A weekly update of stories previously reported

Twenty-one months ago: New Expressway road could displace residents

The South Jersey Transportation Authority has plans for a new connector road to link the Atlantic City Expressway with Atlantic City International Airport and avoid traffic at the Airport Circle.

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But the plans call for the road to be built through a wooded area of the mobile home community of Steeple Chase Village and displace five households. The SJTA met with residents in a July 2011 meeting, and although the residents protested, officials said it was the best place to build the road with the least environmental impact.

At its March 20 meeting the SJTA’s Board of Commissioners unanimously approved allocating more than $1.4 million to purchase 3.8 acres of land from Wawa Inc. and 2.2 acres of land from the five residents at the mobile home park. The money also includes costs to relocate them.

Sam Donelson, the SJTA’s acting executive director, said they have yet to begin negotiations with the parties to buy the land. He said the authority wanted to wait until the money was secured.

The total was based on an appraisal of the land and estimated cost to relocate the residents. The authority can use eminent domain to secure the property if an agreement cannot be reached.

The authority will split the road project into two phases and could award the contract on the first phase in May, Donelson said.

Eleven month ago: New rehab facility pulls out of Hamilton Business Park

In April 2012, the Hamilton Township Business Park was gaining serious momentum. But it didn’t last.

The township had just reached an agreement with Florida-based rehabilitation center Treatment Solutions to build a 120-bed facility for its clients. The business was expected to provide 50 to 60 full-time jobs.

The township sold an approximately 15-acre plot for $592,000 in April. It was the second land sale in the park in five months. In December, it finalized an agreement to sell 15.9 acres to Egg Harbor Township-based Harrison Beverage to move its operations to the township.

The sales not only meant future ratables but significant influxes of money for that year’s budget.

But Hamilton Economic Development Director Phil Sartorio said Treatment Solutions decided not to move forward with the project and allowed its contract with the township to run out last year.

The change was due to a merger by the company and they moved in a new direction, he said.

“Anytime you lose the opportunity to create jobs it’s a little disappointing but sometimes things happen,” he said.

The township’s Industrial Commission, which oversees the park, has plans to hire a Realtor who will help market the site along Harding Highway for new businesses, he said.

Three months ago: State inmate charged with escape

On Dec. 1, local authorities announced Nelson Hook, 31, of Atlantic City, had escaped from his halfway house in Trenton. He had been sentenced to five years in prison for drug and weapons charges in September 2008 and was scheduled to be released in May, according to the state Department of Corrections’ website.

But authorities apprehended Hook, who was transported back to prison on Dec. 5, the DOC states. He is serving his time at Northern State Prison in Newark and could be staying longer than his original sentence.

The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office announced March 1 that a grand jury indicted Hook on the charge of escape. He will face a trial at a later date.

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