GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — A grant from the state Division of Parks and Forestry will allow the township to spruce up portions of Route 30 and Pomona Road following the removal of trees during a road-widening project.
Officials announced the township received $90,600 in funding through the state division’s No Net Loss Reforestation Act program.
Officials said Friday that the final agreement for the grant is being finalized in Trenton.
The state Department of Environmental Protection program requires state entities to replant trees when they are removed during development projects that are one-half acre or more.
“If you’ve seen that area, it’s kind of barren and doesn’t look really good right now. By probably next spring, we would start the work by the time we bid the project out and get through the fall. We should have a start date for planting by next March,” Township Manager Arch Liston said.
The road-widening project in which trees were removed included the installation of storm basins along Route 30 and near Pomona Road. It was completed six months ago, Liston said. The area is a redevelopment area, and the new intersection and widened roadway makes it more favorable for businesses to come to the corridor, Liston said.
Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola said he sees big things happening and vast changes coming to the area in question over the next two years. Dressing it up isn’t going to help significantly because the area needs more work than a few trees, Coppola said.
“I’m still disappointed where they put the storm basin to begin with. The state, when they widened the road, took frontage property and put basins in an area where we are trying to develop it commercially,” Coppola said.
“It’s a good amount of money and I don’t want to see all of it used there. I’d hate to see us waste the grant money and put trees there when it could be temporary and someone could come in and develop and the trees would be gone,” he said.
Liston said that if developers come to the area and remove trees that were planted under this project, they would be required to replace the trees somewhere else in the township.
Barbara Fiedler, Galloway Township director of community education, said she prepared the grant on behalf of the township and that the Task Force for a Sustainable Galloway Township will act as an advisory partner in connection with the grant.
The township received a similar grant from the same program several years ago that was used for reforestation at the Garden State Parkway entrance and the municipal complex.
Fiedler is also the chairwoman of the task force. She said the township will most likely use the majority of the funding for reforestation in the area of Route 30 and Pomona Road.
Mayor Don Purdy said he definitely wants to focus reforestation efforts in that area, but there also needs to be a focus along the White Horse Pike corridor — and not just because he has businesses in this area, he said.
“I want to get our planner involved. You go into the places in town and you get that hometown feel, and you don’t get that on the White Horse Pike,” Purdy said.
Purdy said he also has asked Liston to research grant funding to go toward installing sidewalks along the White Horse Pike because as it is now, it is not the safest place for pedestrians to walk.
“We’ve got to give Galloway a facelift. We want people who get off the parkway, who are going into Atlantic City, to turn around and say as they drive through, ‘Wow, that’s a really nice looking town’,” he said.
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