Joseph F. Berenato
Residents on what Hammonton needs
Ideas on how to improve town
HAMMONTON—Though Hammonton is often hailed as a great place to work, live and play, there are always ways to further enhance the experience and make the town even more attractive to residents and visitors.
Maureen Federico, for instance, said that the town and its residents would benefit from a new entertainment venue.
“The one thing that I’ve been saying for years is that we need a movie theatre. There really is nothing much for kids to do on the weekends that they can walk to and spend some time,” Federico said.
Joe Lizza also believes that Hammonton can benefit from additional recreation and entertainment options “to compliment the robust offerings of restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries.”
“These options could include an indoor recreation center or community center that has basketball courts, an indoor track, rock wall, pool, and other amenities that can be enjoyed year-round. While the swim club is wonderful during the summer, children and adults would benefit significantly from a pool and swim lessons that can be accessed throughout the year. The center could have multipurpose spaces that can be used by individuals, organizations or other business to host events, fairs, workshops, etc.,” Lizza said.
In addition to such a facility, Lizza said that additional attention should be paid to Hammonton Lake Park, noting that, throughout the pandemic, his family has traveled to Brigantine’s Shark Park, Medford Twp.’s Fort Medford and Evesham Twp.’s Memorial Park to make use of their playgrounds and walking trails.
“There is no reason that Hammonton could not have something very similar ... The park sits in a perfect location and has significant untapped potential with the right plan and funding the support enhancements,” Lizza said.
Bill Loder agreed about the need for additional and enhanced facilities.
“Indoor soccer has become so popular, it would be nice to open an indoor facility to play, and maybe update the hockey rink on 11th Street so they can have a local league,” Loder said.
Loder said that he also believes that Hammonton would benefit from more grocery store options, and suggested a Wegmans Food Market.
“Wegmans brings more selection and higher quality products, and, according to my wife, they have a sushi bar. Plus, that would help with the crowds in the grocery stores and increase jobs,” Loder said.
Federico concurred with Loder.
“People aren’t wrong about having an alternative supermarket in this town,” Federico said.
Federico suggested expanding the fast-food options in Hammonton, as well, starting with Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.
“To quote the ad, ‘Love that chicken at Popeyes,’” Federico said.
Loder conceded the benefits of a chicken restaurant, but had a different one in mind.
“Chick-fil-A would be nice, because we have had the same fast food in this town as long as I can remember. They close and just open back up a few years later; change would be nice,” Loder said.
Barbara Ruberton would also like to see more restaurants in town, though her thoughts centered less on fast food establishments.
“Perhaps a Panera Bread or a Cheesecake Factory; we really don’t have anything like that in Hammonton,” Ruberton said.
Tony Penza would also like to see more chain restaurants, noting that Hammonton’s location provides prime opportunities.
“Route 206 is a main throughway to get to Atlantic City, and the people from New York and higher are coming through Hammonton. Why can’t we be just as busy as Blackwood or Turnersville and have a food hub? Applebee’s is an anchor when it comes to food; why can’t we have more of those?” Penza said.
Penza said that Hammonton would benefit from a quality steakhouse.
“I think we’re missing a good place to get a really good steak. Applebee’s may have steak, seafood, chicken, all that stuff, but I don’t know anybody who’s really known for a good steak in this town. Why can’t we have a destination restaurant like a Texas Roadhouse that everybody knows?” Penza said.
Ruberton also noted the lack of larger chain stores in the uptown district.
“I would love to see a Home Depot or Lowe’s. It would be much easier if we had a store like one of those types in Hammonton instead of having to fight all the traffic to get to one, especially if you’re in the middle of a project. It would probably bring in a good amount of revenue as well,” Ruberton said.
Katie DeMore noted the variety offered by some larger stores like Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Hobby Lobby and HomeGoods.
“A Marshalls-like store and a home decor type store is what I find myself traveling outside of my town most often for. Every time I want to decorate, find a new outfit for a date or the gym or light clothes shopping in general, I have to migrate at least the next town or two over. We have a basic Walmart for simple home decor and clothing necessities, but most of the time that just doesn’t cut it. We do have some boutiques on Bellevue for clothes shopping ... but I can always find something at a Marshalls or T.J. Maxx,” DeMore said.
DeMore said that options like that would keep residents from traveling out of Hammonton for a wider selection of goods.
“There’s a bigger, more stylish selection at these stores that Walmart can’t compete with most of the time, and the prices are still nicely affordable for most people. Hammonton has the things for day-to-day needs; but, other than a couple small boutiques that focus to a particular audience, there’s nowhere to just go shopping to decorate your home, spice up your wardrobe and waste some money on cute stuff you don’t need,” DeMore said.