30 years now. The idea was first proposed in the early 80‘s. Each time it got this close something happened and the deal fell through. For example...


From my June 13 2008 Tips and Snippets, 


Another TIP received was about the proposals for the Canopy restaurant on the City’s riverfront at the former Coast Guard Base. In all four proposals were received. One came from as far away as Ireland. The other three were from the immediate area. Submitting proposals were Pat O’Donnell, former owner of O’Donnell’s Restaurant; the owners of the Twin Bar and the owners of Clancy’s in Brooklawn.


O’Donnell was the successful bidder. But a study showed the wind was too strong for a canopy tent so that idea was scrapped. In 2009 O’Donnell, citing the tough economic times backed out. As such when I write maybe just maybe it will happen this time it is because I am so skeptical, like you, that this restaurant will come to be a realization in my lifetime. 


Let's give credit to the James Administration for saving so much money on the reconstruction of the pier.  An although others have given up on this concept long ago, the mayor and his council continue to work on making the dream come true.


GROWING UP GLOUCESTER-A new bakery has opened in Gloucester City at the King Street Espresso Bar, 28 N. King Street.  Golden Rose Bakery has fresh baked goods such as scones,  muffins, cookies and specialty cakes. More items will be gradually introduced . Hours of operation Monday through Friday 7am to 7pm.


At one time Gloucester City had six bakeries. There was Mosteig’s, Brown and Bergen Streets famous for their baked fresh rye bread and cinnamon buns; Krueger’s, Ridgeway and Joy Sts., noted for their delicious brownies; Blome’s Bakery, Lane Avenue, who made the best danish and crumb buns; Thompson’s, Market Street near Park Avenue, actually delivered fresh bake goods to your door; Noel’s Bakery, 500 block of Market Street and Galante’s, Broadway and Monmouth Street. There was a six bakery on Broadway near George Street; can anyone remember the name of that bakery?


Every Sunday morning after Mass each bakery was crowded. As soon as you entered your favorite bakery your sense of smell was filled with the wonderful aroma of warm bread and fresh bake goods. Just the thought of such a delightful sensation still makes my mouth water to this day.  Such fond memories, where did the time go?


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