Directory

 
   

 

RICHLAND VILLAGE

Richland Village Redevelopment Project - Request for Proposals
****Richland Village Redevelopment Project - Amendment****Deadline 9/12/08
Artist's Concepts of the Richland Village Project
 

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DOWNLOADABLE RICHLAND VILLAGE BROCHURE CLICK HERE!

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Cape May Seashore Lines*NEW ****CAPE MAY SEASHORE LINES NUMBER 1-800-984-2055***

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Current Schedule by BVT and Richland Village Information Click Here

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Businesses and Attractions in Richland Village

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Trains and Fire Engines -- Sunday, June 8, 2008

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Cape May Seashore Lines Schedule Click Here

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SANTA TRAIN 2007

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Sea Breeze Lunch Service Available

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MORNING STORIES IN THE PARK

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Newspaper Articles

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Richland Village The Little Town That Could! (New Jersey Municipalities, by Chuck Chiarello, May 2007)

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A Small Town Learns to Do More with Less (New Jersey Municipalities, by Mayor Chuck Chiarello, December 2004)

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Patcong Valley Model Railroad Society 23rd Annual Open House-www.patcongvalley.com

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Video - Patcong Valley Model Railroad in Buena Vista Township, NJ

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Tuckahoe

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TrainWeb Railring

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Travel by Light - www.travelbylight.com

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A direct link to Atlantic County site - http://fivepointsinn.com/tbl/NJ/atlantic/index.htm and http://fivepointsinn.com/tbl/NJ/atlantic/Reviews/buavista.htm

 

DOWNLOADABLE RICHLAND VILLAGE BROCHURE CLICK HERE!

Sea Breeze Lunch Service Available

Affordable $8.00 meals on the 11:30 am train from Richland
and the 1:00 pm from Tuckahoe
See menu below:

 

Businesses and Attractions in Richland Village

 

Patcong Valley Society of Model Railroader

 

Video - Patcong Valley Model Railroad in Buena Vista Township, NJ

 

 

Patcong Valley Society of
Model Railroaders

 

Visit our website:

www.patcongvalley.com

The HO scale Patcong Valley Model RR Club has relocated to Richland, NJ.

Richland is on Route 40 about 10 miles west of Mays Landing, NJ

 

Our building is near milepost 38.5 on Route 40 in Richland.  We are on the south side of the highway, directly across the road from Richland Carpets.  For a web search, look for Route 40 and Fir Avenue.

 

Website: www.patcongvalley.com

Email: patcongrr@comcast.net

 

 

The Gold Spike Coffee House & Emporium

It's A Toy Store

Dennis Township - http://www.dennistwp.org/dhhoa.htm

PRESS RELEASE

FROM:            Mayor Chuck Chiarello

DATE:                        August 2, 2006 

RE:                  Train Really Returns to Richland   

They say that the third time is the charm.  So goes it with the Richland to Tuckahoe Train which officially starts this Saturday, August 5th leaving Richland at 11:30 am and leaving Tuckahoe at 10:00 am. 

“After several false starts all necessary repairs and approvals have been received so that the train can run every Saturday for the rest of the year” said Mayor Chuck Chiarello.  “It is better to have all of the problems out of the way and wait a couple of weeks and know that we have smooth sailing ahead then to worry” Chiarello added. 

Information about the train can be found on Buena Vista Township website at www.buenavistatownship.org  or Cape May Seashore Lines website at www.capemayseashorelines.org or call 609-884-CMSL (2675).  

Improvements have been made to the train station and visitors to Richland can now take a short walk and enjoy Saw Mill Park just two blocks away.  Food will be available at AJ’s Pub, Memories Lounge and the Richland Ice Cream and Deli.  Visitors can shop at the Richland General Store,  the Antique Depot and Goodstuff’s Antiques.  In the weeks to come the Wine Excursion Train will be starting and many special events are planned. 

Train fares will remain at Adults $10; Children 12 and under $5.00; and Infants 1 and under free.

Newspaper Articles

 
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State foots bill for snazzier routes to shopping areas (The Daily Journal, by Joseph P. Smith, 2/4/08)

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Buena Vista: Township backs rail line improvements (The Daily Journal, by staff reports, 12/27/07)

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The Holiday Express Area train exhibits thrill children and adults (Press of Atlantic City, by Courtney McCann, 12/20/07)

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Special event brings crowd to Richland (The Daily Journal, by staff reports, 12/1/07)

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Village starts tour to attract area shoppers (The Daily Journal, by Joseph P. Smith, 11/30/07)

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RICHLAND: Wheels on the bus stop at new shelters (The Daily Journal, by staff reports, 11/8/07)

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BUENA VISTA: Richland merchants meet tonight (The Daily Journal, by staff reports, 11/13/07)

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Richland Village merchants unite (The Daily Journal, by Kristi Funderburk, 11/12/07)

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Progress on track at Richland Village (The Daily Journal, by staff reports, 11/10/07)

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County Rail System? Adocates: $27 Million Needed. (Cape May Herald, by Jack Fichter, 11/12/04)

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Quilt maker moves shop from Shiloh to Richland (The Daily Journal, by Kristi Funderburk, 9/10/07)

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Train a boon for tourism, safety (Press of Atlantic City, Opinion, 8/21/07)

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Richland plans moving on right track (The Daily Journal, Opinion, 8/14/07)

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Buena Vista: Richland merchants unite (The Daily Journal, by Kristi Funderburk, 8/13/07)

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Officials want train service into Cape May (Press of Atlantic City, by staff writer, 8/13/07)

bullet Mayor hopes train ride sparks interest in rail line (The Daily Journal, by Kristi Funderburk, 8/11/07)
bullet Debates and trains right on schedule in Cape May County (Press of Atlantic City, by Brian Ianieri, 8/10/07)
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Love at first bite - 'This is my dream,' says owner-chef of Richland restaurant (The Daily Journal, by Fran Lo Biondo, 8/8/07)

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Officials ready for best bid to step forward (The Daily Journal, by Kristi Funderburk, 7/13/07)

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All aboard:  Village seeks marketing momentum (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 6/7/07)

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Richland Village spreads the word that it's on track (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 6/6/07)

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Richland Village The Little Town That Could! (New Jersey Municipalities, by Chuck Chiarello, May 2007)

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Richland attraction resumes trips (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 3/26/07)

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Richland Village train service resumes (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 3/25/07)

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Seashore Lines ready to ride the rails again (Press of Atlantic City, by Michael Miller, 3/23/07)

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Richland Village ready for train's return (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 3/23/07)

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All aboard! Richland Village train ready to resume service Saturday (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 3/21/07)

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Extended Richland train service delayed (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 3/14/07)

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Richland Village stays on track (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 2/19/07)

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All aboard! Richland wants to extend train service (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 2/19/07)

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DOT study offers ways to slow traffic in Richland (Press of Atlantic City, by Tom Namako, 2/6/07)

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Officials look at methods to slow traffic (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 2/6/07)

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Richland Village traffic study to be discussed (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 2/5/07)

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Model train exhibit excites young and old alike (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 12/5/06)

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Santa Express combines tourism, spirit of season (Press of Atlantic City, by Saba Ali, 12/4/06)

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Working on a model railroad: Mini-train buffs pull into Richland (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 12/1/06)

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Hit the rails with Kris Kringle this season: Richland Village offers visitors to come aboard Santa Express (The Daily Journal, by Rosalie Mayer, 11/30/06)

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Santa Express running Saturdays (Press of Atlantic City, by staff reports, 11/30/06)

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Buena Vista celebrates park's opening (The Daily Journal, by Nina Izes, 10/30/06)

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9-11 Memorial unveiled at Saw Mill Park dedication (Press of Atlantic City, by staff reports, 10/30/06)

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9/11 Memorial in Buena (Channel 40, by Frank Holland, 10/28/06)

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Woodbine backs rail excursion (Press of Atlantic City, by Michael Miller, 10/10/06)

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All aboard! Next stop...Buena? (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 10/9/06)

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Richland Village scares up excitement with festive decor (The Daily Journal, by Joel Landau, 10/4/06)

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Buena Vista turns doubters into believers (The Daily Journal, Opinion, 9/13/06)

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Richland Village project on track (The Daily Journal, by Meg Huelsman, 9/5/06)

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Hobbyist replicate railroad (Courier Post, by Pooja Shah, 8/8/06)

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Richland train service starts again Saturday (The Daily Journal, by staff reports, 8/4/06)

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Richland train arrives Saturday (Press of Atlantic City, by staff reports, 8/4/06)

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Richland-Tuckahoe train service on track (Press of Atlantic City, by staff reports, 8/3/06)

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Township accepts area amendments (The Daily Journal, by Pooja Shah, 7/22/06)

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Richland train service canceled (Press of Atlantic City, by staff reports, 7/22/06)

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Revised plans OK'd for Richland Village (Press of Atlantic City, by Tom Namako, 7/11/06)

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Model railroaders add flavor to Richland Village (The Daily Journal, by Pooja Shah, 7/10/06)

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Richland Village park a work in progress (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 4/10/06)

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Ice cream parlor, deli opens its doors ~ Gas station also ready to serve local residents (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 3/21/06)

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Park construction aims to beautify Richland (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 3/20/06)

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Richland Village plan heads to state groups (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 3/15/06)

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Former signalman excited about train's return (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 2/25/06)

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One of the last hurdles cleared for Richland Village (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 2/7/06)

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Town's redevelopment plan draws criticism (Press of Atlantic City, by Tom Namako, 2/7/06)

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Your final say on Richland tonight (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 2/6/06)

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Article Regarding Richland from Today's Courier Post (Courier Post, by Lawrence Hajna, 2/6/06)

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Buena Vista officials going above and beyond call of duty (The Daily Journal, Opinion, 2/1/06)

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Richland Village, pro and con (Press of Atlantic City, by Tom Namako, 1/27/06)

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Some residents cite development worries (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 1/27/06)

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Economic forum: No holding back growth in 2006 (The Daily Journal, 1/27/06)

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See the next phase of Richland Village this week (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 1/25/07)

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Richland Village continues property acquisitions (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 12/30/05)

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'I love this store and I love the people' Ambitious couple take over Richland General Store (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 12/26/05)

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Region Brief - Santa Express adds ride (The Daily Journal, 12/16/05)

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Special postcards, stamps mark revival (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 12/12/05)

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Train puts stamp on Richland (Press of Atlantic City, Staff Photo by Anthony Smedile, 12/11/05)

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Richland remembered on postmark (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 12/9/05)

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Buena Vista buys final piece of Richland Village puzzle (Press of Atlantic City, by Tom Namako, 11/29/05)

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Township purchases key property for Richland Village (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 11/29/05)

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Coming Soon? Park delay stems from skyrocketing bids (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 11/9/05)

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All aboard to discover local beauty and fun (The Daily Journal, by Mariell Disibio, 11/3/05)

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DOT contributes $250,000 toward Richland project (Press of Atlantic City, by Tom Namako, 10/25/05)

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Photo Gallery Richland/Tuckahoe Train opens to public (Press of Atlantic City, Photographer: Anthony Smedile, 10/15/05)

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A public departure for Seashore Line ~Richland-Tuckahoe line gets back on track (Press of Atlantic City, by Tom Namako, 10/17/05)

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Press of Atlantic City, Photo Gallery, Photographer: Anthony Smedile 10/8/05

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Hammonton man's railroad dreams on roll to reality with Seashore Lines (The Hammonton News, by Ben Merit, 10/12/05)

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Good things happening in Buena Vista (The Daily Journal, Opinion, 10/14/05)

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Imagination sparks revival of Richland (The Daily Journal, Opinion, 10/12/05)

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WELCOME TO RICHLAND! Village's tourist train officially unveiled (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 10/10/05)

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Railroad ties: Richland-Tuckahoe run opens (Press of Atlantic City, 10/9/05)

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All aboard from Richland to Tuckahoe (Press of Atlantic City, by Michael Miller, 10/8/05)

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ROUND TRIP TICKET: Village prepares for train's first visit (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 10/8/05)

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A train to run in Richland starting soon ~ Ride the rails starting Oct 15 (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 10/1/05)

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Grant helps Buena Vista build train station (Press of Atlantic City, by James Deweese, 9/23/05)

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CRDA OKs $5M. for A.C.'s All Wars Memorial Building (Press of Atlantic City, 9/21/05)

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Richland Village receives $500K in state funds (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 9/21/05)

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REVITALIZATION PLAN COMING FULL CIRCLE: Richland Village banks on casinos to bring train ( The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 9/20/05)

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Committee hopes to learn from Village study (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 7/25/05)

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If it's old, it's probably for sale at Goodstuff's: If she doesn't have it, Kate Bjoorklund will try to find it (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 7/18/05)

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Township seeks funds to help restore Village (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 7/18/05)

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Resident pack meeting to voice opinion on Richland project (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 7/1/05)

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A NEW RICHLAND EMERGES:  Optimistic public awaits opportunity to weigh in (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 6/19/05)

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All aboard? Railway line could return ~ Buena Vista mayor sees passenger service as boon to Richland Village (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 6/27/05)

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Richland dressing up the neighborhood for future tourists (Press of Atlantic City, by Jerome Montes, 6/25/05)
Buena Vista officials seek more land for Richland project (The Daily Journal, by staff reports, 6/16/05)

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Richland shows pride in its roots (The Courier-Post, by Jean Carlin, 5/31/05)

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CRDA asked to get aboard on rail service for Cape (Press of Atlantic City, by Michael Miller, 5/26/05)

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ILLUMINATING DEVELOPMENT: Progress continues for Richland Village (The Daily Journal, by Staff Reports, 5/18/05)

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Tuckahoe to Cape May: Progress, Problems (Cape May County Herald, by Christine Cote, 5/13/05)

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Angry protests erase the 'Richland Bump' (The Daily Journal, by Doug Fuhrmann, 5/9/05)

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RICHLAND VILLAGE: Buena Vista hopes for 'good things' with revitalization (The Daily Journal, by Jason Alt, 4/25/05)

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Grant enables Richland Village to move forward (The Daily Journal, by Jean Carlin, 3/22/05)

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Richland Village project receives $50K from state (The Daily Journal, by staff reports, 2/14/05)

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Commissioner Susan Bass Levin Awards Buena Vista Township $50,000 Smart Future Grant for Rehabilitation of Historic Structures (DCA Community Affairs, 2/7/05)

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Buena Vista gets $50,000 grant for Richland Village (Press of Atlantic City, by Daniel Walsh, 2/8/05)

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Buena Vista Township: Committee OKs society's building lease (The Daily Journal, by Miles Jackson, 1/20/05)

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New historical facts wanted for Richland Village (The Daily Journal, by Miles Jackson, 12/27/04)

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Ground Breaking for Richland Village ~ Press Release / Invitation

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Ground Breaking Ceremony Program

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A Small Town Learns to Do More with Less (New Jersey Municipalities, by Mayor Chuck Chiarello, December 2004)

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Homeward Bound ~ Patcong Railroaders find new home in Buena Vista
(The Press of Atlantic City, by Julia Glick, 10/28/04)

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Township hopes Route 40 plan boosts economy (The Daily Journal, by Giselle Sotelo, 7/13/04)

Cape May Seashore Lines Schedule

 

TUCKAHOE EVENTS  or visit www.tuckahoenj.com

 

Chugging Along: SJ Railroad Museum by Dan Podehl

 

 

 

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State foots bill for snazzier routes to shopping areas 2/4/08

A grant in the amount of $250,000 was awarded last week to Buena Vista. The aid will pay for sidewalks, lighting and accommodations in Richland Village.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Buena Vista: Township backs rail line improvements 12/27/07

The Township Committee will be supporting a financial aid request Conrail is making to state government.  Conrail is seeking $450,000 to do track repairs.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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The Holiday Express Area train exhibits thrill children and adults 12/20/07

For nearly 10 months out of the year, the Patcong Valley Society of Model Railroaders works in secret. Only club members with keys can access the clubhouse on Route 40 in Richland to build paper mache mountains, carve out rivers and - best of all - watch their miniature model trains speed down newly-laid tracks.

But the holidays bring out the train lover in everyone. And during these select few weekends in December and January, local model railroad clubs like Patcong Valley invite outsiders to share in their passion.

"Everyone comes to visit," says Patcong Valley member Ralph Cox. "We'll get railroad buffs from all kinds of clubs. Children who just walk around and look. Everyone."

December especially brings visions of Lionel trains running in a circle under the Christmas tree and children unwrapping their first train sets. Most local railroad buffs admit that the holidays were what started their train passions.

"I was born on Dec. 4," says Norm Wescoat, vice president of the South Jersey Railroad Museum in Tuckahoe. "I got my first train set that Christmas."

The Patcong Valley Society of Model Railroaders plans its annual open house weekends to coincide with the winter holidays. During opening weekend earlier this month, the parking lot outside the society's Richland clubhouse was overflowing. Inside, grown men wearing engineer coveralls and striped caps clutched remote controls and kept a sharp eye on the tiny trains that traveled under mountains, through tunnels and past small model cities.

Adults and children shared the same innocent look of wonder as they watched the trains chug by or stopped to examine the detail in a lifelike lumber mill. Some children brought their own stools to stand on so they could peer over the plexiglass siding and see the miniature buildings and trees in the layouts.

Timmy Stewart, 13, of Dorothy dashed back and forth across the room snapping photos with a digital camera and collecting ideas for his own train layout at home.

"I like how they got a lot of track in a little space," Stewart says, eyeing the layouts critically. "But I would put the higher tracks on the inside so people can see them."

In Clermont, Dennis Township, Joe and Flo Jones have already put a few festive touches on Flyertown, a one-man model railroad exhibit on display in a building behind their house. Inside, the flick of a lightswitch revealed wall-to-wall shelves of collectible American Flyer railroad cars dating back to to World War II and beyond. In the center of the room, brightly colored holiday trains, circus trains and replicas of local lines ran along hundreds of feet of track, waiting for the December crowd.

"The same kids come every year," Flo Jones says. "And every year they get bigger and bigger."

The South Jersey Railroad Museum in Tuckahoe - which is open year-round - has also adopted a holiday feel. Strings of lights, a snow-covered holiday train layout and Santa Claus give this year-round train attraction a holiday feel and visitors young and old tour the building.

Luke Neff, 5, wandered from room to room with the air of one who has been there many times before. This was not just a holiday treat for the five-year-old Seaville resident. He drags his parents to the museum at least twice a month.

"His grandfather was really into train collecting, and he left them to Luke," Paula Neff says as her son strolled through the museum. "Now that's all he's into is trains."

Perhaps there are adult-sized coveralls in his future as well.

Model Railroad Attractions

Cape May County

South Jersey Railroad Museum, Mt. Pleasant Ave., Tuckerton. Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday year-round. Santa Claus will be there each weekend until Christmas. Free. For more information, go to www.sjrails.net.

Flyertown, Route 9, Clermont in Dennis Township. Open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday year-round. Admission is $2.50 for adults, $1.50 for children ages 5 to 12, and free for children under 5. Visit

 

 

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Special event brings crowd to Richland  12/1/07

Friday night The Richland Merchants Association held their Richland Village Christmas Shops Tour that brought crowds to their local stores.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Village starts tour to attract area shoppers 11/30/07

The Richland Village Merchants Association will be holding their first Richland Village Christmas Shops Tour tonight. 

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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RICHLAND: Wheels on the bus stop at new shelters11/8/07

New bus shelters have been installed for NJ Transit riders on either side of Harding Highway.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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BUENA VISTA: Richland merchants meet tonight 11/13/07

The Richland Merchants Association meet to discuss the Richland Village Shops Christmas Tour. The event will be held on November 30th from 6 pm to 10 pm.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Richland Village merchants unite  11/12/07

The Richland Village Merchants Association is trying to attract more customers to the community.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Progress on track at Richland Village 11/10/07

Main Avenue was closed this week due to a siding track being built along side the existing rail line. 

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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County Rail System? Adocates: $27 Million Needed.  11/12/04

COLD SPRING — If you sit on a bench at Cold Spring Railroad Station and wait for the next train, a cobweb could grow between your head and a post before the next one arrives.

The rails are getting a bit rusty. No longer is the rumble of a diesel locomotive heard or a whistle at a Bennett’s Crossing or in Cape May.

No trains were run all summer by Cape May Seashore Lines on the Cape May to Court House section due to poor track condition. The railroad flourishes at the far end of the tracks, operating trains from Tuckahoe to Richland in Atlantic County.

The dream of the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers (NJARP) and others is for the state to appropriate $27 million to replace railroad ties from Cape May to Tuckahoe, some sections of rail, tighten about 39,000 bolts, upgrade ballast under tracks with 43,000 tons of clean stone and complete repairs on four bridges. A total of $1.8 million would be spent on the movable bridge that crosses the Cape May Canal.

A report from NJARP includes input from Mayor Chuck Chiarello of Buena Vista Township, Mayor William Pikolycky of Woodbine and Dennis Township Administrator Jody Alessandrine, according to Paul Mulligan, Cape May Branch liaison for NJARP.

The tracks are owned by New Jersey Transit (NJT) and leased to Cape May Seashore Lines from Cape May to Tuckahoe with track rights provided from Richland to Tuckahoe. Interestingly enough, NJT has granted track rights to Cape May Seashore Lines to Winslow Junction, which connects to Philadelphia.

The track project would employ 18 to 20 personnel on a daily basis from 16 to 24 months, according to the study. When finished, 42 miles of good track would exist from Cape May to Richland and a trip that could be made one-way in about 90 minutes.

A track washout in Dennisville that occurred due to the April 15 nor’easter has kept trains from running on the Cape May branch since all locomotives are currently trapped on the north side of the problem area.

In addition, 8.6 miles of track are out of service from the 4H Fairgrounds in Court House to Woodbine, where all 30,000 railroad ties are beyond their service life.

From 4H to Cape May, about 15,500 ties have been replaced of a needed 50,000.

To repair just the section from Cape May to Court House, 13 miles, would cost $7 million and from Court House to Woodbine, 10 miles, is priced at $14 million.

For repairs on the canal bridge and the Woodbine to Tuckahoe section, 5 miles, is estimated at $7 million.

Mulligan sees advantages to restoring the entire rail line including possible park-and-ride service for car-choked Cape May and a station stop in Rio Grande that could provide transportation for visitors or employees from the Wildwoods by connecting the train to the Five Mile Trolley.
He projects a train from Richland to Cape May running on weekends 10 months per year. Another train would operate from Rio Grande to Cape May on a daily basis about 10 weeks of the year.

Mulligan said Cape May could benefit from the restored tracks because the train would put visitors in the city for four hours before the return train.

Restoration of the full line could bring in more tourists from the Richland Station, which is only 35 minutes from Philadelphia, 45 to 50 minutes from the Delaware Memorial Bridge and an hour and 10 minutes from Trenton, said Mulligan.
He said every railroad tie does not need to be brand new but the “youngest” ties between Court House and Woodbine are 35 years old with the average tie at 50 years old. The life expectancy of a tie is about 25 years, he said.

In the world of transportation, $27 million is not a huge sum of money, said Mulligan
“New Jersey Transit has capital budget every year of $1.5 billion,” he said. “New Jersey DOT which includes New Jersey Transit has a capital budget in excess of $3 billion every year.”

He said the project would need a push from our local assemblymen and senator.
“We have to show the executive branch in Trenton this is valuable to the economy of this region, a region that doesn’t get its fair share of transportation projects,” said Mulligan.

Motorists pay a gasoline tax, which funds transportation projects.

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A Christmas tradition continues with the arrival of THE SANTA EXPRESS!

Ride the Cape May Seashore Lines on a comfortable, relaxing and fun train ride with Santa Claus! Kids...bring your letters to Santa! Parents...bring your cameras! It's Christmas Holiday fun for the entire family!

For THE SANTA EXPRESS

SATURDAYS
November 17, 24 and
December 1, 8, 15 and 22
Santa will be on every train.

Reservations for THE SANTA EXPRESS are not required and seating is on a first come basis only.

Cape May Seashore Lines

The Santa Express

 

The Santa Express train runs from

Richland to Tuckahoe every Saturday

starting November 17th through December 22nd.

 

Four trains every day:

 

11:00 am

1:30 pm

3:30 pm

5:30 pm – is only a one way train to Tuckahoe

 

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Quilt maker moves shop from Shiloh to Richland 9/10/07

Anna Stevens opened her store in Richland Village called Shiloh's Arts and Crafts about four months ago.

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Train a boon for tourism, safety 8/21/07

(Published: August 21, 2007)

Regarding the Aug. 11 story "More train service the ticket":

Restoration of rail services to Cape May is a logical next step to meet the growing demands for mobility in southern New Jersey. As your article correctly notes, significant benefits to the southern New Jersey tourism industry will be realized as a direct result of this restoration project.

Rail operator Cape May Seashore Lines has already demonstrated the potential benefit and opportunity associated with rail service operations. Even with limited (by distance) service offering, Cape May Seashore Lines accommodated more than 16,000 riders to and from Cape May in 2005. Completing restoration of the Cape May line to enable direct service from Cape May to Tuckahoe (and intermediate points) will add significantly to this ridership profile.

Not mentioned in your article is the direct relationship between mobility and public safety. If a Katrina-like event were to occur in southern New Jersey during the peak season, a fully functional Cape May line could prove to be a very critical element in conducting time-sensitive evacuation operations. Such evacuation operations could leverage both equipment and personnel from across the NJ Transit rail system, including the Atlantic City Line.

NJ Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles is to be commended for his willingness to gain a first-hand understanding of this matter. Now is the time for state leadership at all levels to engage in finding a way to move forward with this very important project.

ROBERT C. REGENSBURGER

Ocean City

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Richland plans moving on right track  8/14/07

Frank and Dolores Comparri have started a group called Richland Village Merchants' Association.  This group is of businesspeople united in the goal of bringing more customer traffic into the village. For more information call 856-697-1482 or email mee907@aaol.com.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Buena Vista: Richland merchants unite  8/13/07

To help boost patronage in the town of Richland Village the businesses have created "The Richland Village Merchants' Association". 

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Officials want train service into Cape May 8/13/07

Inside the historic Tuckahoe train station, public officials on Friday afternoon pitched NJ Transit for $27 million in track repairs for an excursion line from Richland to Cape May.

More than a dozen elected officials from Cape May and Atlantic counties took a ceremonious train ride on the Cape May Seashore Lines to meet NJ Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles in Tuckahoe.

Meanwhile, inside a white Ford Explorer at the station parking lot, two Middle Township officials made their own pitch to Sarles, one with a significantly different tone.

They showed him photographs of decrepit trains and asked him to forgo any possible funding until Cape May Seashore Lines moves vandalized trains from tracks in Rio Grande.

The trains have been a sore spot for Middle Township officials for several years.

The concept of sweeping passenger railroad coverage down the shore has excited some southern New Jersey officials who want to increase tourism without increasing traffic jams and parking nightmares.

“There is a real interest to build this rail line,” Buena Vista Township Mayor Chuck Chiarello said inside the quaint Tuckahoe train station. “The infrastructure is around here. We’re just looking for the missing link.”

The tracks run from Richland to Tuckahoe through Woodbine down to Cape May Court House and Cold Spring, terminating in Cape May.

But Cape May Seashore Lines owner Tony Macrie has been in a contentious relationship with Middle Township officials for years about vandalized trains stored on the tracks along Route 47 in Rio Grande.

Middle Township Solicitor James Pickering said the township did not want to stop rail line improvements, but wanted its issues addressed.

He and former Mayor Michael Voll, a vocal opponent of the trains in Rio Grande, met with Sarles before officials gathered in the Tuckahoe train station.

In March, Middle Township Committee even passed a resolution requesting it be notified of any federal, state or county government funding requests by Seashore Lines.

Officials estimate about $27 million is needed to repair train tracks, particularly those between Woodbine and Cape May Court House.

Dennis Township is seeking federal funding for a train station to be built in Dennisville, Dennis Township Administrator Jody Alessandrine said. Also needed, he said, is about $6 million in infrastructure for the tracks in the township.

This week, the state Department of Community Affairs announced it is lending $435,000 to Woodbine for track repairs, a parking lot and a new rail platform for the Cape May Seashore Lines excursion.

Chiarello sees a boon to the communities and businesses located alongside the tracks. He objected to the way Middle Township officials approached Sarles at the event Friday.

“Obviously we had a group of 25 folks that were there for the betterment of the project,” he said. “That was our mission today. I was a little blindsided, and I think it was inappropriate for Mike Voll to use that opportunity to bring up an issue that’s totally unrelated to that project we’re working on. “It was more of an embarrassment. I felt it was an embarrassment to Middle Township to attempt to become a spoiler to what otherwise was a positive day.”

Meanwhile, Middle Township will probably start citing and fining Cape May Seashore Lines shortly for trains stored in Rio Grande, said Township Administrator James Alexis, who did not attend Friday’s event.

“It’s literally come to a boiling point with the residents affected by the sight of the cars and the level of deterioration they’ve reached, and we feel we’re not getting the cooperation of the rail operator,” Alexis said.

Township officials said they are concerned about the unsightly trains and the criminal element attracted to them after dark.

Township officials have said that, despite being assured the trains would be relocated, they have remained unmoved for several years.

Macrie said he is being vilified for an issue beyond his control.

The trains were in pristine condition when he first stored them in Rio Grande but have fallen victim to serious damage and vandalism, he said.

The trains are sprayed with graffiti, windows are cracked and doors are missing.

Macrie said moving the trains now requires fixing damage done to the tracks following storms in April.

“If you owned a car and someone was vandalizing it, and you had the opportunity to move it, wouldn’t you move it?” Macrie said Friday. “We’re a small company. We’re not a gigantic operation.”

“Look at the stuff here,” Macrie said, pointing to the shiny silver and black trains on the tracks in Tuckahoe. “This is the way it looked when we placed it there.”

Meanwhile, the trains can be a lure for tourism, history and transportation, he said. In 2005, about 16,000 people took the train in and out of Cape May, he said.

“Our position is, here we would love to see mass transit coming into Cape May. We have significant traffic and parking problems,” said Lou Corea, Cape May City manager.

The train had run into Cape May previously but has not done so recently due to bridge repairs over the Cape May Canal, Corea said.

Inside the train station, Sarles told officials gathered that the project was on his radar, but that there were many other priorities in New Jersey as well. He stressed that federally earmarked money could move the project along.

Chiarello said he found the meeting encouraging

The large scale of the project could be done in pieces over several years.

“We can get this done, town by town, section by section. Rome wasn’t built in a day,” he said.

On Friday, Voll and Pickering’s presence and statements on Friday irked some who had gathered to pitch NJ Transit for funding.

After Sarles left, Voll and Pickering were arguing with Paul Mulligan, of the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers.

“You guys have a lot of nerve,” Mulligan said inside the train station, adding their statements could hurt the recent funding requests.

“If you think they’re going to give that guy (Macrie) $27 million,” Voll yelled, “you must believe in the Easter Bunny.

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Mayor hopes train ride sparks interest in rail line 8/11/07

30 representatives of Cape May, Woodbine and Weymouth were welcomed by Mayor Chuck Chiarello on an afternoon train excursion on Friday.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Debates and trains right on schedule in Cape May County 8/10/07


 
Former Middle Township mayor Michael Voll, (left) talks with Cape May Seashore Lines owner Tony Macrie about the graffiti covered trains in Rio Grande. Middle Township solicitor James Pickering (center) listens in. Local officials took a ride on the Richland-Tuckahoe rail excursion Friday Aug. 10, 2007, to persuade New Jersey Transit about the benefits of restoring rail service down the spine of Cape May County. Cape May Seashore Lines runs two small excursions in the northern and southern ends of the county. Officials in various Atlantic and Cape May County towns say service from Buena Vista Township to Cape May would help tourism and industry.
PRESS OF ATLANTIC CITY PHOTO / DALE GERHARD

 

6 p.m. Update - Inside the historic Tuckahoe train station, public officials on Friday afternoon made their pitch to NJ Transit to fund up to $27 million in improvements to railroad tracks from Richland to Cape May.

Ten minutes earlier inside a white Ford Explorer, two Middle Township officials made their own pitch to NJ Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles, asking him to forgo funding until Cape May Seashore Lines moves vandalized trains from tracks in Rio Grande.

The concept of sweeping passenger railroad coverage down the shore has excited some local officials who see the desire to increase tourism without increasing traffic jams and parking nightmares.

“There is a real interest to build this trail line,” Buena Vista Township Mayor Chuck Chiarello said inside the quaint Tuckahoe train station.

But in Middle Township, Cape May Seashore Lines owner Tony Macrie has been in a contentious relationship with Middle Township officials for years about trains stored on the tracks along Route 47 in Rio Grande.

In March, Middle Township Committee passed a resolution requesting it be notified of any federal, state or county government funding requests by Seashore Lines.

Middle Township Solicitor James Pickering said the township did not want to stop a rail line, but wanted its issues addressed.

Inside the train station, an argument ensued between former Middle Township Mayor Michael Voll and Paul Mulligan, of the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers.

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Love at first bite - 'This is my dream,' says owner-chef of Richland restaurant 8/8/07

Chef John Hoover opened his new restaurant The Richland House in Richland Village on 1303 Harding Highway the former site of AJ's Pub and Brassie's Place near the railroad tracks in Richland.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Officials ready for best bid to step forward 7/13/07

The redevelopment of Richland Village pre-bid conference was held yesterday. Only two interested parties showed up but township officials are pleased with the response.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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All aboard:  Village seeks marketing momentum 6/7/07

About a dozen travel writers and editors representing magazines and newspapers across the country and Canada came Wednesday to ride the train in Richland.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Richland Village spreads the word that it's on track 6/6/07

A group of travel writers will tour sites in Richland Village and take the train to Tuckahoe.

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Richland Village The Little Town That Could! May 2007

Download Article - Richland Village The Little Town That Could!


 


 


 

 

 

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Richland attraction resumes trips 3/26/07

The 2007 tourist train season began over the weekend in Richland Village.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Richland Village train service resumes  3/25/07

The 2007 tourist train season began over the weekend in Richland Village.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Seashore Lines ready to ride the rails again 3/23/07

UPPER TOWNSHIP — A Cape May County railroad excursion is launching its third season Saturday, and merchants in Tuckahoe said they couldn't be happier.

Cape May Seashore Lines is living up to its promise to boost business in this sleepy river town.

“It's slow coming, but it has improved our train museum and our membership,” said David Levari, president of the Greater Tuckahoe Area Merchants Association. “The town looks better.”

The 40-minute ride between Tuckahoe and Richland is popular, especially in the winter when it becomes the Santa Express, owner Tony Macrie said. Taking a cue from that success, the train will host the Easter Bunny this spring.

“We had 5,000 people ride between August and December. That's just 20 operating days,” Macrie said. “I think it's had a positive impact.”

On Thursday, Macrie and his crew tinkered with one of their engines in preparation for Saturday's first ride. On tracks nearby, the gleaming silver cars of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus train sat idle. And in the distance, the horn of an oil train bellowed on its way to the B.L. England power plant in Beesleys Point.

Cape May Seashore Lines has partnered with Levari's Station House banquet hall for train-themed weddings. One last week brought 160 people to a reception in Tuckahoe. Another 210 people participated in a Station House fundraiser dinner and ride.

Levari said the biggest challenge for the Greater Tuckahoe Area Merchants Association is attracting more merchants to Tuckahoe. He counts just 54 members. But Levari said he sees the train playing a bigger role in developing Cape May County tourism.

He jokingly said the excursion goes “from nowhere to absolutely nowhere.” But if the line were extended from Tuckahoe all the way to Cape May as originally conceived, it would be a huge draw, Levari said.

A separate Cape May Seashore Lines excursion runs between Cape May Court House and Cape May. But the tracks between Woodbine and Cape May Court House are in need of major repairs.

“When I heard it was going to Richland, I couldn't believe it. It's going the wrong way,” Levari said.

Many riders venture into the two train museums in Richland and Tuckahoe. Levari said the excursion has boosted attendance twenty-fold at the Tuckahoe museum operated by the Shoreline Railroad Historical Society.

And in Richland, the Patcong Valley Model Railroaders opened a museum off Route 40 with scale models.

In Tuckahoe, kayakers paddle the gentle Tuckahoe River and a steady stream of traffic zooms by on Route 50. The railroad is by far the biggest tourism draw.

“We get patrons here who ride the trains on Saturday,” said Mark Bluth, who owns Tuckahoe Junction Deli. “It can't hurt.”

Upper Township Mayor Richard Palombo said he has taken the excursion to Richland.

“It's an interesting trip with nice scenery,” he said.

But he thinks of the railroad in terms of transportation. In an emergency, the train could help evacuate people without clogging jammed highways.

But for most riders of this excursion, the train is the destination.

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Richland Village ready for train's return  3/23/07

On Saturday, March 24th the Cape May Seashore Lines Train will be ready to offer three trips to Tuckahoe every Saturday for the rest of the year.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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All aboard! Richland Village train ready to resume service Saturday 3/21/07

The Richland Village to Tuckahoe Train is officially a go for this weekend the 24th.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Extended Richland train service delayed 3/14/07

The Township received three bids on hiring a contractor to construct a siding in Richland.  The Township rejected all of them.  The Township Engineer will make some changes and plans to rebid the project later this week or early next week.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Richland Village stays on track 2/19/07

Four new businesses will be opening in the Richland Village area.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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All aboard! Richland wants to extend train service  2/19/07

Buena Vista is preparing to hire a contractor who will build a 1,660 feet siding for Richland Village.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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DOT study offers ways to slow traffic in Richland  2/6/07

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP — There is a way to calm traffic zooming through Richland Village — let drivers know they are in a commercial zone.

The state Department of Transportation presented the draft of a traffic study factoring in the anticipated development in Richland at Monday night's Township Committee work session meeting.

Mayor Chuck Chiarello's vision for the Richland Village project includes a small, quaint area with niche shops, parks and eateries. But for that to happen, the study said, traffic on Route 40 — which spans across the nation and handles both local and long-distance drivers — has to be calmed considerably.

Some of the most dramatic suggestions included a street network in the village instead of large parking areas, making a 120-foot roundabout at the Route 40 and Cedar Avenue intersection and removing the traffic light there, and installing a sign and landscaped medians near Godstuff's Antiques on the village's east end.

Those two points are considered the western and eastern gateways into the Richland Village redevelopment project — and if people know they're in a growing commercial zone, they're more willing to slow down, said Dave Cox a consultant for the DOT.

Cox said roundabout, unlike circles, has signage and other means to slow drivers down.

The DOT agreed to do the study without cost to the township. In about a month, a final draft will be considered and commented on by committee members.

Interviews with about 35 residents showed that fast driving, speed limit enforcement and reducing the limit from 45 mph to 35 mph were some of the biggest concerns for the new village.

Cox said the roundabout would force drivers to slow to about 15 miles per hour. “When drivers see farther down the road, they'll try to beat a traffic signal. That promotes high speeds.”

Committeeman Peter Bylone asked about congestion during summer months, when drivers would be heading for the shore points. Cox said the circular area would allow drivers to move through the area smoothly and safely.

“The roundabout will tell drivers how to behave at the intersection,” said Cox. “Statistics show they are much safer and safer for pedestrians.”

Average speeds taken during the study clocked in at about 58 miles per hour, 13 miles per hour over the limit, the draft study said. Over 50 percent of the route users are local, statistics show.

Who would pay for all these possible changes, though, hasn't determined yet.

“We haven't thought about it,” said Cox. It's a state highway on the federal system, and it should be eligible for federal funding.”

Chiarello asked if state aid would be available. Cox said it would, and that cost estimates would be available soon.

“If you like parts of the plan, and you want to implement it, then put it in the plan and fight the battles later,” Cox said. “Not all these things are as equally doable.

Another main aspect of the plan was parking considerations. The DOT's draft document recommended that there be a network of streets in the village instead of the large parking lots suggested by the project developer, the Karabashain Group.

 

“In their plan there's a lot of walking needed to get around,” said DOT consultant Erika Rush. “But with ours, a lot of people with children who are visiting on a Saturday might not want to walk as much.”

The DOT's suggestions would increase the number of spots by about 30 or 50.

There's also a need to make the route more pedestrian friendly, Rush said. Even though there's only been one accident involving a pedestrian on Route 40, according to statistics, it's still a suggested improvement among residents.

To fix that, the draft study suggested reducing the four-lane sections of Route 40 to three lanes — with a center aisle for turning. That would encourage slower driving and allow people to walk to the shops or get their mail, Rush said.

Cox also proposed extending Smith Avenue to run parallel to Route 40, offering an alternative if the road gets busy.

Committee members were generally pleased with the plans, with some suggestions.

“There still needs to be something that grinds them to a halt on the eastern gateway,” Chiarello said.

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Officials look at methods to slow traffic 2/6/07

Representatives from Urban Engineers Inc. in Pennsauken presented the township committee with an initial traffic study with option to slow motorists in Richland Village to the benefit of local businesses and pedestrians.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Richland Village traffic study to be discussed 2/5/07

The Township Committee plans to discuss a traffic calming study it developed with the NJ DOT.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Model train exhibit excites young and old alike 12/5/06

Hundreds of people attended the Patcong Valley Model Railroad Society's new exhibit on Sunday.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Santa Express combines tourism, spirit of season 12/4/06

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP — All aboard the Santa Express for anyone who wants to hand-deliver a letter to Santa Claus this year.

The train, reminiscent of the locomotives of the late 1940s, runs every Saturday from now until the end of December from Richland Village in Buena Vista Township to the Tuckahoe train station.

It is one of many specialty trips Cape May Sea Shore Lines is offering to boost tourism for the fading towns the train passes along the way, Mayor Chuck Chiarello said.

This Saturday, most of the trips were booked solid on the vintage train that holds as many as 300 people, many of them children, parents and grandparents, he said.

“It's all about fun, family. It's about history, nostalgia, Christmas and much, much more,” said Tony Macrie, president of Cape May Sea Shore Lines.

Cape May Sea Shore Lines has built a collection of vintage train cars from 1926 to 1955, which run on the tracks from Richland to Tuckahoe and from Cape May Court House to Cape May.

Macrie said his company has collected several the cars that used to actually work in New Jersey.

“We didn't just want it to be another train excursion trip, it had to be something more,” he said.

And while the Santa Express is not a new idea, Cape May Sea Shore Lines brings a little bit of history to the experience.

The company is also in the process of securing funding for repair work on 10 miles of track between the two lines to make it one continuous line, Macrie said.

Chiarello said the popularity of the Santa Express shows the demand for this type of family entertainment. And it would be a great way for tourists to travel to Cape May without having to worry about cars, parking and gas prices, he said.

These vintage trains are not built like commuters trains to pack in as many people as possible — they're built for comfort, Chiarello said.

“The ride is so very smooth that it's like riding in a Cadillac,” he said.

He also said it's not just about the train, but about being able to see all the towns along the track. The train gives them a chance for revival, he said.

But Chiarello says the best part of the ride is Santa.

“He's done such a good job, it's like he's the real McCoy,” he said.

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Working on a model railroad: Mini-train buffs pull into Richland 12/1/06

The Patcong Valley Society of Model Railroaders will hold an open house on Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3. 

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Hit the rails with Kris Kringle this season: Richland Village offers visitors to come aboard Santa Express 11/30/06

Come ride the Santa Express Train in Richland.  Santa will stroll through the train cars which are decorated for the holidays.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Santa Express running Saturdays 11/30/06

UPPER TOWNSHIP — The Santa Express will be making runs between Richland and Tuckahoe every Saturday in December.

Children can hand-deliver their letters to Santa on this ride between Atlantic and Cape May counties with Cape May Seashore Lines. The route goes back and forth from the historic Tuckahoe train station to Richland in Buena Vista Township.

On Saturday, former Absecon resident and author Michael Dutton will sign copies of his holiday-themed novel, “Christmasville,” at the South Jersey Railroad Museum in Tuckahoe.

Dutton, a former casino employee and graduate of the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, said the book is about a model train display with a yuletide theme in which the characters come to life.

He will sign books from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the museum, 1721 Mount Pleasant Road, just off Route 50.

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Buena Vista celebrates park's opening 10/30/06

On Saturday a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in the Township's new Saw Mill Park in Richland Village.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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9-11 Memorial unveiled at Saw Mill Park dedication 10/30/06

A 9-11 Memorial was held prior to a ceremony to dedicate Saw Mill Park on Saturday in Richland.

After officials and survivors of the victims of the 9-11 attack attended the ceremonies.

The memorial is localed beneath the large flagpole in the park.

The park is part of Richland Village, which has completed phase one and is now into phase two with the dedication of the park.

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9/11 Memorial in Buena 10/28/06

BUENA VISTA TWP- A reminder of what was lost and the sacrifices that were made.
On Saturday at Saw Mill Park, in a ceremony attended by the families of victims, veterans and first responders; Buena Vista Township dedicated its 9/11 memorial.

"To remember the goodness of the human spirit of Americans, the firefighters, the police, just the average people that went back in," said assemblyman Jeff Van Drew.

Vineland resident Robert Adams lost his son Donald in the attacks. He says having this monument so near means the world to his family.

"It’s meaningful to us. We get comfort out of that," said Adams.

Flying above the memorial was a flag biked from ground zero to raise money for the monument by al Stebbins a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 152.
Stebbins and the union worked on the project for the last two years and today his flag became a part of the monument after a special folding ceremony by the National Guard.

Stebbins says while making the 148-mile bike ride, he had only one thing in mind.

"To make the next generation remember what happened on 9/11 and instill in them not the take freedom for granted everything comes with a cost," said Stebbins.

The gray granite stone reads always remember 9/11 and depicts the two World Trade Center towers.
It’s placed just off Harding Highway where city officials hope it will touch the lives of the thousands that drive and walk by.

"I think they'll stop I think people will come over and spend a few minutes here they might not other wise, said Mayor Chuck Chiarello.

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Woodbine backs rail excursion 10/10/06

WOODBINE — Woodbine as tourist attraction?

That's what Mayor William Pikolycky envisions for this tiny Pinelands borough with a proposed extension of the Cape May Seashore Lines railroad excursion.

The borough has applied for a $550,000 tourism grant from the state Department of Community Affairs to build a railroad station off Route 550. The borough also is asking the state Department of Transportation for $1.1 million for repairs to about a quarter-mile of track.

Tony Macrie, the president and general manager of Cape May Seashore Lines, said Woodbine would be an extended stop on a current excursion between Richland In Buena Vista Township and Tuckahoe in Upper Township.

It's a popular route, particularly with bicyclists, he said.

“We're adding a special car on every train to accommodate bicycles,” he said. “That will open the door to bicycling.”

Visitors to a rail station in Woodbine will need one. At the moment, plans call for the station to be built on the perimeter of the Woodbine Municipal Airport in a patch of pine woods on the outskirts of town, more than a mile from the center of town and the town's biggest attraction — the Sam Azeez Museum of Woodbine Heritage. Another attraction, Belleplain State Forest, is even farther away.

Pikolycky said people could begin their train trip in Woodbine and make stops in Tuckahoe and Richland.

First, Macrie needs to repair about 1,400 feet of track south of the Route 550 trestle to the as-yet-unbuilt station. The tracks are in bad shape. They have not been replaced since 1979, he said.

While Macrie's excursion to Cape May is mostly seasonal, he envisions year-round trips on the Woodbine route to Richland.

Macrie said the train is attraction enough, especially with older passengers who are nostalgic about train travel.

“You talk about ecotourism. It's not just about the shore,” Pikolycky said.

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All aboard! Next stop...Buena?10/9/06

Mayor Baruffi of Buena Borough arranged for the Southern Railroad Co of New Jersey to show a display of old trains at their Buena Day celebration.  Last year in Buena Vista a tourist rail line was established for the town's revitalization project.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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 Richland Village scares up excitement with festive decor 10/4/06

Richland Village on Route 40 are having a scarecrow contest.  Fifteen frames were rented and people had a week to dress them and put them up. 

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Buena Vista turns doubters into believers  9/13/06

Since the Pinelands Commission okayed the Richland Village redevelopment zone the vision of Richland Village got a step closed to becoming a reality.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Richland Village project on track  9/5/06

Pinelands Commission should make final determination on Friday on the proposal designed to transform Route 40 into a tourist destination.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Hobbyist replicate railroad 8/8/06

Photos by DONGJIN CHOI/Gannett New Jersey
Lou Godbold of Absecon works on the Patcong Valley Model Railroad recently at
Richland Village. The project will take two to three years, but his group plans to have at least half of it operational by Christmas.

IF YOU GO
 

The auction will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Allen Auction Services, 231 Landing St., Vincentown.

The Patcong Valley Model Railroaders are building a replication of the 1945-55 era of trains.

 

DONGJIN CHOI/Gannett New Jersey
Ernest Katten of Somers Point and Michael Mosher of Millville discuss the electrical aspects of Patcong Valley Model Railroad.

Joe Natale spent his childhood on the trains.

His grandfather worked on them, often bringing Natale's father along on the rides.

His father, who later became a grand engineer on the Reading Railroad from Camden to Atlantic City, would always bring Natale along, too.

Now a chemical engineer, Natale serves as president of Patcong Valley Model Railroaders, the newest residents of Richland Village.

"I guess the love for the railroad just runs in my blood," Natale said. "I think that's true for most of the members in our club."

Patcong Valley Model Railroaders, a group of 25 members from across South Jersey who are interested in replicating HO-scale trains, moved last summer into Richland Village, a section of Buena Vista Township in northwest Atlantic County.

They have started working on the first half of an 80-by-40-foot model replicating the 1945-55 era of trains in North Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and western New York.

They are working to capture the transition from old steam engines to diesel locomotives.

"We really want to stick with the East Coast and create something that people would recognize," Natale said. "We'll have big landmarks that people know, like the Altoona Horseshoe Curve, and we'll have local connections like a small part dedicated to Richland Village."

The model, which will hold 12 to 15 trains, will require at least 10 people to operate. It also will include a coal mine, docking area, freight station and several loading areas.

The entire project will take two to three years, but the railroaders hope to get at least half of it operational by Christmas.

The railroaders, some of whom contribute about 15 hours per week to the project, include electricians who do wiring, artists who create scenery, and structural engineers who build the trains and design layouts.

"Even after you get old, you still get to be a little kid," said Herb Scheufele, secretary of the club. "You still get to play with toys. That's what working with model trains is like."

Patcong Valley Model Railroaders will be open to the public for special events throughout the year. It's one piece of a larger effort to revitalize a stretch of Route 40 in Richland.

"What we are trying to do in Richland Village is pay homage to our railroad heritage while creating a unique place that will draw people from far away," Mayor Chuck Chiarello said. "We don't want something that every town has; we're creating a place where people might want to take a train ride to, visit the stores, eat a meal, visit the park and really enjoy."

"It's a work in progress," he added. "We have a million things left to do, but we're headed in the right direction. Our main priority is to keep the flavor of the old times and stay true to our railroad theme."

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Richland train service starts again Saturday 8/4/06

The Cape May Seashore Lines train service is expected to return on Saturday, August 5th.  The train is scheduled to leave Tuckahoe at 10 am and Richland at 11:30 am.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Richland train arrives Saturday  8/4/06

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP — The Richland to Tuckahoe train will begin Saturday service for the rest of the year this weekend after holdups delayed the service twice before.

The train will leave Tuckahoe at 10 a.m. and will depart from Richland at 11:30 a.m.

The delays were mostly due to repairs.

“It is better to have all the problems out of the way and wait a couple of weeks and know that we have smooth sailing ahead than to worry,” said Buena Vista Township Mayor Chuck Chiarello.

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Saw Mill Park, located near the train station, is now open to the public, along with several antique shops and restaurants. Adult fares are $10, children 12 and under are $5 and infants are free.

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Richland-Tuckahoe train service on track  8/3/06

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP — The Richland to Tuckahoe train will begin Saturday service for the rest of the year this weekend after holdups delayed the service twice before.

The train will leave Tuckahoe at 10 a.m. and will depart from Richland at 11:30 a.m.

The delays were mostly due to repairs.

“It is better to have all the problems out of the way and wait a couple of weeks and know that we have smooth sailing ahead then to worry,” said Buena Vista Township Mayor Chuck Chiarello.

 

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Saw Mill Park, located near the train station, is now open to the public, along with several antique shops and restaurants. Adult fares are $10, children 12 and under are $5 and infants are free.

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Township accepts area amendments 7/22/06

The Township Committee has accepted Pinelands Commission amendments to the Richland Village revitalization project.  The amendments are designed to protect land during the redevelopment process.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com

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Richland train service canceled 7/22/06

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP — Richland Village train service for July 22 has been canceled, Mayor Chuck Chiarello said in a press release Friday.

The train service will begin July 29.

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Revised plans OK'd for Richland Village  7/11/06


BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP — The Planning Board and Township Council each approved revised versions of the Richland Village redevelopment plan Monday night after some changes were made by the Pinelands Commission.

Two required public hearings were also held as part of the voting. More than a dozen people attended the first hearing, but no one made any comments on the plans during the second meeting. In past cases, most comments about the project have been supportive, although there are a number of people who have persistently opposed any type of development in the area.

Mayor Chuck Chiarello said the township has reviewed the commission's recommendations.

“We're in support of them,” he said, noting that they shouldn't affect any businesses the township hoped to attract.

The plans will now be forwarded to a Pinelands Commission subcommittee and eventually to the commissioner. They could be approved by August, Chiarello said, and another public hearing will be held.

Two main suggestions from the Pineland Commission involved removing 10 acres from a 54-acre lot the township owns because of an overlap with wetlands, according to Melissa Baker, the senior project manager from the Karabashian Planning Group.

Also affected are any developed areas less than 10 acres, which would have to conform to much more strict zoning regulations.

“That's the township and Pineland's way of preventing piecemeal properties being developed,” she said.

During the past few months, more than $2 million in grants have been collected for the Richland redevelopment project. Streetlights and a new sidewalk also have been constructed in the heart of the area, which will have a railroad theme.

Construction began this week for the Patcong model railroad building, which is in need of renovations that total about $150,000, Chiarello said. And next month, Saw Mill Park will open, which features a caboose and locomotive-themed playground.

The Seashore train line will also begin running to Tuckahoe each Saturday beginning July 22 until the end of the year.

To e-mail Tom Namako at The Press:

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Model railroaders add flavor to Richland Village 7/10/06

The Patcong Valley Model Railroaders moved to Richland Village last July.  The entire model, which will hold 12 to 15 trains will require at least 10 people to operate.  The group hopes to get at least half of the model operational by Christmastime.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Richland Village park a work in progress 4/10/06

Buena Vista Camping World donated a 75-year old caboose to the Buena Vista Township new Saw Mill Park located on Route 54.  Battelini Towing of Landisville moved the caboose from the Camping World to the Park free of charge.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Ice cream parlor, deli opens its doors ~ Gas station also ready to serve local residents 3/21/06

There was a ribbon cutting ceremony held on Monday, March 20 in Richland at the Richland Homemade Ice Cream and Deli.  Mayor Chuck Chiarello was present at the event.  Lunches will include soups, salads, chicken wings, french fries, mozzarella sticks, subs, steaks, cheesesteaks, hamburgers and hot dogs, plus a wide variety of cold cuts.  The Lukoil gasoline station has been renovated and scheduled to reopen on March 21st.

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Park construction aims to beautify Richland 3/20/06

Saw Mill Park is in full swing.  Two park benches have been installed and more are on the way.
 

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Richland Village plan heads to state groups 3/15/06

Buena Vista Township Committee unanimously approved a redevelopment plan for revitalizing Richland Village along Route 40.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Former signalman excited about train's return 2/25/06

Benjamin "Allen" Johnson was a railroad signalman in Richland in 1946-1947.  Johnson is a living part of the heritage the project is building on. 

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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One of the last hurdles cleared for Richland Village 2/7/06

During the final hearing for the township's Richland Village redevelopment plan the public reaction continued to be overwhelmingly positive.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Town's redevelopment plan draws criticism  2/7/06

— The second public hearing for the Richland redevelopment plans attracted about half the people from the first meeting, but criticism was still high Monday night.

About 60 people listened as several residents expressed concerns about eminent domain, increasing taxes and the fragile environment.

Township Council members said they believe the plans could create millions in ratables and make the village an attraction for people across the region. They voted unanimously to introduce the plans for another public hearing on March 13.

Almost every speaker mentioned what would happen a decade from now, since the Karabashian planning group said redevelopment could last 30 years.

Andrea Budro said she lives in the redevelopment area and is worried that her house could be taken by the local government.

“I just moved in, and now I don't know if I should unpack my garage or get out of here,” she said. “And even if you say you're not going to take it, what about the next administration?”

The Township Committee has mentioned in the past it has no intention of taking any private land for the project, but it has no control over what happens in the future.

“A lot of things can change in 30 years,” said Committeeman Peter Bylone.

Robert Lavari worried about cheating residents out of tax dollars. He crunched quick figures on a legal pad before he spoke, and mentioned the rising costs of education in the township and the $400,000 bond floated for the village. The township owns 68 acres of the redevelopment land, which it doesn't collect taxes for.

Mayor Chuck Chiarello acknowledged that the plan could pose a loss in taxes for a short period of time, but he hopes the long-term plan could bring in millions in tax ratables that would help lower school taxes. “We can sit here and pray the state gives us more money from heaven — but it won't,” Chiarello said. “There's no special-needs funding coming in, and the state is practically bankrupt.”

Three residents expressed complete trust in the administration's plan.

“We're worried about tomorrow, about next year, but we might not even be here next year,” Bertha Guilford said.

Chiarello said the next two to three months will be crucial. If the Township Committee approves the plans, they will then be sent for Pinelands approval.

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Your final say on Richland tonight 2/6/06

The Township Committee tonight will hold its final public hearing on the Richland Village redevelopment project.  The public will have the opportunity to hear the latest details about the railroad-themed plan to transform Richland.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Article Regarding Richland from Today's Courier Post 2/6/06

Photos by LAWRENCE HAJNA/Courier-Post
Richland's general store still dispenses items such as coal, buckshot, animal feed, honey and hardware.

Buena Vista Mayor Chuck Chiarello envisions this railroad line carrying people from Richland to Cape May.
LAWRENCE HAJNA/Courier-Post
Gary Brookland, owner of the Richland General Store, has reservations about the redevelopment plan in Buena Vista.
Richland's new train station is located near the town's old feed mill, which is to be saved and incorporated into the redevelopment plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There's little reason for anyone to stop in Richland.

In fact, most South Jersey residents probably don't even realize the place exists.

Born of railroads more than a century ago, the little Atlantic County village is located west of Mays Landing on U.S. Route 40, a highly traveled back route to Atlantic City and Ocean City.

With its old-fashioned feed mill that once unloaded trainloads of grain for chicken farmers and a general store that still dispenses coal, buckshot and animal feed along with honey, candy sticks and hardware, Richland could have been plucked straight from rural Iowa.

Quaint, yes, but hardly reason enough to stop and spend a few bucks.

Buena Vista Mayor Chuck Chiarello has big plans for Richland, envisioning a major shopping and office complex patterned after a Victorian-era railroad to be built along a rail line between Winslow and Cape May.

The village would have artisans like a blacksmith or leather worker, arts and craft stores, and restaurants. It would be complemented by a 3,000-square-foot indoor model railroad display.

"The core is a village of shops, essentially a Peddler's Village or a Smithville," Chiarello said, referring to the popular 18th-century-themed shopping complexes located respectively in Bucks County, Pa., and Galloway.

If so, it would be Peddler's Village in the Pines.

Plans picked up steam when residents packed a recent planning board meeting to learn about a redevelopment zone proposed to spur the project.

The zone designation -- believed to be the first for an area designated as a village in the Pinelands National Reserve -- is dividing Richland's population of about 1,500.

There are those who want to see their township generate some economic growth and those who want Richland to remain what it is -- a sleepy village on the edge of the Pinelands.

Gary and Tracey Brookland, who recently invested their life savings to purchase the landmark Richland General Store across from the project site, have misgivings.

They fear the project could snowball, bringing the same unsightly sprawl that has already sullied much of South Jersey's landscape.

"It's a Pinelands community. I thought they were going to kind of keep it like the lifestyle of the Pinelands," said Gary Brookland, 42. "That's why I came here."

While she also harbors uncertainties, Angela Biscoglio, owner of Little Frankie's Italian-American Deli across the street, said she believes commercial taxes the project generates could help control rising residential property taxes.

"It'll put Richland on the map, and I hope it will be good for business also," said Biscoglio, 44, noting that sandwich sales picked up last fall with the launch of a scenic rail line between Richland and Tuckahoe, 15 miles away.

The success of Chiarello's plan rides on the railroad, in particular expanding it into Cape May.

So far, the Richland-Tuckahoe excursion, operated by the Cape May Seashore Lines, has drawn some 3,500 people in three months of operation, Chiarello said. It ran only on Saturdays and resumes service in March.

He wants to extend the service to Cold Spring Village, a restored 19th-century village in Cape May where Cape May Seashore Lines operates another tour route. But some 10 miles of track through Woodbine would require costly repairs.

At some point, the line could be extended to a connection in Winslow with the Atlantic City commuter rail line, Chiarello said. This could open the possibility of tourists from all over the region taking the train to avoid Cape May's notoriously bad summer traffic, he said.

While Chiarello brims with confidence that the project will happen, it still needs a developer to take it on. It also needs state Pinelands Commission approval.

The redevelopment zone designation gives municipalities more control over the direction projects take and the naming of developers.

Zones have been established in Pinelands towns and rural development areas but not in the national reserve's 51 designated villages -- places such as Chatsworth, Vincentown, Indian Mills, Blue Anchor and New Lisbon -- that are thought to have special character.

The Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan does not preclude redevelopment zones in villages, but it does require that development be compatible with their existing character, Pinelands Commission spokesman Paul Leakan said.

"One of the main items that the commission will look at is the overall scale of the proposal and the types of uses being proposed and whether they are consistent with the Pineland village zone," he said.

While the Pinelands Preservation Alliance has not taken a formal position, Carleton Montgomery, the group's director, worries this could set a precedent for projects in more ecologically sensitive parts of the Pinelands.

But Chiarello hopes the project will lead to broader community revitalization that taps into the region's tourism potential.

"The Pinelands plan is not devoid of economic activity," he said. "We're not trying to overrun it and we couldn't overrun it with the rules that are in place. The one thing the Pinelands owes a town like us is the ability to survive."

Reach Lawrence Hajna at (856) 486-2466 or lhajna@courierpostonline.com

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Buena Vista officials going above and beyond call of duty 2/1/06

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Richland Village, pro and con 1/27/06

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Staff photo by Dominick J. Rebeck Jr.

With an artist's rendering in the foreground, Buena Vista Township Mayor Chuck Chiarello, far right, answers questions Thursday after the presentation of plans for Richland Village to residents who packed a Planning Board forum at the township municipal building.

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Lasndscape gardener Mark Demitroff, left, listens to Thursday's presentation as he waits for his turn to speak. Another public meeting will be held Feb. 6.

— The conceptual plans for the proposed Richland Village were met with both fierce questioning and adamant support at the project's first public hearing.

The Planning Board meeting was packed with more than 110 residents who came to see the artists' renderings of the project and hear the planning group's presentation. The board later approved a recommendation to send the plans to Township Committee.

Yet heated comments were made when it came time for the public to ask questions and make statements to the board. More than a dozen people came up to the microphone in the center of the room to ask about sewage plans, concerns about nearby wetlands and praise the idea as forward-thinking.

Some strongly challenged Mayor Chuck Chiarello, who answered most of the questions, while others directed their comments to people who spoke before them.

Representatives from the Karabashian planning group and Chiarello stressed that there are no hard figures for how many businesses will be built, how they will utilize water and sewer and what the economic impact could be for the area.

“Developers will come in and those determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis for each business,” Chiarello said.

One of the largest concerns was for the nearby wetlands. Resident Mark Demitroff read from a regional study that said urbanization was threatening water in the area.

“I just hope the township looks very hard at this angle before they move forward,” he said.

Also on most of the residents' minds was if the 163-acre project could feasibly bring in as many businesses as the local government is hoping for.

The harshest criticism came from resident Sandra Weber, who questions how many ratables the village could actually bring in.

“We're still unsure if anyone will even come to these antique and quilt shops on their way to Atlantic City, and you're managing to piss people off in the meantime,” she said. “If you're going to do something, do it right.”

Both critical and positive comments drew applause from the audience throughout the public session.

Kate Bjorklund, who owns Goodstuff's Antiques in Richland, countered Weber's comments with her own experiences.

“Everyone told me I was crazy when I said I was going to open a shop in Richland,” she said. “And it's been hard at times. But people do come and like the area, and making more shops will surely attract more people.”

Some residents said the plans call for a glorified strip mall adorned with a Victorian theme.

But Chiarello stressed that the businesses that move into the area will follow a certain plan, from what paint a business uses to how they secure the property.

“We won't have a purple business here and another color there,” he said. “There will be a uniform appeal.”

The end of the public hearing session featured a force of people who said that they should be glad the area is finally considering improvement.

“I saw Richland decline from the 1970s,” said resident Dolores Comparri, “and that happened because we lacked forward-thinkers like we have right now. This is a matter of pride for where you live.”

Another public meeting will be held on Feb. 6.

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Some residents cite development worries 1/27/06

Officials unveiled the latest of the redevelopment plans for Richland Village.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Economic forum: No holding back growth in 2006 (The Daily Journal, 1/27/06)

Our area has much to be proud of:  the proposed motorsports park and shopping center in Millville, Richland Village in Buena Vista Township, and the commercial and residential growth in Vineland.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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See the next phase of Richland Village this week 1/25/06

Residents who attend Thursday's special Planning Board meeting on the topic will also hear the latest plans for the economic revitalization project. 

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Richland Village continues property acquisitions 12/30/05

Richland Village is planning to renovate an historic feed mill and purchase an old church.  The feed mill will be repainted a much lighter color and will be lit up at night.  Once renovated, it will house several new shops geared to the tourist trade.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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'I love this store and I love the people' Ambitious couple take over Richland General Store 12/26/05

The Richland General Store on US Route 40 has new owners Gary and Tracey Brookland.  In January, the store will become an Ace Hardware franchise. 

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Region Brief - Santa Express adds ride 12/16/05

The Santa Express has scheduled an extra trip out of Richland on Saturday, December 17, 2005.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

 

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Special postcards, stamps mark revival 12/12/05

On Saturday, about 200 people showed up at the Richland Post Office for a special stamp cancellation event. 

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Train puts stamp on Richland 12/11/05

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Richland remembered on postmark 12/9/05

A special postmark depicting the Richland Village logo- will be available for a limited time at the Richland post office on Route 40. 

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Buena Vista buys final piece of Richland Village puzzle 11/29/05

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP-It's like fitting the final piece of a year-and-a-half-long puzzle.

Since last summer, the township has acquired six parcels of land that will be used for the main stretch of the Richland redevelopment project. The final piece was purchased Monday.

The land ensures that the central 16 acres of Richland Village will have a streamlined railroad theme similar to small tourist areas such as Smithville in Galloway Township.

The Buena Vista Township paid about $275,000 for the nearly 2-acre parcel that borders the southeast corner of the railroad and Route 40 intersection. Included is a post office, feed mill, antique store, empty house and deli on the premises, township Administrator Ron Trebing said.

"Some of it will be refurbished," Trebing said. "It all depends on the money we get."

Chairello said the post office and feed mill will definitely remain. The rest may stay or go, depending on final schematics.

The township hopes the final plans for Richland Village will be complete by early next year, after normal issues relating to Pinelands restrictions, such as water runoff, are resolved.

Richland's redevelopment is Buena Vista Township's most ambitious project in decades. Officials hope the main stretch, which is on Route 40 between Cedar and Greenbriar avenues, will attract commercial businesses including restaurants, shops and tourist attractions that could improve the amount of economic ratables in the area.

The township has more than $7 million in revenue, according to the Census Bureau.

"We are trying to get the 25,000 people a day who drive down Route 40 to stop and stay a while," Chiarello said.

The area is also relying heavily on the success of the resurrected Cape May Seashore Line, which currently runs from Tuckahoe in Cape May County to Richland.

Rail line owner Tony Macrie hopes the train will link up with NJ Transit's Atlantic City Line.

Chiarello said the project has received $2 million in grants so far, and he hopes to receive another $1 million in the next year.

The land was purchased from Ed Condon, who does not live in the township and did not return two messages for this article.

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Township purchases key property for Richland Village 11/29/05

Buena Vista Township purchased a key property in the redevelopment plan for historic Richland Village.  This was the final piece of property necessary to start the next phase of Richland's transformation plan.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Coming Soon? Park delay stems from skyrocketing bids 11/9/05

 

 

All aboard to discover local beauty and fun 11/3/05

The Cape May Seashore Lines opened train service between Richland and Tuckahoe.  The train runs on Saturdays through December 17.  Check out the special train excursions such as the Fall Foliage Tours, Santa Express Tours and An Afternoon Wine Expreience.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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DOT contributes $250,000 toward Richland project 10/25/05

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP-Two recent grants have helped fund redevelopment projects in the township's Richland area.

Both grants, totaling about $250,000, were received separately from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

A $100,000 "centers of place" grant will go toward extending the streetscape project West past the Cape May Seashore Line railroad tracks and East past Greenbriar Avenue. The extensions will last for as long as the money permits, said Mayor Chuck Chiarello.

"It'll go toward the street lighting, trash receptacles and other new things people have begun to see in the area," he said Monday. "It'll also be for those things some people don't commonly think about - like sewage lines and curbs."

The $3 million redevelopment project will give the area an economic boost by hopefully making Richland a southern New Jersey destination. Plans include running and extending the revitalized Cape May Seashore Line, and bringing shops and restaurants into the area. About 90 percent of the township has Pinelands restrictions, which prohibit development to protect the environment.

Chiarello said he initially asked for around $250,000 from the "centers of place" grant. "We're still enthusiastic about the funds," he said. "It all helps."

The township also recently received $150,000 in state road aid from the DOT for the area between Route 40 and old Landis Road.

In September, the township received $500,000 from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority toward the project.

About $225,000 is going toward the construction of a passenger platform and development of the train station; $175,000 will go toward laying tracks to allow trains to pass those stopped at the station; and the rest will go toward converting a factory into a new home for the Patcong Valley Society of Model Railroaders, which used to be in Egg Harbor Township.

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Photo Gallery Richland/Tuckahoe Train opens to public 10/15/05

Album Name: Richland /Tuckahoe Train opens to public
DATE: 10/15/2005      PHOTOGRAPHER: Anthony Smedile      ALBUM ID: 69150

Richland/Tuckahoe train begins service for the public. Train first day of service at Richland Train Station.

 
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A public departure for Seashore Line ~Richland-Tuckahoe line gets back on track 10/17/05

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Train pulls into Richland Train station in Buena Vista Twp.

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Danny Perez Jr. age 3 and Haley Elias age 6 both from Dorthy look out the window of the train while waiting to depart from Richland Station.

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Train conductor Bill Heller checks the time as people wait to aboard the train at the Richland train station in Buena Vista Twp.

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Staff Photos by Anthony Smedile

Jennifer Perez andHaley Elias age 6 both from Dorthy look out the window of the train while waiting to depart from Richland Station. This is the first day for public service for the train from Richland to Tuckahoe.

 

Ralph Quidone III is a self-proclaimed expert in locomotives.

He said this while he mashed his forehead against the train window, watching chestnut-colored horses whiz by. Ralph is 9.

"This train rules," he said, referring to the Cape May Seashore Line, which has just resurrected a small section after 24 years of dormancy. "I want it to go further, so we can ride the Cape May-Lewes Ferry."

The other part of "we" is his father, Buena Vista resident Ralph Quidone Jr., who said his son is the only child he knows that searches for maps in toy stores.

"We'll end up between routes 49 and 50, at county road 557," Ralph III said. For any nonexperts, that's the Tuckahoe Train Station.

A passenger car carrying people like the Quidones hasn't lumbered down this 15-mile stretch of track between Richland in Atlantic County and Tuckahoe in Cape May County since the Pennsylvania Railroad Seashore Line closed in 1981. Many of the 98 passengers on board Saturday's 11 a.m. train remember the line as quick access to Philadelphia and the shore points.

Now, people like Buena Vista Mayor Chuck Chiarello are trying to resurrect the train for both its convenience and economic possibilities.

But to pull this railroad out of extinction, two things must happen. First is developing some areas around the stations. Second, as Ralph III hopes, is to extend the train's service deep into Cape May and possibly link it to NJ Transit's Atlantic City Line. The latter would cost about $10 million, according to rail line owner Tony Macrie, for repairs to the wooden planks that support the metal rails.

Walking through the train during its 30-mile round trip, most children were staring out the windows as adults became acquainted in the face-to-face seats.

Lynda Patrick, 29, owns Tea by the Sea in Cape May. She said the line would match up nicely with the shops in Cape May and the new Atlantic Cape Community College extension.

"I'd be fine with having rail lines of people dropped off close to the shop," she said.

Business incentives like these are also sparking development in the Richland area. Chiarello is planning for new restaurants and shops to be built that would make the area not only an old-country-themed destination but would also bring more tax ratables to the area.

But for some passengers, business and economics didn't matter compared with the nostalgia.

Grace Garrity, of Petersburg, Upper Township, stood by the tracks at Tuckahoe. Her father used to operate the train tower at a time when the area was full of railroad workers.

"It's amazing to see this line running again, even in part," she said. "It's a thrill for those of us who can remember that time."

According to Macrie, anyone who rode the Pennsylvania Seashore Line before it closed probably sat in one of the two cars used Saturday. He conducted the train, settling the speed in at 35 mph and pulling the horn with his greasy right hand.

"We gave this up for a less perfect form of transport, the car," he said. "Now people don't like to drive anymore. Gas, insurance prices are too high. We're getting back on track again."

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Press of Atlantic City, Photo Gallery, Photographer: Anthony Smedile 10/8/05

 

Album Name: Richalnd Train
DATE: 10/8/2005      PHOTOGRAPHER: Anthony Smedile      ALBUM ID: 67072

Opening Ceromony for the Richland Train.

 
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Hammonton man's railroad dreams on roll to reality with Seashore Lines 10/12/05

Tony Macrie, President of the Cape May Seashore Lines started his railroad dream in 1984.  On Saturday Richland was added to the service route.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Good things happening in Buena Vista 10/14/05

The Richland Village Project will bring restoration to the town.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Imagination sparks revival of Richland 10/12/05

All it takes is vision... Plenty of work remains to be done in Richland Village but it is well on its way.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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WELCOME TO RICHLAND! Village's tourist train officially unveiled 10/10/05

Tony Macrie, President of the Cape May Seashore Lines will be providing tourist passenger service between Richland Village and Tuckahoe. 

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Railroad ties: Richland-Tuckahoe run opens  10/09/05

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All aboard from Richland to Tuckahoe 10/8/05

UPPER TOWNSHIP-If you go:

The Richland-to-Tuckahoe excursion will begin Oct. 17 with three round-trip rides every Saturday through Dec. 17. The train departs Tuckahoe at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. It departs Richland at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.

A round-trip ticket is $10 for adults and $5 for children. For more information, call Cape May Seashore Lines at 609-884-2675.

-Passenger-rail service will return to Tuckahoe this month for the first time in a generation when Cape May Seashore Lines launches a new tourist attraction.

Trains will ferry passengers to and from Richland every Saturday beginning Oct. 15.

Cape May Seashore Lines already has a tourist line from Cape May Court House to Cape May. The new Saturday excursions will boast themes such as the Santa Express or wine tasting, Buena Vista Township Mayor Chuck Chiarello said.

"We're planning all sorts of wonderful trips," Chiarello said.

Cape May Seashore Lines will give public officials a sneak peek of the 15-mile-long excursion today.

Tuckahoe is a former railroad town. But the only rail cars it sees now carry West Virginia coal to the B.L. England power plant in Beesleys Point.

The Upper Township Committee spent $250,000 in labor and materials to painstakingly restore Tuckahoe's original 1894 train station. The township's Historical Society and local Eagle Scouts spent countless hours restoring outbuildings and landscaping the sprawling grounds.

This might have seemed like a boondoggle at the time given that no trains ever stopped at this ghost junction. But the decision to save and restore the station was a wise one, Mayor Richard Palombo said.

"It's always been our hope to have that rail service restored. It's been 25 years now," Palombo said of the last train service through this old river town. "I think Tuckahoe is very comfortable keeping the past history in the village."

Merchants in both Richland and Tuckahoe will benefit from the restored train service, Chiarello said.

"It's a work in progress," Chiarello said. "It's going to get better as people find out about it. I think it's going to be a fantastic boon. Something new and different in the region."

Chiarello said having rail service in Richland will lend support for the rail company's bid to get state or federal money to repair the 15 miles of track between Woodbine and Cape May Court House. If repairs were made, passengers conceivably could take the train to Cape May.

"Most rail lines around the country are subsidized," Chiarello said. "If it gets people off the highways, we're paying for the highways, too. I look at it as a public-private partnership that helps everybody."

Palombo said the rail line could be used to evacuate Cape May County residents who have no other means of transportation before an emergency such as a hurricane.

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ROUND TRIP TICKET: Village prepares for train's first visit 10/8/05

Buena Vista Township employees put final touches on a ticket booth and guard house next to the railroad tracks in Richland Village.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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A train to run in Richland starting soon ~ Ride the rails starting Oct 15  10/1/05

The Cape May Seashore Line's arrival in Richland will be next weekend with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  Service between Richland Village and Tuckahoe will begin on Saturdays through December 17th.

For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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Grant helps Buena Vista build train station 9/23/05

A $500,000 grant from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority will help the township keep its railroad-themed redevelopment of its Richland Village section on track, Mayor Chuck Chiarello said.

Township officials have been lobbying for funds for more than a year to redevelop the several-mile-long section along Route 40 between Mizpah and Buena that once served as one of the area's commercial centers.

The $3 million project, also funded by the township and other state agencies, aims to spark commercial development with a railroad-themed makeover and restore tourist passenger train service in the area.

About 90 percent of the township is covered by Pinelands development restrictions to protect environmentally sensitive woodlands and aquifers, Chiarello said.

The Richland Village project, which will eventually include a train station, the area's largest model railroad, shops and restaurants, offers a unique opportunity to stimulate growth, he said.

"We are in an area that is protected and you're not going to have a lot of extensive development," Chiarello said. "That's why the Richland Village project offers us some hope of a rare chance that could help the township out financially."

About $225,000 of the CRDA grant, which was approved Tuesday, will go toward the construction of a 250- to 350-foot passenger platform and development of the Richland Village train station with new lighting, benches, nearby sidewalks and parking, Chiarello said.

Another $175,000 of the grant will go toward laying tracks known as siding, Chiarello said. These tracks allow trains to pass while others are stopped at the station.

The remainder of the money will finance improvements to a new home for the Patcong Valley Society of Model Railroaders, reputed to be Atlantic County's largest HO-scale model railroad.

The township is working to convert a 3,000-square-foot former clothing factory into a new facility for the model railroad, which was located in Egg Harbor Township, Chiarello said.

"We're trying to bring some life back to Richland," Chiarello said.

On Oct. 15, passenger train service is slated to return to Richland Village for the first time in decades.

Vintage circa-1940s trains from the Cape May Seashore Lines railroad will provide three Saturday round trips between Richland Village and Tuckahoe, about 15 miles away.

"It's nostalgia," said Cape May Seashore Lines President Tony Macrie. "We're bringing back what once was."

Macrie said it will be the first time since Sept. 28, 1935, when the Pennsylvania Seashore Line discontinued local service, that passengers will be able to board a train in Richland.

Cape May Seashore Lines already operates a more-than-12-mile stretch between Cape May Court House and Cape May.

"This is an opportunity not just for the railroad from an expansion point of view, I think it's a great opportunity for the township," said Macrie, who believes Richland may become a tourist destination in its own right.

Chiarello said he hopes to eventually see rail service from Richland Village all the way to Cape May. But he said that would require a $3 million to $7 million retrofit of the aging tracks between Cape May Court House and Woodbine to make them suitable for passenger service.

"Even tourists don't want to travel 5 miles per hour," Chiarello said.

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CRDA OKs $5M. for A.C.'s All Wars Memorial Building 9/21/05

Published: Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2005


The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority will give $5 million to the city to help renovate a community center that once housed black veterans in the 1920s.

The agency's board gave final approval Tuesday to a $5 million grant to go toward expansion and renovation of the Westside All Wars Memorial Building on Adriatic Avenue. City officials plan to add almost 10,000 square feet to the building, adding extra ballroom and office space as well as new parking and landscaping.

While it still hosts a veterans' group, it's primarily used for community events, such as weddings and funerals. The renovated building also will contain historical exhibits of the city's black heritage. In all, the project will cost $19.4 million, and the rest of the money will come from Atlantic City bond issues, according to the CRDA.

Initial CRDA paperwork, including that at a public hearing on Monday, referred to the $5 million as a loan. However, what was approved Tuesday was a grant, not a loan, said Susan Ney, the agency's assistant deputy director of project development. The word loan only appeared because of an error in the city's initial filing, she said.

The grant was one of several awarded by the CRDA as part of a full agenda Tuesday. Other projects approved include:

 

  • Egg Harbor City will receive $1.95 million for a development project focusing on its downtown. City officials said Egg Harbor City has been in a period of economic distress, but the project will help it attract new businesses to its downtown.

     
  • Egg Harbor Township was awarded a $3 million grant as it looks to improve the Black Horse Pike corridor leading into Atlantic City. The township's plan is to acquire and demolish 13 motel businesses and five commercial properties in the area and redevelop the land. Besides the aesthetic reasons, Township Committeeman John Risley said the work will help alleviate crime problems that have sprung up in that area.

     
  • Railroad work in the Richland Village section of Buena Vista Township got a $500,000 boost from the CRDA. The $3 million project, also funded by the township and other state agencies, will reestablish the tourist passenger rail service in the area.

     
  • Cape May County received preliminary approval for a $1 million grant to help pay for an upgrade to the county's zoo. The about $7 million project will expand the zoo's parking and add a gift shop, a snack bar and a 300-seat amphitheater. The project still will require a public hearing before the CRDA board can give its final approval to the grant.
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    Richland Village receives $500K in state funds 9/21/05

    The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is giving Buena Vista Township a $500,000 grant for the ongoing efforts to redevelop the Richland Village.  On Tuesday, the CRDA's board unanimously voted grant $500,000.

    For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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    REVITALIZATION PLAN COMING FULL CIRCLE: Richland Village banks on casinos to bring train 9/20/05

    The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority held a public hearing about a grant on Monday at the municipal building.  The township could receive a $750,000 grant from the CRDA.

    For complete details go to:  www.thedailyjournal.com 

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    Committee hopes to learn from Village study 7/25/05

    BUENA VISTA -- The Township Committee has commissioned a full-scale study of Richland Village in hopes of learning better ways it can develop the area as a business district and tourist magnet.

    The Planning Board last month declared the historic area along Route 40 as an area in need of redevelopment.

    "The Richland Village redevelopment project has been going on for the past 18 months," Mayor Chuck Chiarello said. "We are undertaking a study for a look-see of what can be done with Richland Village."

    The municipality already has hired Karabashian-Eddington Planning Group of Atlantic City to study and prepare a feasibility report about a plan to redevelop the Richland Village area. No timetable for the report was announced.

    Meanwhile, progress continues at a slow, steady pace on several fronts as Buena Vista works to make the area more attractive to shoppers and tourists, who can pump spending cash into the coffers of local merchants:

     

  • Tony Macrie, president and owner of the Cape May Seashore Line, expects limited weekend service between Richland and Tuckahoe to begin sometime in October.

    "Someday soon, we hope to have the railroad tracks redone so we can have passenger service all the way down to Cape May and Winslow Junction," Macrie said. 'But, in order to do this, at least 10 miles of track past Tuckahoe between Woodbine and Cape May Court House will have to be repaired because of deteriorating railroad ties."

    He said the Rail Passengers Association, a statewide lobbying group dedicated to railroad passenger service, will meet Oct. 8 in a train car on the tracks in Richland.

     

  • Sidewalks on both sides of Route 40, along with new street lighting, should be completed within the next month, Chiarello said.

     

  • Bids will be accepted next month for work on a municipal parking lot next to Richland General Store and a proposed 1.8-acre park between Fir and Greenbriar avenues.
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    If it's old, it's probably for sale at Goodstuff's: If she doesn't have it, Kate Bjoorklund will try to find it 7/18/05


     

    Staff photos/Craig Matthews
     


    Goodstuff's is located on Route 40, also known as Harding Highway, in Richland. The antique shop operates in an old garment factory. Kate Bjorklund, owner of the antique store Goodstuff's, is seen reflected in a mirror that is for sale in her Richland shop. In addition to antique furniture, Goodstuff's features collectible toys, including some from the 1960s such as a MAD magazine game, a wagon, spinning top and more.


     

     

    BUENA VISTA -- Every day is a trip down memory lane for Kate Bjorklund.

    She owns Goodstuff's, an antiques store along Route 40 in Richland that's crammed with 6,000 square feet of vintage, classic and century-old furniture along with an eclectic mix of turn-of-the-century women's shoes, paintings, posters, jewelry, dishes and glossy black-and-white photos, to name a few of the offerings.

    And if you don't see what you're searching for, Bjorklund said, there's an excellent chance she can find it for you.

    To give her store an old-fashioned feel, Bjorklund continuously plays light melodies and lively swing music from the 1930s and '40s.

    "I want my customers to feel relaxed and take all the time they want to browse," said Bjorklund.

    Breathing down someone's neck to make a sale is definitely not her style, she added.

    Bjorklund said her customers enjoy the background music because it takes them back to a time when they were younger and allows them to reminisce.

    Janice Brown of Mays Landing, who often shops at Goodstuff's with husband John, said she loves to browse in the store.

    "Kate's got a lot of very interesting stuff," Brown said. "It's pretty cool -- she's got great taste, so we love coming here."

    An aging interest

    Bjorklund, who grew up in Millville, became interested in antiques as a child when she used to sit on some woven, wooden chairs on the front porch of her grandmother's home in Drexel Hill, Pa.

    "As a kid, people thought I was a bit odd since I liked old things," said Bjorklund, 52. "I don't know where this interest came from. All I can tell you is that it continued to grow, and now I'm doing what I love most -- buying and dealing in antiques."

    After her grandmother's death, Bjorklund inherited those sturdy wooden chairs, which she still has at home.

    "These chairs are incredible," Bjorklund explained. "They're constructed of hickory wood woven into the back and seat of each chair. They were made in the 1880s."

    Durable through time

    Bjorklund said there are four kinds of furniture -- antique, classic, vintage and retro.

    "Anything truly antique is generally at least a century old, while classic furniture never goes out of style," she said. "Vintage is considered to be from the 1930s and 1940s. And retro, which is also known as mid century, is classified as being from the 1950s and 1960s."

    Bjorklund said the goods in her store are obtained mostly at estate sales and from customers who are moving.

    "If you buy one of my solid cherry tables, they sell for $240, but you're getting quality that you can't get when you buy something in a discount store," Bjorklund said. "A lot of modern furniture is made of pressed wood -- the workmanship and durability just isn't there."

    Awaiting renovation

    Before 1998, when Bjorklund bought a one-story cinderblock garment factory building here and turned it into an antique shop, she tried her hand at "pretty much anything and everything."

    "I've done a lot of management and retail sales," she said.

    "I've been in real estate in the Millville area, sold new Chevrolet cars, was an advertising sales representative for a now-defunct newspaper in Pleasantville, rehabilitated old houses with my younger brother, and I even had a cleaning service franchise."

    Although she loves her work, Bjorklund said the long hours spent running the store and buying items for it leave her little personal time to paint landscapes with watercolors -- a hobby she sometimes misses.

    During the past few months, Bjorklund has expanded her business to include painted furniture and new home decor accessories such as vases, ironware, sconces and kitchen items.

    She said she's excited about the township's ongoing Richland Village historic renovation project, which aims to rejuvenate Richland and make it a tourist destination.

    "I'm very excited about it," Bjorklund said last week, looking out her front window to watch workmen installing new brick facade walkway across the street as part of the revitalization project. "In fact, I really think it will bring some badly needed business to Richland."

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    Township seeks funds to help restore Village 7/18/05

    BUENA VISTA -- The township is applying for up to $600,000 in grant money to help fund the ongoing Richland Village restoration project.

    The Township Committee last week voted to seek the funds, which are administered through the state's Transportation Enhancement Program.

    If received, the money would be used to continue building sidewalks along Route 40 in Richland and to construct two small bus stations.

    One bus station would be located in front of the municipal parking lot that's soon to be built adjacent to Richland General Store. The other would be built somewhere across the street along Route 40, but that location hasn't been firmed up yet, Mayor Chuck Chiarello said.

    Stephen E. Lingle of Triad Associates, the grant-writing firm hired by the township to help it obtain funds for turning Richland into a tourist destination, said a railroad platform for train service and a visitors center to be housed in the Patcong Valley Model Railroad exhibit building also are needed.

    Chiarello said the township has previously applied for more than $1 million in grants for Richland Village. The project aims to bring tourists and shoppers to Richland, a once-bustling, but now sleepy part of the township.

    He said tourist rail service will be added on Saturdays and Sundays sometime this fall, connecting Richland and Tuckahoe.

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    Resident pack meeting to voice opinion on Richland project 7/1/05

    BUENA VISTA -- It was standing room only at Thursday night's special Planning Board meeting as residents came to hear an update on the Richland Village redevelopment project.

    As the packed meeting in the municipal building room courtroom listened intently,

    Mayor Chuck Chiarello told the crowd that a six-block area along Route 40 between the railroad tracks and Fir Avenue is going to be a destination -- not a pit stop -- with a tourist railroad service provided by Cape May Seashore Line as early as this fall.

    He said plans are under way to attract more businesses such as flower shops, a bakery and gift stores -- shops that pedestrians can walk to without using their cars.

    Chiarello also announced that Buena Vista officials are considering a large overhead archway over Route 40 that would say "Welcome to Richland." It would not only catch a motorist's eye, but get that driver to slow down and see what Richland Village has to offer, he said.

    He said the village's theme will have a "railroad-style flair" with possibly a turn-of-the-20th-century motif, but much was to be worked out along those lines.

    The board unanimously passed a resolution that formally declares Richland Village an area in need of redevelopment. That's step is needed to help the township qualify for state aid or other assistance. The measure will be presented to the Township Committee for further consideration.

    Melissa Hauck-Baker, a planner for a firm hired by the township to help with the redevelopment plan, said Richland Village should have no problem getting more state money because it met much of the criteria stipulated by the N.J. Office of Smart Growth, which helps fund such projects.

    Kate Bjorklund, who owns the Goodstuff's antiques shop along the redevelopment corridor, said she thought what Chiarello had been doing to drum up support for the project was "incredible."

    Mark Stullenburger, a Planning Board member who lives in Richland, said he thought the redevelopment would have great success.

    Kurt Rendart, who lives off Main Avenue, suggested that another, bigger parking lot for tour buses be built.

    Chiarello said he thought Rendart's idea was a good one and said he'd seriously consider it.

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    A NEW RICHLAND EMERGES:  Optimistic public awaits opportunity to weigh in 6/29/05


     

    Staff photo/Barbara Errickson
     


    Andrea Gonzalez, of Gambale Construction in Clementon, digs around a newly formed sidewalk in Richland.

  • Plans are moving ahead to bring a tourist rail line to Richland, but officials say it will probably take two years to have regular service. Mayor Chuck Chiarello said some limited rail service provided by Cape May Seashore Line, between Richland and Tuckahoe, could start as early as this fall.
     

     

  • Within the next month, decorative railroad-style lights, benches, curbs and trash receptacles will be at each corner of Route 40 from the railroad tracks to Greenbriar Avenue.
     

     

  • The former Brassie's Place restaurant between Main and Fir avenues, which closed last year, is undergoing renovation and has been renamed A.J.'s Pub. It could open within the next few months.
     

     

  • Giacomo's, an Italian restaurant at Greenbriar Avenue that closed in December, was renamed The Legacy. It's currently undergoing renovations and could be ready for business later this year.
     

     

  • Little Frankie's Italian Deli, formerly known as The Crossings Delicatessen, opened two months ago.
     

     

  • Uncle Mike's Tavern and Pizzeria at Cedar Avenue, rechristened Memories Lounge, has reopened as a nightclub featuring live doo-wop music.
     

     

  • The township has purchased two of three homes next to Memories and is in the process of buying the third one, Chiarello said. "This area is being looked at to establish shops and businesses that will be a part of Richland Village," he said.
     

     

  • A new curb turnout to accommodate a bus stop has been added in front of a new parking lot next to Richland General Store.
     

     

  • A one-story cinderblock building a block away at Fir Avenue that is owned by the township will become the new headquarters and meeting place of Patcong Valley Railroad, a group of model railroad buffs who will put on public displays. The township plans to award a bid package July 11 for renovations to the 3,000-square-foot building that will also house a small visitors' center. Club members will help with renovations.
     

    Source: Buena Vista officials


     

    Staff photo/Barbara Errickson
     


    New pavers, curbing and sidewalks are installed along Harding Highway near the Richland General Store in Richland.

  •  

    BUENA VISTA -- The Richland Village redevelopment project is moving along slowly but surely, and residents will have a chance this week to offer their suggestions about what should happen next.

    A three-quarter-mile stretch of the Route 40 corridor, from Cedar to Llewellyn avenues, is gradually coming into focus. Concrete sidewalks dyed to resemble red bricks are being installed on both sides of the highway from the railroad tracks to Greenbriar Avenue.

    And work is about to start for a yet-to-be-named 1.7-acre park that was the site of a sawmill, but now lies vacant between Greenbriar and Fir avenues.

    Richland was a vibrant business center in the middle of a thriving agricultural area at the dawn of the 20th century, with plenty of commuter and freight train service. Today, by comparison, it's a quiet hamlet.

    But Buena Vista Mayor Chuck Chiarello and other township officials have a vision to return Richland to what it once was by bringing in a new railroad tourist line, rail depot, quaint shops, restaurants, model railroad display and parking lot.

    The public has generally greeted the effort with optimism.

    Juan Torres, a general building contractor from Newtonville who was recently buying electrical supplies at Richland General Store, said he's pleased with news of the project's steady progress.

    "I think it would be cool for the area," said Torres, 33. "It's good to see the sidewalks going in. There's hardly any in town, and I think it's going to increase pedestrian traffic quite a bit because people are going to have a safer place to walk without having to worry so much about oncoming traffic as they do now."

    Torres said he'd enjoy living in the area even more once most of Richland Village nears completion, which township officials believe could happen as soon as 2007.

    Calling it a "work in progress," Chiarello said the project is one-third of the way to where he hopes it'll be in two years.

    "We're also intending to have an Urban Enterprise Zone established in Buena Vista," he said. "It would allow some of the sales tax money collected in Richland and the surrounding area to be re-invested in the community."

    Township Administrator Ronald Trebing said the municipality is flexible when it comes to adding other attractions to Richland Village that might encourage tourism.

    "Not everything is completely planned out yet," he said. "We're still thinking a lot of things through because this is a big project."

    Trebing said township officials will be open to suggestions from the public at 7:30 p.m. Thursday when the Planning Board holds a meeting about the redevelopment project.

    At the meeting, Chiarello said, he'll speak on his recent experience at the N.J. Mayors' Institute on Community Design at Princeton University, what he learned at that seminar and how it can be applied to Richland Village. He said he'll be glad to answer questions about the project and take input from anyone who attends.

    Angelina Biscoglio of Richland, who owns and operates Little Frankie's Italian Deli, said she can hardly wait for the project to be finished.

    "Our business is getting better as time goes on," Biscoglio said. "But I know it will be even better when the project is finished. I'm eagerly looking forward to it because I know it will be good for the town."

    Township officials said they'd like to renovate and fix up as many storefronts as possible to attract tourists with a variety of quaint gift and artisan stores, a flower shop, antique stores and an art gallery.

    "We're looking at a lot of different things that we don't have but think will be good for the community and for people traveling through the area," Chiarello said. "Part of what we're looking to unveil in the near future is the opportunity for additional shops and places for businesses to locate in Richland Village. We have several sites that we're working on."

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    All aboard? Railway line could return ~ Buena Vista mayor sees passenger service as boon to Richland Village 6/27/05

    BUENA VISTA -- When the Richland Village revitalization project nears completion, Mayor Chuck Chiarello hopes to have a tourist railway line in place.

    And he's got just the one in mind: the Cape May Seashore Line, which once serviced the area before passenger service was phased out about 15 years ago because of a decline in ridership. The only trains now using the track through Richland are freight haulers.

    Township officials plan to turn a six-block area in the heart of downtown Richland into a tourist destination, complete with a train depot and museum, quaint stores, restaurants and a park. The town center's redevelopment, Chiarello believes, will bring an influx of shoppers who can come in on the railroad line instead of driving their cars and who would infuse money into the local economy.

    For the past month, Chiarello has been hard at work drumming up support for the railroad line, which would make stops at Richland Village, Tuckahoe Station, Woodbine, Dennisville, Cape May Court House, Cold Spring Village and Cape May City.

    Additional stops between Richland and Tuckahoe could be added in places such as Milmay, Dorothy and Estell Manor, according to Tony Macrie, president, owner and general manager of Cape May Seashore Line.

    Chiarello and Macrie are convinced the rail service project could happen within two years -- about the time the core of the Richland revitalization project will be finished.

    The only thing that stands in their way is money, which they believe could be made available once the right connections are made.

    In an attempt to find financial support, Chiarello and Macrie attended a meeting last month hosted by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in Atlantic City. Both spoke to officials from the CRDA, the state Department of Transportation and NJ Transit, which operates virtually all the railroad lines in the state.

    Chiarello was tapped at that meetingto head up a committee to garner support for the tourist railroad line. He spoke with George Warrington, chief executive officer of NJ Transit, and Alan Weinberg, an official with the railroad system. He said both seemed pleased with the township's plan for Richland Village.

    On June 6, Chiarello presented a resolution to the Township Committee asking it to support the railroad and urge state officials to play an active role in finding financial sources to prepare the rail line for use as soon as possible. It was passed unanimously.

    Copies of the resolution were sent to communities along the rail line's right of way. Since then, Chiarello has been informed by several of those municipalities that they plan to draft similar resolutions in support of the project.

    The Cape May Seashore Line presently runs on 12 miles of track between Cape May Court House and Cape May City, according to Macrie.

    "We want to expand the track to 42 miles, from Richland Village to Cape May City," Macrie said. "However, in order to do this, most of the track is going to have to be repaired first."

    Chiarello estimated those repairs would cost between $5 and $7 million, and if everything runs smoothly, the line could be up and running within a year.

    Macrie said the bulk of the work involves replacing worn railroad ties -- a job that would take six months at most.

    He added that he sees NJ Transit as a "catalyst" for finding avenues of financial assistance.

    NJ Transit officials could not be reached for comment.

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    Richland dressing up the neighborhood for future tourists 6/25/05

    BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP - The brick sidewalks taking shape along Route 40 in Richland Village aren't made of bricks. They're a cement mixture designed to simulate bricks.

    For township officials, the sidewalks being laid down are further progress on a project they hope will become a tourist hot spot in Buena Vista.

    The Richland Village 1920s-themed destination is projected to feature commuter train service, model railroad displays, a park, restaurants, shops, a winery and other structures that reflect a southern New Jersey of days past.

    It won't take shape overnight.

    At the project's November groundbreaking, township Mayor Chuck Chiarello predicted that putting the finishing touches on the village would take three to five years.

    But the streetscape phase, which involves themed benches and lamps, as well as the "brick sidewalk," is well under way.

    The next stage will involve a railroad-style pavilion for the project's park.

    Chiarello said Thursday the project has attracted attention in other parts of the state.

    He was asked to present the Richland Village concept at the New Jersey Mayors' Institute held at Princeton University earlier this week.

    Chiarello said the design was examined by outside architects and engineers at the conference.

    "They'll be able to provide fresh perspectives on Richland Village," Chiarello said.

    Meanwhile, the township continues to seek funds to keep the project going.

    The completed Richland Village will have an estimated price tag of more than $2 million. Township officials hope to cover the majority of these costs through both federal and state sources. Other revenues are expected from township investments.

    So far, more than $500,000 has been raised from these sources, according to Township Business Administrator Ron Trebing.

    The township had been pursuing an Urban Enterprise Zone designation in hopes of securing more funding.

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    Buena Vista officials seek more land for Richland project 6/16/05

    What's next

    The Township Committee has scheduled a public hearing on the bond ordinance for 8 p.m. July 5 in the Municipal Building, 890 Harding Highway.

     

    BUENA VISTA -- Township officials are in negotiations to buy more property for the Richland Village revitalization project.

    The Township Committee this week unanimously voted to introduce a $450,000 bond ordinance for the purpose of purchasing the land that it's trying to acquire and to make improvements upon the property.

    Mayor Chuck Chiarello said officials cannot provide any details of the possible land acquisition until negotiations are completed. But he said residents would be pleased when he's able to reveal the details.

    Richland Village is the name given to the historic area along Route 40 between Greenbriar Avenue and the railroad tracks that is being restored as a tourist destination. Officials plan a railroad depot, stores, new restaurants, a museum, a new park, sidewalks and railroad-style lighting. Work is currently under way to install the sidewalks and lights.

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    Richland shows pride in its roots 5/31/05

    BUENA VISTA
    The community that temporarily named itself after an alcoholic drink in 2004 has gone totally batty.

    For two weeks last May, the township's Richland section was renamed Mojito in honor of the popular rum-based summer drink whose key ingredient is mint. Rum maker Bacardi promotes mojitos and buys fresh mint from Dalponte Farms off Llewellyn Avenue in order to showcase the drink at different publicity events.

    The renaming brought national attention to the often-overlooked community. But Laura Baddish, the New York-based advertising executive representing Bacardi, was looking for a new way this year to draw attention to Richland's mojito roots.

    "So, we had a crop circle in the form of a bat done on the Dalponte farm," she said. A bat has been Bacardi's logo since the company, now based in Miami, began in Cuba in 1862.

    "It represents prosperity and good fortune," Baddish explained. The crop circle isn't the work of extraterrestrials, although out-of-towners were called in to create the 180-foot-wide circle that encloses a 1.5-acre bat carving on the Dalponte family's 300-acre farm.

    Harrison Jenkins, an environmental design artist from Bloomfield, Conn., and two helpers took three days to design it.

    "It was amazing how they did it," said Dennis "Denny" Dalponte Jr., 31, a fourth-generation member of the mint-growing family. "They had lawn mowers, weed whackers, wooden stakes and string as tools. First, they used the mowers to chop down some of the mint plants, which are about 3 feet high, to the root level so they could make the circle and then the wings, ears, eyes, nose and body of the bat. Everything was perfectly circular and linear."

    Dalponte said Bacardi paid the family an undisclosed sum to use a 6-acre mint patch on the property's outskirts. The crop circle should remain distinguishable from an airplane for at least a month before the vegetation grows back, he said.

    Dalponte said the crop circle is the first of its kind to be cut into a mint field, and Bacardi plans to get it certified by Guinness World Records as the biggest mint crop circle in existence.

    "Last year, 207 crop circles occurred in this country, and 195 of them just suddenly appeared without any explanation," Dalponte noted. "However, I can't say I saw any drunken extraterrestrials with a few mojitos under their belts here working on our crop circle. We had the help of an earthly alien - alien because he came from another state."

    Dalponte said he didn't think the crop circle was very impressive while observing it from ground level. But once he took a plane flight over the farm with a pilot neighbor, he realized what a fine work of art it was.

    Baddish said she and other Bacardi executives love the fresh mint grown by the Dalpontes.

    "We order at least 500 boxes a year from them," she said.

    Buena Vista Mayor Chuck Chiarello said he realizes Richland's renaming was a one-shot deal - something he'll never forget.

    "Naming Richland Mojito makes you realize that the mint used in the drink is grown locally by one of the largest mint farms in the country and that this local product is shipped worldwide," he said.

    Chiarello said he heard about the crop circle from Carlo Merighi, a service station owner in Richland and licensed pilot who had been making trips over the Dalponte farm in his two-seater Cessna aircraft to view the sight from the air.

    Realizing that the crop circle was man-made shattered Chiarello's fantasy that such occurrences are the work of visitors from another planet, he said.

    "For me, crop circles were one of those great mysteries of life," he said with a sigh. "Now we have one of our very own."

    FUN FACT

     

  • How much mint was removed from Dalponte Farms for the crop circle? 2,500 crates, or 12,500 pounds. That's enough mint for making 1,416,666 mojitos.
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    CRDA asked to get aboard on rail service for Cape 5/26/05

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    ILLUMINATING DEVELOPMENT: Progress continues for Richland Village 5/18/05


     

    Staff photos/Charles J. Olson
     


    Nicola Gambale of Gambale Concrete Products in Clementon (center) uses a backhoe to fill in a ditch after the installation of electric street light conduits along Route 40 in Richland. Looking on is Gambale employee Tony Barretta as the Richland Beautification Project continues.



    Nicola Gambale Jr. compacts soil over 2-inch electric street light conduits along Route 40 near Fir Avenue in Richland.



    Tony Barretta of Gambale Concrete Products in Clementon prepares to install electric conduits for street lights in Richland.

     

    BUENA VISTA -- The Richland Village revitalization project is beginning to become visible, in small ways, as construction work gets into full swing along Route 40.

    "There will be real substantial progress this summer on the project," Mayor Chuck Chiarello said.

    Crews recently installed electrical conduits needed for the gooseneck-style lamp posts that eventually will light Route 40 between Greenbriar Avenue and the railroad tracks, helping to give it the feeling of an old-fashioned train station.

    Within the next week, workers will begin pouring sections of sidewalk on both sides of the same three-block stretch, Chiarello said. "We expect for the sidewalk project to be done by late June or mid-July," he said.

    Township officials proposed the Richland Village project to rejuvenate the community's small but once-thriving Route 40 business district. They hope it attracts tourists who pass through Richland on their way to shore destinations.

    Right now, the railroad tracks are approved only for freight car transportation. However, township officials are negotiating with NJ Transit to allow for service that would transport passengers between Richland and Cape May.

    "Things are going very positively with regards to the tourist train," Chiarello said.

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    Tuckahoe to Cape May: Progress, Problems 5/13/05

    TUCKAHOE - They came from Hoboken and Cape May to take a four-mile ride on a slow train, but they all hope for a day when passenger rail service will be part of every day life and not a novelty or something just to entertain tourists.
    Members of the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers held a luncheon May 7 aboard one of Cape May Seashore Lines' restored dining cars, which was parked at Tucka-hoe Railroad Station here.
    Efforts to restore this 1894 station began in the 1970s and it finally reopened two years ago, according to Lewis Albrecht, who chairs the architectural committee for the Historical Preservation Society of Upper Township.
    Currently used as a museum and home for the society, all present hope for a day when it will once again serve its original purpose.
    Albrecht said the society is “cooperating with Cape Seashore Lines in trying to seek funds to repair between Woodbine and the county zoo; the tracks are good from here.”
    Following lunch, the train traveled south along new ties and rail to a Woodbine site that those on board hope will be a new Woodbine train station someday.
    Passing mostly through pines, and climbing to run over Route 550 on a newly restored trestle, on the way, the acquisition of freight passengers by Cape Seashore has made repairs to this portion of track possible.
    The main topic of the day was the news that the Woodbine Tuckahoe run was being revi-talized for freight and that evolving efforts to upgrade the tracks between Court House and Woodbine were continuing.
    “There is a lot of progress and a lot of problems,” said NJARP President Douglas John Bowen, as he welcomed everyone to an annual event that is intended to thank patrons and update members.
    There are state funds available for freight lines but not passenger rails. Added to that di-lemma is that, for higher speed rail travel for passengers, more work needs to be done.
    He said the group had “first pledged in 1980 in Cape May City to get lines reopened to bring rail service back to Cape May.”
    One problem that had been recently resolved was that the bridge over the Cape May canal would be repaired to be in service this season.
    “This December it had to be forced open and we needed to go after money again,” said Carol Ann Thomas, an NJART member from Burlington County.
    The bridge had been put back in service in December 1998 by New Jersey Transit when Seashore Lines owner-operator Tony Macrie started the runs to Cape May. The current problem is electrical and NJ Transit will be funding those repairs.
    But, as Thomas explained, it is NJ Transit that owns the lines and the bridge, which was built during World War II and placed in the canal, after it had served its purpose on the Delaware Raritan Canal. It was damaged before 1998, said Thomas, when a barge hit it and “no one went after the barge company.”
    No mere weekend train buffs, the members of NJARP are a “rail passenger advocacy group,” said Bowen.
    It has supported Macrie's efforts since he began the seasonal trips to Cape May.
    He told some two dozen passengers, which included members of the West Jersey Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society, that he had traveled from Woodbine to Court House recently and it had taken an hour and a half for that ride.
    “Under prefect conditions, from the time when Doug started talking, we could have been in Cape May,” said Macrie, who was introduced about 40 minutes after Bowen started the meeting.
    “We don't get an operating subsidy from anyone, anywhere,” said Macrie. “We are now officially a freight line but we can't use freight money for passenger. We need a mechanism that on an annual basis, we have money to improve track.”
    “The pool of money (for freight) is about $6 million a year,” said Paul Mulligan the asso-ciation's Cape May liaison, “which doesn't go very far.”
    He said other states, like Maine, which has invested $35 Million to renew rail service, “invest in infrastructure to support tourism.”
    Mayor Chuck Chiarello, of Buena Vista, was also there as an invited guest. His deputy mayor, Theresa Kelly and Sue Barber, a councilwoman, were there as well.
    Buena Vista sits in Atlantic County just at its border with this county and the three were there to show their support for a renewal of passenger service above Tuckahoe, “hoping we will have a tourist line up to Richland,” said Chiarello.
    Mulligan also presented a report on transportation and mobility, which he said was the group's vision for the Cape May Branch.
    “Some say it's a railroad to no where,” said Mulligan, who maintains homes in Rahway and West Cape May. “But I say no, it's a train to Cape May.”
    That city has visitors, “who are already staying at camp grounds or in other towns and no visit is complete without a visit to Cape May.”
    He sees the Cape Seashore line “as serious transportation, not just touristy.”
    That the restoration of older cars gives the line a historical component doesn't change that, said Mulligan, it simply fits with the Cape May theme.
    “We have to convince Philadelphia,” said Mulligan. “Get people to leave cars home, it (Cape May) is a pedestrian city. Woodbine sits astride 550, a way to intersect with vacation-ing traffic.”
    Caroline Tice, of Cape May, one of the patrons honored at the luncheon, recalled traveling by rail to Cape May from Philadelphia with her parents when she was young.
    “It was stifling, but we always knew when we had arrived in Tuckahoe, because the air was so much fresher,” said Tice.

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    Angry protests erase the 'Richland Bump' 5/9/05

    Remember the "Richland Bump?" If all goes according to plan, the Richland Village -- including a park, restaurants, a model train display and a proposed rail line into Cape May County -- could become a future tourist attraction for those traveling through Buena Vista Township along Route 40.

    This is a far cry from 25 years ago when Richland, or, at least the Route 40 railroad crossing there, was described as "one of South Jersey's major tourist detractions" by the Vineland Times Journal.

    Nicknamed "Richland Bump," the west side of the crossing sat nearly two-feet higher than the east side. Between were four iron rails threatening to wreak havoc on the underside of any car not slowing to a crawl.

    Drivers approaching from the west any faster than 15 mph literally left the ground after hitting the tracks. A "Dip" sign posted 100 feet away did little to slow the uninitiated who, for decades, had been leaving their exhaust pipes, and sometimes even transmissions, in Richland.

    Next to one appliance store on the east side of the tracks, a collection of hubcaps and mufflers grew larger with each passing day.

    The owner of the business had to keep reseeding his lawn, forever ravaged by out of control vehicles, which suffered the wrath of the sinister "Bump."

    Long a sore spot with frustrated township officials, they were powerless to fix the "Bump" since the highway was owned by the state and the tracks by Conrail.

    Some requested that the township's position be documented so it would not be held liable should a fatal accident occur.

    Tragically, in 1981, the worst fears proved true.

    At the time, the Richland crossing had been on a long list of Conrail crossings scheduled for repairs.

    But little seemed to happen until a four--car accident one Friday claimed the life of a 19-year-old Northfield man.

    The next morning, dozens of residents joined by township officials staged an angry protest at the scene.

    Local firefighters used fire trucks to block the tracks. They were later ordered to remove them by the State Police, but the pickets had gotten their message across.

    They wanted something done. And quick.

    The following week, Department of Transportation officials inspected the site. Although upgrades on up to 300 of the state's crossings were performed each year on a "first come, first served" basis, Richland became classified as a top priority.

    Flashing yellow lights were ordered installed and, that September, a front-page story headlined "Good Riddance!" announced that the infamous "Richland Bump" would soon be no more.

    Among improvements planned were the removal of one set of tracks and the gradual sloping of the roadway.

    In addition to the leveling, remaining tracks were embedded in a rubberized surface to permit vehicles to sail smoothly over the crossing.

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    RICHLAND VILLAGE: Buena Vista hopes for 'good things' with revitalization 4/25/05

    BUENA VISTA -- The transformation of a stretch of Route 40 into the Richland Village is officially under way.

    Sidewalk construction has begun, new restaurants are on the horizon and officials are finalizing plans to install electric wires that will power street lamps.

    "Good things are starting to happen with this project," Mayor Chuck Chiarello said.

    Buena Vista officials last July unveiled their vision for a redesigned Route 40 corridor that would revitalize Richland's once-thriving business community. The "Richland Village" plan calls for new sidewalks, landscaping, decorative lighting and a Village Square Park that would attract shoppers and tourists.

    A construction crew last week began making cuts in the asphalt where new sidewalks will be installed between Greenbriar Avenue and nearby railroad tracks, Chiarello said. Those sidewalks, along with street lamps and benches, will be in place by the end of summer, he said.

    Meanwhile, four eateries in the Richland area have changed hands recently. According to Chiarello:

  • Uncle Mike's, at Route 40 and Cedar Avenue, is undergoing a major renovation and will reopen as a new restaurant called Memories.

     

  • Giacomo's has new owners and could reopen this summer as a restaurant called My Legacy.

     

  • Brassie's Place is slated to reopen as A.J.'s Pub once it finalizes a liquor license transfer.

     

  • The delicatessen next to the Richland post office is operating under new ownership. It's now called Little Frankie's Italian-American Deli.

    "This gives us a really good feeling, a vote of confidence," Chiarello said of the flurry of business activity occurring in Richland.

    Also, the township recently worked out a roughly $4,000 deal in which Conectiv will put in new wires to accommodate the street lamps that will line the highway. Officials wanted to preserve the area's aesthetics by limiting the number of places where power lines hang across Route 40; the new wires will cross at the Fir Avenue intersection, alongside existing lines.

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    Grant enables Richland Village to move forward 3/22/05

    BUENA VISTA -- Richland Village, the township's plan to revitalize a stretch of Route 40 that once was a thriving business community, is one step closer to reality thanks to a $150,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

    The money, which the township received Thursday, will go toward construction of the new Village Square Park.

    "At the turn of the 20th century, the Richland section of our township was the heart of our town district and a bustling center for business," Mayor Chuck Chiarello said. "Railroad tracks once crossed in all four directions coming through town, and there was a train every hour filled with passengers.."

    Chiarello estimates that 25,000 cars a day pass through Richland on Route 40, traveling between Delaware and Atlantic City's casinos. The township wants to divert some of that traffic to patronize the town center's businesses.

    "By next year, or 2007 at the latest, we hope to have Richland Village totally renovated," the mayor said of the $2 million plan. "When you count this most recent grant from the DEP, we have gotten $680,000 in grants for the work."

    The township will use the latest funds to create Village Square Park, a l.7-acre wooded lot with two large oak trees between Fir and Greenbriar avenues. Within a couple months, the mayor said, the land will be cleared of brush to make way for fencing, sidewalks, walkways, benches and a flagpole.

    "It's going to be a trained-themed park," Chiarello said. The township is negotiating to get Cape May Seashore Lines to run trains that would bring tourists to Richland.

    At the turn of the century, Richland was a boom community with thriving stores and restaurants lining its railroad tracks, Chiarello said. A rapidly growing farming and poultry industry surrounded it, along with numerous cedar barrel manufacturing companies.

    Located in the heart of the business district, the Richland General Store has managed to weather the town center's economic storms during its nearly century-long existence, but some other commercial enterprises have not been so fortunate.

    "At present, we have three closed restaurants," Chiarello said. "Right now, there is little reason for people to stop. By next year, we want to change that by reopening the restaurants, and some of the stores and other businesses, along with a model railroad exhibit and possibly a cultural exhibit explaining Richland's past history."

    Tom Gill, who owns Richland General Store, said he has started to see some small signs of the work about to get under way.

    "I just received a notice that a parking lot will be built by the township next to me," he said. "The other day, I saw workmen putting down small flags and marking other spots with bright orange fluorescent paint."

    He also has noticed that a former restaurant and pizzeria are being reopened and that the delicatessen housed in the post office building across the street is under new management.

    "I can't say that I've seen any physical construction yet, but you can tell it's coming," said Gill, who sells hardware along with beer- and wine-making equipment. "I'm really looking forward to the renovation of Richland Village -- it's going to be a big boon for us."

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    Richland Village project receives $50K from state 2/14/05

    BUENA VISTA -- The state is giving $50,000 to Buena Vista to help support its vision for transforming a stretch of properties along Route 40 into the Richland Village.

    The N.J. Department of Community Affairs presented the Smart Future Planning Grant to the township last week.

    "If we are to preserve our quality of life in New Jersey, we must work together to strategically manage growth," said Community Affairs Commissioner Susan Bass Levin. "Buena Vista has accomplished that with its comprehensive growth plan, while also preserving the township's cultural and historical treasures."

    The Richland Village project has received about $470,000 in grants to date.

    The latest money will allow officials to conduct studies and assemble demographic data necessary for procuring future grants, Mayor Chuck Chiarello said.

    "It gives us the ability to properly design this project, which will have a great impact on the future of our community," he said.

    Richland Village aims to attract tourists to a century-old gathering of houses and stores along a once-busy railroad crossing by providing shopping and recreational opportunities, rehabilitating buildings and making streetscape improvements.

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    Commissioner Susan Bass Levin Awards Buena Vista Township $50,000 Smart Future Grant for Rehabilitation of Historic Structures 2/7/05

     

    Commissioner Susan Bass Levin awards Buena Vista Mayor Charles Chiarello a $50,000 Smart Future Planning Grant to support the township’s planning efforts. 

    TRENTON, N.J. – Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Susan Bass Levin today awarded a $50,000 Smart Future Planning Grant to Buena Vista Township in Atlantic County. The grant will support the township’s coordinated planning along Route 40 and the rehabilitation of historic structures. 

    “Working together is a major factor in making Smart Growth successful in New Jersey,” Acting Governor Richard J. Codey said. “We stand committed to partnering with our municipalities to grow smart and create hope for a better future.” 

    “If we are to preserve our quality of life in New Jersey, we must work together to strategically manage growth,” Commissioner Levin said. “Buena Vista has accomplished that with its comprehensive growth plan, while also preserving the township’s cultural and historical treasures.”  

    With its grant, Buena Vista will coordinate planning along Route 40 near Richland Village.  The Township has already undertaken a streetscape project for the portion of Route 40 bisecting the Village, including sidewalk installation and tree-lined streets.    

    “The Richland Village project is vitally important to the town,” said Buena Vista Mayor Charles Chiarello.  “DCA and Smart Growth’s support allows us to properly progress with this project.  It gives us the ability to properly design this project, which will have a great impact on the future of our community.” 

    Smart Future Planning Grants are part of the Smart Future Initiative, which promotes smart growth planning between municipalities and Counties throughout New Jersey. They are funded through DCA’s Office of Smart Growth, which is leading the effort to promote sustainable development, protect the environment, preserve open space and revitalize older communities.  

    DCA is dedicated to making smart investments across the State, to create strong and vibrant communities where people want to raise families and build businesses. These investments support local governments, protect the environment, provide housing, advocate for women and minorities, and improve the quality of life for all New Jersey citizens.

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    Buena Vista gets $50,000 grant for Richland Village 2/8/05

    Buena Vista Township obtained a $50,000 state grant Monday for planning efforts along Route 40 and the renovation of historic structures.

    The state Department of Community Affairs handed out the grant as part of its Smart Future Initiative, which promotes smart growth planning between municipalities and counties.

    Township officials said the money would be used to focus on the Richland Village area, which will include a bus stop themed as a re-created Route 40 train stop.

    They hope to attract Cape May-bound drivers to the tourist stop, which would include restaurants, a winery and shops reflecting how southern New Jersey looked in the early 20th century.

    "The Richland Village project is vitally important to the town," Buena Vista Mayor Chuck Chiarello said.

    DCA Commissioner Susan Bass Levin said the project accomplishes state goals of coordinating and focusing development growth.

    "Buena Vista has accomplished that with its comprehensive growth plan, while also preserving the township's cultural and historical treasures," Levin said.

    The full project is estimated to take three to five years and cost about $2 million. A parking lot's expected to be completed by spring, while work on streetlights, benches and sidewalks will parallel that effort.

     

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    Buena Vista Township: Committee OKs society's building lease 1/20/05

    BUENA VISTA -- The building doesn't look large enough, but once finished, it will hold dozens of railroads that will traverse rivers and mountain ranges.

    The locomotives and cars, of course, will be smaller than life-sized, about 1/87th the scale of an actual train, according to the model railroaders who will set up displays in the building at the corner of Route 40 and Fire Road in Richland.

    On Monday, the township committee approved a lease with the Patcong Society of Model Railroaders for part of the building, said Mayor Chuck Chiarello.

    The township-owned building will become the headquarters for the society and will be open to the public.

    The building also will include a welcome center and other facilities that will be part of the Richland Village project, an effort to bring tourists to the century-old gathering of houses and stores along a once-busy railroad crossing.

    And while plans for a real train to provide tourist rides to Richland have yet to be realized, it also will only be a matter of time before the society brings its miniature locomotives and elaborate displays to town, said society member G. Thomas Todd.

    "We have a lot of work to do, so it might not be until next year that the first display will be open to the public," Todd said.

    The society lost its old headquarters in Egg Harbor Township last year when the owner of the building, an older society member, had to sell it for personal reasons, Todd said.

    Although heartbroken about breaking up all the old displays, Todd said the new 3,000-square-foot space in the Richland building will offer the society a chance to create an entirely new landscape in miniature models.

    "We'll have everything from cities and country, rivers and streams, mountains -- you name it," Todd said.

    The display will be open to the public with the society only asking for voluntary donations, Todd said.

    "It's something that runs in our blood," Todd said about the hobby. "When we see the faces of people who come to look at our displays, that's what it's all about for us."

    "It's something that takes just about everybody back in time," he added. "It makes us all kids again."

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    New historical facts wanted for Richland Village 12/27/04

    BUENA VISTA -- All aboard for information and historical memorabilia from the township's Richland area!

    That was the call made by Mayor Chuck Chiarello at a recent meeting of the Buena Historical Society.

    While the society always looks to add to its collection of historical data, Chiarello said the Richland Village project also should focus special attention on new information.

    The township is undergoing a project to develop Richland as a tourist destination by using its history as a bustling late-19th and early-20th century railroad village, Chiarello said.

    The official groundbreaking for the $350,000 first phase of the project was held earlier this month as part of an ongoing effort to recreate the atmosphere of the Victorian era, Chiarello said.

    Aside from public efforts, a model railroad association is expected to use one of the village's well preserved buildings as its headquarters, township officials said.

    The building will become home to the association's elaborate model railroad displays.

    While much of Richland's past has been preserved in buildings such as the Richland General Store, Chiarello said a wealth of information still can be found in attics and garages of area residents who may not know the historical value of items they may have in storage.

    The township's older residents also offer an opportunity to get an oral history of what Richland was like in its heyday, Chiarello said.

    "Anything that might help to enhance our knowledge of Richland's past will help us chart its future as a place of interest for people who may not realize the rich history of this village," Chiarello said.

    Display cases will be set up once the Richland Village project is complete some time in 2006, Chiarello said.

    The collection of historical material could someday lead to the need for a museum on the area, Chiarello said.

    Much of the history of Richland is based on the railroads that ran through town bringing tourists and settlers, said Harry Benson, president of the Buena Historical Society.

    "Buena didn't have very many residents or much of anything except forests until the railroad came," Benson said. "The railroad brought people and businesses to Richland and the surrounding areas."

    Richland has several historical buildings that have changed little in the past century, said Benson.

    "The Richland General Store and the building where the Richland Hotel was have had a few changes, but not many," Benson said. "And we have a lot of houses and other buildings from the late 1800s that are in remarkable shape."

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    Press Release / Invitation

     RE:                 GROUND BREAKING FOR RICHLAND VILLAGE

    Richland Village Begins New Era for Buena Vista 

    Date:              Tuesday, November 23, 2004

    Time:             3:00 pm

    Location:      US Route 40 and Main Avenue
                   
    (adjacent to the Richland General Store) 

    Mayor Chuck Chiarello, and Township Committee along with the Buena Vista Economic Advisory Board invite you to attend the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the “Richland Village Project.”  When completed Richland Village will be a “turn of the century to 1920’s” themed destination located on US Route 40 (Harding Highway in Richland).  

    The project which was started about one year ago includes various Streetscape grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation, a parking lot grant from the USDA Rural Development and acquisitions funded from Buena Vista Economic Funds.  When completed the revitalization project plans to offer tourist train service through the Cape May Seashore Lines, model railroad displays from the Patcong Valley Model Railroad Club, a recreated train station, unique shops, a winery, restaurants, crafts and other ideas that will make Richland Village an enjoyable  stop along Route 40.  

    The invited guests include US Senator Frank Lautenberg, US Senator Jon Corzine, Senator Nick Asselta, Congressman Frank LoBiondo, Acting Governor Richard J. Codey, Assemblymen Jeff Van Drew and Jack Gibson, New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere and other federal, state, county and local dignitaries.  

    Expected at the ceremony will be a train from the Cape May Seashore Lines courtesy of their President Tony Macrie.  There will be a ground breaking ceremony hosted by our local officials.  There will be tours of the immediate area and general information about the project.   

    Richland Village is the largest of several exciting projects on the Township’s horizon expected to be boosted by Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew’s UEZ legislation.  The designation of Buena Vista Township as an Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) is an important economic engine that will enhance Richland Village, enabling it to become the anchor along the Route 40 corridor encouraging economic growth and business revitalization. 

    For more information contact Mayor Chuck Chiarello or Township Administrator Ron Trebing at 856-697-2100 then press 8. 

    Attendees RSVP please.

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    PROGRAM

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    Homeward Bound  Patcong Railroaders find new home in Buena Vista
    10/28/04

    EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Herbert Scheufele and other model railroaders will be working until December, taking apart the miniature world that took them 15 years to build.

    The Patcong Valley Society of Model Railroaders found a new home in Buena Vista Township, but their intricate scenery, which was glued to the old building, will go in the dumpster.

    "We've just gotten used to having a big layout that is all detailed and now we have to start from scratch," said Scheufele, 66, a retired telephone engineer from Ocean City and the group's secretary.

    The club will move in January to an old brick factory building on Route 40 in the Richland section of Buena Vista, he said.

    The society's present clubhouse on Fire Road, which belonged to a member, will be demolished in December. The 25 model railroaders held their annual train show this month, and advertised their search for a new home.

    Dick Schiereck, club treasurer and owner of the old property, said that the club received more than $1,000 in donations and more than 1,000 visitors during their two weekends of shows. He added that dozens of people called about possible homes for the club, but the railroaders chose the Buena Vista building because it was close to the road and would bring in more visitors.

    Scheufele said it may take another 15 years to rebuild what the club had. But members are already devising ways to improve the old set-up, including a digital and computerized track system, he said.

    "Everybody enjoys something different," he said. "Some people like to run the trains. Some like to build the tracks, others the scenery. That's what makes it a good hobby, and that's how we can function as a club because everyone likes to do different things."

    He added, "We are sad to see what we are losing but we are (looking) forward to the challenge of building something better."

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            Address:   Buena Vista Township
                             890 Harding Highway, PO Box 605
                             Buena NJ, 08310

            Phone:      (856) 697-2100  or  (609) 561-5650
            Fax:          (856) 697-8651
            E-mail:      
    buenavistatwp@comcast.net

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