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Update From Mayor Mayer

September 19, 2023, check out the video update on the revitalization efforts in the historic Downtown Blackwood!

2-20 N BHP Awning Project Underway

The awning project is underway in the Downtown Blackwood Section of Gloucester Township!

You may notice that couple of old awnings were removed recently with the new ones being installed this week. All awnings on the entire building ( 2-20 N BHP) will be replaced in the nearest future, so if you are in the area – watch the progress unfold!

The project is funded by the Gloucester Township Neighborhood Preservation Program and is a part of the 2023 Implementation Plan for the area. 

Little Blossoms Kids Yoga and Mindfulness

Our youngest residents participated in the Yoga and Mindfulness classes this summer and got to enjoy the recently completed renovations in Harwan Park. Thank you, Jennifer Minnick of Little Blossoms (Ann A. Mullen Middle School), for hosting classes for our little ones!

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GTNPP Sponsors Farmers' Market Entertainment

Big Thank You to Gloucester Township Neighborhood Preservation Committee for allocating funds to sponsor the entertainment for the 2023 Farmers’ Market! Not only the funds sponsored musical bands, but also the weekly craft table

for our little ones!

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Arts District Officially Welcomes Historical Mural

       On Thursday, July 20th, 2023, Mayor Mayer and artists David Knauer and Rob Ortiz cut the ribbon on the historical mural in the Downtown Blackwood section of Gloucester Township. Joining them at the ceremony were Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, Council President Orlando Mercado, Councilwoman Tara Walters, Economic Development Partnership Chair Dennis Paris, and Neighborhood Preservation Stakeholders’ Committee Member Nick Rehrig.

      In Spring, the Gloucester Township Neighborhood Preservation Program Committee hired artist David Knauer to paint a historical mural in the Downtown Blackwood section of Gloucester Township. David reviewed historical photographs provided by the Gloucester Township Historic and Scenic Preservation Committee to create a mural for the Arts District. Assisted by friend Rob Ortiz, this piece of Gloucester Township history was brought to life in four days.

     The mural depicts the Blackwood Train Station, originally located at West Church Street and Washington Ave, in the early 1900s. The train station was built in 1891 and served as the last stop of the line until tracks were extended out to Grenloch. The GT Bike Share Kiosk now stands where once this mighty passenger train roared passed. Across the street, where the Caboose currently stands, was the home to a freight depot train station that serviced the pine lumber yard.

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Garden Mural at the Unforgotten Haven

It’s been a week of murals in the Arts District in the Downtown Blackwood section of Gloucester Township with another brand-new stunning garden mural completed on the wall of the Unforgotten Haven! Sponsored by Ron Jaworski’s Foundation the Jaws Youth Playbook, the mural by Art by Alysia depicts fresh fruits and vegetables, soon to be the newest offering from the Unforgotten Haven with their new gardens project to provide fresh produce for families in need. 

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Artist David Knauer Starts Mural

     If you were in the Downtown Blackwood section of Gloucester Township this past Friday night, you might have seen artist David Knauer projecting lights on the wall and tracing an image. David was hired by the Neighborhood Preservation Team to paint a historical mural on one of the buildings in the Arts District. The owner of 21-23-25 N Black Horse Pike kindly donated the wall to the project, and David officially started painting his artwork on Monday, July 3rd.

    About the artist: David Knauer was born and raised in South Jersey. David is experienced in many types of art mediums, including oil, aerosol, pen, ink, etc. You can see Dave’s murals in Pitman, NJ. He is also an accomplished tattoo artist specializing in photorealistic work, portraits, and black and grey art. David reviewed various historical photographs provided by the Gloucester Township Historical Committee in order to create a mural for the historic Downtown Blackwood section of Gloucester Township.

David’s friend, Rob Ortiz, is helping him with the mural. Rob works for Atlanticare as a software developer and enjoys art and graphic design as his hobbies.

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Mystic Ginger Gets a New Blade Sign

Congratulations to Mystic Ginger Hair Salon and Apothecary on their brand-new blade sign paid for by the Gloucester Township Neighborhood Preservation Program! 

Blade signs enhance the appearance of a business property, serve as a business identification, and help maintain a unified look and feel of the area.

“We are so grateful to have been granted a new blade sign by the GT NPP! We are beyond thankful for the revitalization efforts being made by Gloucester Township and the NPP.

As a local business owner and resident, I am honored to be an active member of this wonderful committee dedicated to revitalizing our downtown district. To us, this sign is symbolic of a shift happening in the Gloucester Township Arts District.  We are thrilled to see the efforts made so far and are excited for more to come!” said Kellie D’Ascenzo, owner of Mystic Ginger.

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Volunteers Complete a Community Project in the NPP District 

      On Wednesday, June 7, Mayor David Mayer visited the community project site in the Downtown Blackwood section of Gloucester Township. The Gloucester Township Neighborhood Preservation Program volunteers along with community volunteers painted the 93 year-old cemetery’s fence of the First Presbyterian Church on the corner of Black Horse Pike and Church Street. The Mayor thanked the volunteers for this great initiative and the important role of preserving a part of the history in the historic Downtown section of the Township.

         Over the span of 3 days, community volunteers painted the 93 year-old iron fence in the historic Downtown Blackwood section of Gloucester Township. The project was organized and led by a Gloucester Township small business owner, Nick Rehrig, of Krieg and Sieg. Nick is also a stakeholder in the Gloucester Township Neighborhood Preservation Committee and proposed this project of painting the cemetery’s fence to other members of the team this past winter. 

Last week, in preparation for the project, the Department of Public Works power washed the retaining wall and the sidewalks surrounding the cemetery of the First Presbyterian Church.

On Tuesday, the volunteers used power tools and metal brushes to scrub the fence of the rust and old paint. The volunteers then primed and painted the fence with high-gloss paint that had been kindly donated for the project by Becky Piacentino, a representative of Sherwin Williams – Haddon Heights. 

Total Project Time: 23 hours

Total Length of the Fence: 325 feet with over 1000 spindles! 

Special Thanks to the volunteers: 

- Ken Rehrig

- Amanda Rehrig

- Stephanie Krawiec

- John Gugel ( Gugel Painting)

- Alex Gallagher

Big Thanks to Public Works for power washing the concrete walls, to Sherwin Williams for donating 6 gallons of high-quality paint, and Nick Rehrig for leading the project!

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Flagpole Dedication and Monument Unveiling at Harwan Park

         On Thursday, May 18th, 2023 Mayor David Mayer, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, and American Legion Post 281 dedicated a flagpole and unveiled the Veterans’ Memorial that was relocated to Harwan Park from the intersection of Black Horse Pike and Church Street.

         The Monument was previously positioned on the wall of the First Presbyterian Church’s cemetery and became dislodged. The new location of the monument (center of Harwan Park) will allow for safe and comfortable congregation of individuals willing to pay tribute to the fallen heroes.

        “Today, we dedicate this flagpole that will proudly carry the colors of the United States of America. The colors that represent freedom for so many of us and hope for so many others. Colors that represent our democratic way of life and colors that have been brought into battle by so many so that we can assemble here this morning peacefully. Let this flagpole stand for ages and ages to come, and let the colors of our nation fly free for ages and ages to come. Also, let this flagpole and the colors it carries remind everyone who passes by how fortunate we all are to be Americans. I thank all of our veterans who are here today for their service and sacrifice. I also want to thank our Department of Public Works for the great work that they did renovating this park,” said Mayor Mayer.

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Harwan Park Renovations Completed

Come enjoy your beautiful park in the Downtown Blackwood Section of Gloucester Township!

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Finer Flowers II Receives NPP Grant

Congratulations to Stephanie Heil, owner of Finer Flowers II in the Blackwood section of our township, on receiving a $1000 grant from the Neighborhood Preservation Program! Stephanie used the grant to fund her business' new sign. The flower shop delivers courteous, professional service and the highest quality floral and gift items. Their experienced designers can create floral designs that will complement any occasion and meet any budget and style expectations. For more information about Finer Flowers II, please click the button below!

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5/7/2023 Arts Market

Thank you to our wonderful vendors, visitors, bands (sponsored by the NPP Program), food trucks, Public Works and Police Officers for making our Arts Market such a great event yesterday! We thank everyone who was so kind in reaching out and giving us their awesome feedback! We are glad you enjoyed this community event as much as we did! See you next year!

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4/20/23 Demolition Starts on 5 & 7 BHP

Today Mayor David Mayer and Assemblyman Paul Moriarty visited the demolition site of the white buildings at 5 and 7 Black Horse Pike (the future site of Gloucester Township Community and Arts Center’s parking lot). The demolition will take approximately 2 weeks to complete, after which the Department of Public Works will pave the area to be used as a public parking lot.  

In 2021, Gloucester Township acquired the former bank building (3 S Black Horse Pike) and the adjacent properties (5 and 7 S Black Horse Pike) in the Downtown Blackwood section of Gloucester Township to be used as a 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 Community Center is expected to be completed by the end of next year. 

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Phase 2 Improvements at Harwan Park

The second phase of Harwan Park improvements are underway with the flower bed being redone and pavers installed replacing the river rock. The former wooden frame of the flower bed has been replaced with the flat stone surface that visitors can use to sit for awhile.

The improvements will maximize usable space in the park allowing for more room to walk, add seating, and place vendors for events. The Veterans Monument that was on the corner of Black Horse Pike and Church Street is being repaired right now and will be moved to the park as well. The memorial will be placed in the center of the park and allow for traditional ceremonies and gatherings to be held comfortably with extra permanent seating around it. 

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3/21/23 Mayor Mayer Meets with the NPP Team

Mayor Mayer joined the Neighborhood Preservation Program Stakeholder team for their meeting and a tour of the Arts District on Tuesday. The Mayor and the team discussed various projects happening in the area such as improvements to Harwan Park to maximize the space and aesthetics, residential and com- mercial façade updates, the upcoming farmers’ market and other events and projects happening this year in the Arts District.
The NPP Team thanked the Mayor for his continued support of their revitalization efforts.

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New Digital Display!

Continuing improvements in the Downtown Blackwood section of Gloucester Township, a new digital information sign has been installed funded by the Neighborhood Preservation Grant. The sign features a quality, dynamic, and eye-catching LED display designed to improve community communication and aesthetically enhance the area.

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Building Facade Make-Over 

In the fall 2022, the stakeholder team commissioned Cindy Williams, a design consultant specializing in façade make-overs, district branding and placemaking, to help create a vision through redesign of the façades of the buildings from 2 to 20 N. Black Horse Pike. This design was intended to refresh the street-facing side of the buildings, presenting a more welcoming look and feel to the block. The objective of the project is to grow vibrancy by creating a sense of place, attracting development, recruiting businesses, building bustle, enhancing the district, and increasing value.

The property and business owners of 2-20 N BHP were invited to attend two presentations of this design in December. They will also have an opportunity to sign up for a one-on-one session with the designer to work on the details of their property. Once the design is finalized (expected by March, 2023), the NPP District will work to allocate funding – including a portion from the NJDCA grant – to implement the vision over next several years. 

Below please see the preliminary design.

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Congratulations, SCORE Recipients! 

4 businesses participated in the SCORE program offered through the Neighborhood Preservation Program. This program provides personalized support to businesses in the Gloucester Township Arts District NPP Neighborhood by creating solutions to challenges small businesses face. Two of those businesses received $1000 grant each towards their needs, while other two are still in the process. 

Learn more about the SCORE program HERE.

Public Parking Signs

To address the parking shortage, signs have been installed at MainStage Center For the Arts' parking lot indicating public parking. The Ordinance N0. 0-22-08 was introduced on July 11 and adopted on July 27, 2022. 

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Farmers' Market is Back!

This year Gloucester Township was excited to bring back the Farmers’ Market in Downtown Blackwood!

The market took place every Thursday (rain or shine), June 23rd- September 29th, 4pm-7pm Harwan Park, 32 S. Black Horse Pike, Gloucester Township, NJ. 

Big Thank You to the Neighborhood Preservation Program Grant that has sponsored the entertainment for 2022 season!

Stay tuned for more information regarding the 2023 market!

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ARTIST AND MURALIST, DAMON BAIN, PAINTS REVITALIZATION 

Gloucester Township, in partnership with the Arts at Camden County College, is excited to introduce Damon Bain, a portrait artist and muralist, who is creating stunning window art on one of the buildings in the Arts District. 

Damon, a Philadelphia artist and an alumnus of Camden County College, has been commissioned by the Neighborhood Preservation Stakeholder Team to work on a temporary window installation on one of the building’s windows kindly donated to the project by the owner. 

Damon reveals a look at the unifying traits of humanity in his figurative and contemporary paintings. A sense of beauty and love emanates from his modern abstract expression. Bain is a versatile artist who explores the elaborate human form with the same passion that he reveals the subtle beauty of nature. 

Damon is painting Revitalization as a symbol of revitalization of the beloved Downtown Blackwood section of Gloucester Township. Hands gathered to form an earth sphere in Revitalization represent the concept of working collectively towards rebirth of something great. 

The project is located at 4 North Black Horse Pike. Stop by and check it out!

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Thank you, Damon, for the beautiful artwork!

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Harwan Park Update

The NPP District allocated funds for the improvement of Harwan Park, a popular destination for community events. To address public safety concerns the following improvements were made: the removal of large trees, lighting, landscaping, painting of the gazebo, and improved surveillance. 

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COMMUNITY AND ARTS CENTER IS COMING TO THE ARTS DISTRICT!

       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.

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