The Pace of Progress in a Small Town
The New Jersey Healthy Communities Network grant funds have helped jump start the process of developing a vacant land parcel that was purchased by the Borough of Elmer through Green Acres Funds in 2013. The reality of developing the park is that progress is slow in government, especially in a small town with limited resources. The land is currently being rented to a farmer but plans are now in place to start the project as soon as the farmer has completed the harvest for the year. Plans include handicap accessible parking, up to a half mile of walking paths, pavilion, playground, open space for multiple types of sports and activities, and a butterfly garden. The challenge is getting started and allocating funds to get done everything that is planned. For instance, while we want the walking path installed as soon as possible, we have to consider the plans for the interior of the park so that any walkways are not damaged in the construction process of the pavilion and playground. And while progress is slow, the goal is in sight! Once the project is started the potential for more community input and resources will be increased as community members see the benefits and get excited about the new park facility. At least one member of the community (the dog pictured above) already can’t wait!
About the Grantee
Elmer is a small town in rural Salem County. Incorporated in 1893, it has historically served as a hub of activity for the surrounding farm community. It has a hospital, churches, banks, restaurants, a library, grocery, drug store, dollar store, gift & flower shops, medical & dental services, accountants & lawyers, salons, gas stations, & a lumber yard packed into one square mile.