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OPINION: Could A Medical Marijuana Facility Be Coming To Gloucester City?


William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNewsnet 

The Southport section of Gloucester City is being considered for a medical
marijuana facility. The city mayor and council recently announced a public meeting to 6a00d8341bf7d953ef017c3813f685970b-400widiscuss the possibility on Thursday, September 27 at 7:30 pm in council chambers, 313 Monmouth Street. To date, no applications have been received by the City, and no determinations to accept or reject such facilities has been made by mayor and council, according to the announcement.

Kudos to the mayor and council for inviting the public to discuss their plans. So many times before our leaders proceeded forward planning our future without our input. It is encouraging to see and hopefully, it will be a regular practice in the future. 

For example the proposal for the food and vegetative waste compost facility to be constructed on Water Street on the 9 plus acres where Atlantic Richfield refinery once stood. No one knew this was coming until after the paperwork between the parties was signed. It was only then that many residents learned that Gloucester's Vista, proposed in 2005 was nothing but a political trick by some local politicians to get re-elected. 

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“Once in operation, this 400 ton per day indoor facility, to be owned and operated by Organic Diversion Inc. would become the first totally enclosed facility of its kind anywhere in North America, “ read the press release in 2010.   "Officials expect construction to start in mid-summer. A 2013 opening date is anticipated. It will cost approximately $30 million to build. The six-day a week operation is expected to increase traffic to around 25 trucks a day."

When the plant didn't open its doors by the end of 2013 Mayor James announced in another press release a few days before the end of 2013 that construction on the Organic Diversion's food waste to energy facility had begun. 

Dec. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Gloucester City officials announced today that construction has begun on Organic Diversion's food waste to energy facility. The Organic Diversion facility is the first of several planned projects in the 145 acre Southport Redevelopment Area (SRA). Once completed, the SRA will be transformed from a long vacant, Brownfield industrial site into one of the premier business parks in the region. The SRA is being redeveloped by Southport Renewal, LLC with engineering support from T&M Associates and marketed by Prime Site Properties.

"This is a great day and it could not come at a better time of year with the holidays approaching," said Mayor William James of Gloucester City.  Having Organic Diversion start on the construction of its renewable energy facility in Gloucester City signals the beginning of a new era of development, public access to our water front, and tax ratables to help bring new revenue and business opportunities to our great City," concluded the Mayor in his remarks. A formal ribbon cutting will take place sometime early in the New Year.

"It's been a long road and the elected and appointed officials both here in Gloucester City and neighboring Brooklawn, at the County, and State and Federal levels have all been incredible in helping to make all this happen.  The Gloucester City Business Association and the Gloucester City Economic Development Corporation were extremely supportive as well," said Rocco D'Antonio, Organic Diversion's President.  "This is the first of many steps to come to help see this area back to its full potential – both environmentally and economically."

We reached out to members of the city council yesterday, Wednesday by email and asked what happened to those plans?  We are still waiting for their response.

Rocco D'Antonio, a spokesman for Organic Diversion said today that plans for their facility are still moving ahead. When asked why the delay D'Antonio said, "Just when you think all the permits have been submitted another pops up. We expect to announce soon that construction is beginning in a press release. When we have the release ready we will send you a copy."

RELATED: WHAT HAPPENED TO GLOUCESTER CITY'S VISTA  6a00d8341bf7d953ef016304a3e691970d-500wi