By Jenny Cowan
WOOLWICH TWP. — At their meeting on Dec. 15, the Woolwich Township Committee, along with the Woolwich Township Police Department, was presented with the gift of an all terrain vehicle.
The ATV, a Polaris Sportsman 570, was donated by Advoserv, a company that runs several adult residential treatment homes in the township.
“We’ll use the vehicle in the event of looking for people who have gone missing, whether from Advoserv or elsewhere in the community. We’ll also use it to patrol parks during events,” said Woolwich Police Chief Russell Marino.
Marino explained that in August 2014 a resident of an Advoserv treatment home, Michael Lawton, went missing. At the time, the Woolwich Police Department borrowed an ATV from the Logan Township Police in order to search off-road areas, such as woods and fields, inaccessible to police vehicles. Lawton, who suffers from a mental disability, was found shortly after and safely returned home.
“This is a goodwill gesture from Advoserv,” noted Marino. Marino went on to explain that police officers would be trained and certified before using the vehicle.
“I think it’s great for an organization in our community to donate something like this. I think it will be great for the whole community, and is another tool our police department can use in the event that a resident is missing,” added Woolwich Mayor Sam Maccarone.
Upon presentation of the vehicle, Advoserv COO Robert Bacon addressed the Committee. “We would like to thank the police department, EMS, and fire department for their hard work. We hope that this [vehicle] will make your job just a little bit easier.”
During the rest of the meeting the Committee passed a resolution authorizing the release of a performance bond for the property at Pondview at Weatherby. The Committee also authorized reductions in performance bonds for Auburn Chase, Auburn Chase- The Reserve, and Auburn Chase- The Courts.
In addition, the Committee passed a resolution authorizing the clerk to submit an application for bingo licenses on behalf of Four Seasons at Weatherby. The Committee also passed a resolution to re-appoint Kathleen Haas as registrar of Vital Statistics.
During Committee reports, Matthew Blake, Director of Community Development, reported that on Dec. 10 the township held a final public hearing on the Woolwich-Swedesboro Open Space & Recreation Plan. The plan includes suggestions and timelines for the development of recreation areas, trail systems, and waterway access. He noted that the final plans are available on the township website.
Blake also mentioned two upcoming construction projects. Beginning in January, South Jersey Gas will begin a remediation project at the site of the former Swedesboro Manufactured Gas Plant, located near the intersection of Auburn Road and High Hill Road. SJG plans to remove soil impacted by the gas plant and transport it offsite for treatment.
There will be some impact to traffic on Auburn Road, but dates for road closures have not yet been posted. Project completion is estimated to be late 2015.
In addition, Blake reported that the county engineer estimates that the construction of a new roundabout for the intersection of High Hill Road and Auburn Road will begin in late September. The design is similar to that of the one installed on Kings Highway in Swedesboro.
Though Blake admits that the projects may be a bit of a headache for traffic during 2015, he also wants to encourage residents to be patient. “It is really important that we all remind ourselves to be patient, appreciate the work being done, and take extra care to drive safely until [these projects are] complete,” Blake said.
Deputy Mayor Alexander Elefante and Committeeman Nicholas Armano each thanked the many people and various committees that they had worked with during their time on the Committee. Their terms expired at the end of 2014.
“I want to thank the residents for trusting me with this responsibility for the last three years. It has been an honor,” said Armano.
In addition, Maccarone thanked the many people responsible for making the annual Tree Lighting and first annual Woolwich Christmas Parade a success. He said the event was well attended, and that the parade also served as a welcome home for SPC Mark Viereck, a solider returning from a deployment to Afghanistan.
“It was a great event, well attended, and it was a wonderful way to honor Mark for his welcome home,” Maccarone said. The mayor added that the township was also honored to have Anthony Candell, a World War II veteran and former prisoner of war, attend the event, walking behind the Grand Marshall in the parade.