New advisory board in Manchester could attract stores like Aldi

It’s a new year with new goals and new expectations for everyone, but you can expect to see things happening in Manchester Township too in 2022.

Mayor Robert Hudak, who was appointed to the position in 2021 following the resignation of Mayor Ken Palmer, was elected in November for an unexpired one-year term.

He is looking to start the new year with plans to address several areas of need and continue to develop the township.

Three of his major goals to achieve are the economic development of Whiting, the preservation of open space, and fiscal responsibility in the township.

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At the reorganization meeting this month, council approved a resolution creating the Manchester Township Economic Development Advisory Council which will comprise four residents, one council member, one planning council member and one council member of zoning.

“I’ve heard a lot of concern about people who — want to see commercial food come to Whiting, so on that front I’ve put together what’s called the Economic Development Advisory Council and they’re going to be working with me on projects to help bring retailers such as Aldi and Lidl and other opportunities to Whiting,” Hudak told Townsquare Media News. “We are also seeing preliminary plans to do other work there, possibly including the installation of a car wash, which I heard a lot about during the campaign, as well as other fare for Whiting – restaurants and a few other commercial developments of a residential.”

While anyone could develop a wish list for stores, restaurants, etc. wishes to see in a given municipality, there is a process that must be played out to see if those wishes can become reality.

“Retailers are constantly doing demographic studies to see where they could get the most profit, but townships can also market their communities in some way – that’s why I formed the Economic Development Committee and commercial – to help me with that,” Hudak said. “I know that some residents, on their own, have prepared petitions and things like that, it’s certainly very helpful and I encourage them to do so, but I wanted to coordinate these efforts so that we can reach out to these retailers and say ‘hey, give us a second look’.”

One chain the city is hoping to give them a different look is Aldi.

“We’ve contacted them a couple of times, they’ve had a look, they haven’t shown any interest yet, however, we want to keep our name front and center so to speak, so we’re keeping the reaching out and reaching out to them just to make sure they know we’re here and I think that’s a big part of what we need to do,” Hudak said.

Along with tariffs, open space and preventing overdevelopment is another priority for Manchester in 2022, says Mayor Hudak, particularly in the eastern part of the city.

“I’ve been working with the county – and I’m pushing the program forward – to buy more open space, it’s very expensive now, the real estate market is hot, so it’s challenging, however, I’m proud to announce that the county and township are partnering on the purchase of Surf & Stream Campground (off Highway 571),” Hudak said. “This will go a long way towards preserving this property and it was to be developed into approximately 245 apartments, so we will stop this overdevelopment on this property.”

Additionally, the Township of Manchester is set to complete a Bowker Field renovation project in Whiting, is working to finalize plans to complete the Whiting Cell Tower project in 2022, cap the Whiting Landfill at no cost to residents and create a solar depot on this land as well as addressing flooding issues in Pine Lake Park and across Manchester.

For more on the restaurants and retail stores that could soon be coming to Whiting or any other part of Manchester, as well as the latest plans for 2022, Check out the latest episode of “Eyes on The Jersey Shore” with Mayor Robert Hudak as a guest.

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