If you haven’t taken a drive around Hammonton in recent months, now is a good time to survey the recent and continuing economic growth. What continues to amaze is that it is happening during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It’s a testament to the town’s strength. This kind of growth isn’t being seen everywhere.
In the uptown district on the White Horse Pike (Route 30), the major project is the affordable senior living center. The conversion of the Econo Lodge into this new facility is transforming the landscape uptown with a nearly $30 million improvement. Right now, it is creating many new construction jobs. When the facility opens, it will create many new permanent jobs in Hammonton.
Investments in new retail, office and automotive spaces are also either coming soon or are already here uptown—as well as in the downtown, Little Italy and Hammonton Business Park sections of town.
Downtown continues to make strides with new businesses replacing the few that do go out of business. Most of the downtown spaces are filled and they are filled with either long-running stores or promising new ones.
Even second-story spaces are seeing businesses flourish in them downtown. The decades-old revitalization effort is paying huge dividends now. People barely remember the era, just 30 years ago, when the downtown area’s historic buildings were mostly vacant and run-down, and locals openly suggested tearing down many of them to eliminate the blight. That would have been the easy way, but not the best way, to solve downtown’s problems.
Our special supplement, which features a walking tour of the downtown celebrating its unique character, history and architecture begins on page 25.
Meanwhile, the housing market is hotter than ever, with empty lots being filled with new construction. Now there are “tear-downs” in Hammonton—but instead of downtown buildings, the “tear-downs” are older homes that are being replaced with new homes, as we normally see down the shore.
What’s driving the housing market? A school district that is seen as one of the best in the area, a relatively safe community and all the improvements in the business districts mentioned in this editorial. Together, these elements make for a place people want to live and raise a family. Hammonton should be proud of all the efforts that have been made to improve the town. We believe the current growth trend will continue, because the people who live here and the ones moving here want to see it continue.