The next goal
It’s time to set the next goal for Hammonton’s revitalization. Great gains have been made downtown, uptown, in Hammonton’s Little Italy and in the Hammonton Business Park. This week announces the next beneficiary of the economic upturn and physical improvements: Railroad Avenue from 12th Street to 13th Street, and N. Egg Harbor Road from Bellevue Avenue to Fairview Avenue.
We’ve even selected a name for this area, which is located in both the downtown area and Hammonton’s Little Italy (on the N. Egg Harbor Road side). We call it the “Railroad Corridor” because both Railroad Avenue and N. Egg Harbor Road run parallel to the NJ Transit rail line.
The Gazette was inspired when the council reached out recently to NJ Transit to clear the brush from the fence along both sides of the railroad tracks. It’s an excellent first step. Next, we believe MainStreet Hammonton, the Hammonton Revitalization Corporation, the Neighborhood Preservation Program, the Greater Hammonton Chamber of Commerce and all volunteer organizations should make it a top priority to beautify this area and promote economic development of all kinds.
Front Street has benefited tremendously from public and private initiatives that brought Stockton University’s Kramer Hall to an abandoned factory, created a park area that bears Stockton’s name and saw the renovation of several privately-held buildings, like Action Auto Body. There is no reason the properties along the Railroad Corridor cannot see the same improvements.
Revitalization works in Hammonton because existing businesses and buildings are improved or new ones are created. The people who are already working hard to maintain their businesses or apartments have remained in the downtown area as the improvements have been made. That means the result is the best of both worlds: everything looks better, and long-standing businesses and residents are not displaced.
The Gazette looks forward to covering the successful revitalization of the Railroad Corridor in the coming weeks and months, just as we covered the successful revitalization of the downtown area, the uptown district (which we named in 2013), Hammonton’s Little Italy and the Hammonton Business Park.
It’s good to set goals and beat them. That’s how a town continues to improve.