Mayor’s Minutes

The week between Christmas and Easter is truly a unique time of contemplating the past and the excitement of the future, with maybe even a little hesitation of what’s to come.

To Our Harrison Family, 

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is a rare time of both reflecting on the past and anticipation for the future. I find myself looking back on the past year and recalling precious or exciting moments and those that were challenging or difficult, in addition to acknowledging the things that could have gone better, as I seek to learn from those experiences. I also look forward to the New Year with enthusiasm and a touch of hesitancy for the unknown. I suspect many of you find yourself reflecting on the past and the upcoming year, as well. The excitement of activities or significant dates that are slated for the next 12 months, you could be planning an epic vacation. Perhaps there’s a big birthday for you or a loved one or a milestone anniversary. Maybe it’s the excitement of a life changing event, such as expecting a child or a grandchild. We also often set goals or objectives for the coming year, maybe you are looking to make a substantial career move or even intentionally looking to slow things down a bit and enjoy life…smell the roses, if you will. Imagine that, lol. It is truly a unique time of contemplating the past and the excitement of the future and maybe even a little hesitation of what’s to come.

On the township level, we are in the same mode of reflection, anticipation, and planning. The Committee and township team takes this “slower” time to review our goals for the past year, considering those things we accomplished and those we haven’t… yet! We identify the things we did well and those that perhaps we could have done better, learning from both. We also look to learn from the unanticipated experiences, such as the tornado, so that we can be better in the future. And of course, we set initiatives and plans for the next year.

As we look forward to 2022, we are very busy with certain anticipated projects moving forward and other potential projects coming together. The Orchard View adult community behind North Main Street will break ground shortly and the two approved medical office buildings on Route 322 (one at Cedar Road and the other next to CVS) are expected to do the same later in the year. We also anticipate approval hearings for the long-awaited gas station (perhaps two?) on Route 45, along with a car wash and additional Medical Office buildings. Other projects that will bring significant and needed tax revenue to our township are in their final planning stages. We are confident that we will be in position to publicly discuss amendments to the Richwood Redevelopment Plan in the first Quarter of 2022. The new plan substantially alters the existing approval for the area, which has never moved forward. 

We are planning to launch a new township website that better serves our community and supports visitors to Mullica Hill as we become a destination spot in the area. This is the appropriate next step in our ongoing communication initiative that started with our weekly e-newsletter, Happening in the Hill, our increased presence on social media and our video communications. We will break ground and complete the Concession Stand & Field House at Pleasant Valley School and add a fenced-in Dog Park to the back of William Wilt Soccer Complex in 2022. Lastly, the Recreation Commission is working on making our events and community activities even better… if that is even possible. 

Our Main Street business district is experiencing a renaissance of sorts and we will continue to support our business community along this corridor and throughout our township in the next year and beyond. Our local merchants are an invaluable part of what makes our town so special. On their behalf, thank you for supporting our Buy Local initiative. As you are probably aware, The Harbaugh Village opened a couple weeks ago to rave reviews, as expected. There are still certain kinks and issues (also as expected) that are being ironed-out as the venue settles into what will be the normal flow of visitors once the holidays pass. We will continue to work with Mr. Harbaugh to allow this project to become what we envisioned, while having the positive ripple effect on our businesses and the community as a whole.

These are active and exciting times for Harrison Township. However, rest assured that our leadership team is committed to maintaining the balance of our historic charm that we all love with the necessary evolution that assures our long-term viability. This balance will always be the centerpiece of any conversation about our hometown, even as that conversation widens. 

On behalf of my fellow Committee members, Don Heim, Julie DeLaurentis, John Williams, Adam Wingate, incoming member Michelle Powel (as Don Heim retires from his role), and our entire township team, I wish you and your families a safe, healthy and Happy New Year. The best is yet to come!

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor