Borough Beeswax: Buzzing About Civic Improvements
Which municipal projects would Collingswood residents and visitors most like to see the borough pursue in 2012?
Throughout Collingswood, there are few issues discussed as passionately as the LumberYard. As the borough considers refinancing measures to ease the financial impact of the project, Collingswood Patch asked: What projects would you like to see the municipal government tackle in 2012?
At Grooveground, Chris Rocco said his biggest concern is that Collingswood storefronts don't remain open as long as is necessary to sustain greater commercial foot traffic.
"I would love to see retail businesses in town extend their hours and be open evenings and weekends," Rocco said.
By comparison, he said, Grooveground operates 120 hours a week. There, Jonathan Elliott and Rich Ratner, both new to Westmont, shared a meal and their thoughts on the neighborhood.
"I love the downtown," said Elliott of Collingswood. He thinks it still could be improved by designating formally an arts district, perhaps one centered on the Scottish Rite Auditorium.
Elliott also said that the borough would benefit from "some sustainable government initiative to get retail businesses here."
Ratner agreed, but remarked on how difficult the current business climate is for brick-and-mortar retailers.
Whatever new retail shop the borough attracts, "It would have to be a business that can't be easily replaced by the Internet," he said.
Outside, Matt Waligorski talked about how stalled municipal development in his hometown of Westmont prevents him from scoffing at the LumberYard.
"We've already dug ourselves into the same hole with the DyDee diaper service [property]," Waligorsky said.
Whatever Collingswood decides to do next, Barbara Nate of Woodbury Heights cautions, "Don't overbuild."
"Make sure you keep the nature of the town," Nate said. She and her husband, Dan, were visiting Nunzio's restaurant for her birthday.
Admiring the trees along Haddon Avenue, Dan Nate said that some of the most rewarding projects have already been begun. In a few decades, he said, pedestrians in town will enjoy a lush, verdant canopy.
"They're going to be so beautiful," he said.