From the Mayor Josh Keenan
If you have any questions or concerms you can email me @ JoshKeenan@stratfordnj.org
Dear Residents and Business Owners,
I would like to take this time to post a memo from Police Chief Ronald Morello related to our fine police department.
It deserves repeating that all our police deserve a thanks for their work. If you see any of our officers please acknowledge their service to Stratford!
Open Letter to the Residents of Stratford [Letter]
Dear Residents and Business Owners,
Since I last posted I have lots of information to share with you about mine and Council’s efforts to make change.
Frank Cahill resigned from the Joint Land Use Board after over 30 years of volunteering to the Board and more than half of those years as Chairperson. Council honored Frank with a Citizenship Proclamation at our August Council Meeting. We wish Frank well in his “retirement” as he called it. Frank has decided to call his vacation home at the shore his permanent home. Frank will surely be missed here in Stratford.
I made the appointment to fill Frank’s position on the board with Police Chief Ronald Morello. The Board Members appointed Vice Chairman Rich St. Maur to the Chairman position. I am pleased with Rich taking on the position of Chairman. Mike Mancini was appointed as the Vice Chairman. Six of the nine members on the Board have now been replaced since I was sworn in, along with the appointment of Bach Engineers as the Board Engineer, and Stuart Platt as the Board Solicitor. The Board is ready for the future developers!
The Redevelopment Committees have been meeting and working toward a resolution to both the Bradlees’ site and the Laurel Mills site. We also have a developer under contract for a third large site which is the former Christian Academy site on Laurel Road.
At this month’s Council Meeting the developer under contract to purchase the Bradlees’ site made his presentation of a few conceptual plans for the site. It included a new convenience store and gas pumps out where the former Chinese Buffet is located. This seems to be similar to a Wawa or Royal Farms, but the developer could not disclose at this early stage what companies he was in negotiations with. There were other out-parcels proposed and office or retail space where the present stores are located. On the side closest to Rowan he showed one plan with apartment housing and another without the housing. He is in the midst of some studies being completed to see the needs of the area, as well speaking to many big name tenants. This developer is the only developer for this site who is interested in having retail/commercial uses on the site. The remainder of the developers wanted to build only apartment housing on the site. The mix is what all our Planners have recommended in the past.
The owner of the Laurel Mills site has continued to work with the committee and should be concluding soon. A new retail strip store closer to Warwick Road, and townhomes in the rear of the site is proposed. This again has always been an idea on the table. Design and layout points are being negotiated at this time.
The newest site to the inventory is the former Christian Academy. The vacant site has been marketed for over a year now for a suitable owner. The developer under contract to purchase the site is known for his senior living units. At this time he is working on plans and reviewing other items like wetlands along the adjoining streambed area. We are hopeful for this development because our seniors in town have limited options on staying in Stratford and this development will pay taxes on this site for probably the first time in about 80 years.
The priority this year has been redevelopment resulting in a positive change in Stratford for a new look to vacant sites and a new stream of tax revenue.
I am proud of the Council agreeing to make my priority of redevelopment their priority!
Please be patient as we move forward working with the developers/owners. As this process is usually not a fast moving process, I am happy on the speed this year and the quick results which we have to date. It’s only been several months and look what we have accomplished on not just one site, but three.
The most valuable result from the change and growth we will see at the Bradlees’ site is the impact it will have on the other adjacent sites along the Pike. As Councilwoman Tate stated at the last Council Meeting, this will be the first major development and change to the Pike we have seen in about 40 years. It will clearly be a visual change to the Pike as we know it today.
One last note, Kennedy Hospital and Stratford have come to an agreement which results in Kennedy paying Stratford $150,000.00 a year toward offsetting taxes for us residents. This is greatly welcomed and a real benefit to each and every one of you!
Your Proud Mayor,