Gloucester Township has acquired the former bank building (3 S Black Horse Pike) and the adjacent properties (5 and 7 S Black Horse Pike) in Downtown Blackwood section of Gloucester Township to be used as Community and Arts Center and a public parking lot. 

       Built over a century ago (est. 1911), this 6,685 square-foot historic building will serve as a much-needed Community and Arts Center, a “shared space” where Gloucester Township residents and entities such as, but not limited to, the Library and Mainstage Center for Performing Arts, will hold their events and other happenings. Local artists’ exhibitions, community classes, non-profit organizations’ meetings and events can take place at the center which will become the pinnacle and a community hub of the Gloucester Township Arts District in Downtown Blackwood. The center will also serve as a Black Box Theater for Mainstage Center for Performing Arts and provide a free community access to the internet and local information. The white building next to the bank will be demolished to serve as a public parking lot for visitors of the area. 

     Community centers are known to be important hubs across the country that give people an opportunity to socialize, recreate, volunteer, learn, get social support, and access various services. They boost local economies and revitalize communities. Currently Gloucester Township does not have a community center and establishing one will undoubtedly yield numerous benefits to the Gloucester Township community. 

      Through the Neighborhood Preservation Program, the Township has been awarded $200,000 Community Capital Needs Grant from the NJ Department of Community affairs for this project. The grant will be used to acquire and help fund reconstruction of the building. Approximately $550,000 in additional funding from various federal, state, and local sources will go toward this project in keeping up with the goal of leveraging Neighborhood Preservation Program funding to expand the resources and impact on the community.

      “We are extremely grateful to receive the grant from NJDCA. The historical bank building is located in the very heart of Downtown Blackwood in a highly visible area. The proposed Gloucester Township Community and Arts Center will serve as a catalyst project to solidify the revitalization efforts in the district. Without this funding Gloucester Township would not be able to realize other investments to make this project a reality, “said Mayor David R. 

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Assembly Speaker, Craig Coughlin, and state and local officials tour the Downtown Blackwood to discuss improvements to the area.