Joseph F. Berenato
Mayor Jiampetti leads Egg Harbor
EGG HARBOR CITY—Now in her third term, Egg Harbor City Mayor Lisa Jiampetti (D) first got into local politics because she wanted to make a difference in her community.
“I wanted to use any skills that I may have acquired in the business perspective, and also through my college classes—my business degree—to help bring Egg Harbor City into the future,” Jiampetti told The Gazette.
Jiampetti holds several degrees to assist with perspective. She graduated from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey (now Stockton University) in 2004 with a bachelor of science degree in business management, then attended Fairleigh Dickinson University where she earned a master’s degree in administrative science in 2012. In 2020, she received an Ed.D. in organizational leadership from Stockton University.
A mostly lifelong resident of Egg Harbor City—“I’ve been in and out a few times, but mainly I’ve been here all my life,” she said—Jiampetti lives there with her husband, Michael Jiampetti III, and has three children: Ryan Brodton, 37; Michael Jiampetti IV, 27; and Matthew Jiampetti, 24.
Jiampetti brought with her a varied work background when she first started on city council in 2006, having worked as a manager at Wawa for 13 years before leaving to raise a family and be a stay-at-home, which continued until she graduated from college in 2004.
“Then I was a substitute teacher for many years, and I got a job in 2012 as the after-school program coordinator for the 21st Century Community Learning Center program in Egg Harbor City Community School,” Jiampetti said.
That year is also notable for Jiampetti as being the year she decided to run for mayor of Egg Harbor City.
“The things I did on council, I had goals I set out to do and I accomplished them. I really wanted to stretch out a little bit and try a different position,” Jiampetti said.
Jiampetti noted that she is pleased with the progress the city has made since she first joined city council.
“If you look at Egg Harbor City from 2007 until now, the administration has really made great leaps of progress. We have a new high school; we have a new middle school. We have a boardwalk. We have all kinds of things that weren’t there before. We have improved recreation. There’s a whole host of things that we’re working on. That’s the kind of thing that has to continue,” she said.
Jiampetti said that such progress was only possible by “moving forward and pushing the envelope.”
“You can’t stay with the status quo, or else we’re all going to be dealing with the same exact problems over and over and over again. We’ll never change, so you have to try something that’s somewhat disruptive to the status quo in order to survive ... If we didn’t move forward and do what we did over the past 14 years, we wouldn’t have anything. We’d be dead and buried by now, and I truly believe that in my heart. We took the hits for it, but, right now, we’re poised for great things in Egg Harbor City,” Jiampetti said.
One of the ways that Egg Harbor City has changed, Jiampetti said, is through the city’s agreement with Hammonton to be a part of the joint municipal court as per Hammonton’s Ordinance No. 002-2020, adopted and published at the regular meeting of town council on January 27, 2020.
“We have a great relationship with Hammonton. We just consolidated our court; Hammonton has taken over our court system ... I think shared services are great. With the way taxes and things are going up, it really makes sense. I think it’s the way of the future, to be honest, in order to sustain your tax base without having to raise taxes,” Jiampetti said.
Future partnerships, Jiampetti said, are certainly worth consideration.
“I love Hammonton. I love working with—you have a great administrator, you have a great staff, you have a great mayor—and it’s very easy to work with them. If there are opportunities, I think that we would certainly take advantage of those,” she said.
Jiampetti said that the similarities between Hammonton and Egg Harbor City help with such partnerships.
“Hammonton, actually, is very similar to Egg Harbor City, I think, family-wise. There’s a lot of good families that have been there forever, and the same is true here. A lot of those families are the same ones that are in Egg Harbor City; there are a million Jiampettis in Hammonton ... We’re all connected. Hammonton, Mullica, Egg Harbor City—we’re all one big extended
family,” Jiampetti said.
In another effort to help change the city, Jiampetti said that they have been exploring ways to foster growth.
“Our resources now, our land, is limited, so our focus has to be on increasing the population by building out Egg Harbor City north,” she said.
To that end, Jiampetti discussed a project at the Tower Site, a compilation of properties generally bounded by Moss Mill Road, Hamburg Avenue, Washington Avenue and Duerer Street.
“It’s across from Cedar Creek High School. We have an interested developer on that that we’re negotiating with, and the product that they want to put there, most importantly, will probably fill up the stores on Philadelphia Avenue, I believe, with complementary services and businesses. The long-term goal is to bring stores into Philadelphia Avenue by putting a business, just like the high school did in a way—it helped until COVID-19—putting things out there that are going to bring people into the town,” Jiampetti said.
Growing the city’s commercial footprint, Jiampetti said, is a priority.
“We have to get commercial business by adding rooftops, and we have to get unique businesses—as we’re pursuing now—to fill up the stores on Philadelphia Avenue. The vision is to turn it into the vibrant community that it once was, especially Philadelphia Avenue,” she said.
One such business, Jiampetti noted, is the addition of a Super Wawa, currently under construction.
“We have a Super Wawa coming right on the corner, across from Dunkin Donuts and AutoZone, on the corner with Route 50 and Route 30 at the traffic light,” Jiampetti said.
Jiampetti said that more development could be coming further down Route 50, as well.
“We also have interested developers out at the lake area that want to put a very prestigious operation out there, which could also help ... I have to tout our Egg Harbor City Lake, which is so very wonderful and is a destination place. We have a great lake that is just a treasure to the residents of Egg Harbor City, that everybody should come visit,” she said.
One project currently in the works will help both residents of Egg Harbor City and its visitors to have easier, more leisurely access to the lake.
“We’re getting a bike lane to the Egg Harbor City Lake, from Diesterweg Street past Cedar Creek High School to the lake. We got a $723,000 grant for that. We also got a design grant which was worth much, much more,” Jiampetti said.
With projects like these on the horizon, Jiampetti said that the future of Egg Harbor City is a bright one.
“We’re poised for great things here. It’s just a matter of the comfort level with people disrupting the status quo, and doing creative and different things to survive in these turbulent times we live in,” Jiampetti said.