Next Collingswood U - February 3
Collingswood U gives citizens a chance to reach out to their neighbors to spread the word about the causes close to their heart. The programs provide groups and speakers with time and presentation space and help speakers promote their event.
The February 3 speaker is Collingswood Mayor James Maley presenting “A Review of Collingswood’s Redevelopment.”
Collingswood is touted as a poster child of redevelopment and held up as one of the “enclaves that have blossomed into hot spots,” and “a mixture of small town friendliness and larger city diversity.”
About 20 years ago, however, Collingswood was suffering a bit of a depression as malls impacted traditional main streets and mom and pop merchants. Storefronts were increasingly empty and while the town had a strong community, it lacked viability. Seeing the decline in their beloved hometown, Collingswood leaders in local government and the community took action. The Borough’s redevelopment success was the result of years of strategic planning, innovation and creativity.
The idea to have the Mayor present came from Collingswood Library Director Brett Bonfield. Bonfield, like many others, was aware of Collingswood’s revitalization, but knew the work to revitalize the Borough was a long road. He realized that hearing about Collingswood’s success would be of interest to residents. “A lot of us moved to Collingswood, at least in part, because we find planning and redevelopment and its benefits interesting,” said Bonfield.
Mayor Maley’s Collingswood U presentation, A Review of Collingswood’s Redevelopment, will focus on steps taken by the Borough to stop or reverse blight in the Borough, create a vibrant downtown district and the unique tools and strategies used in the town’s revitalization over more than a decade.
Since 1997, Jim Maley has served as the Mayor of Collingswood, where he has served in elected office since 1989. His presentation will focus on some of the Borough’s catalyst redevelopment initiatives including the duplex conversion program which leveraged private funds to facilitate home ownership, the first suburban Business Improvement District south of Trenton and a multi-jurisdictional Haddon Avenue Corridor “Smart Growth” grant with the City of Camden and other suburban towns. Collingswood’s redevelopment of the 1000 unit Parkview apartment complex was reported by the New York Times as a model of private-public partnership and the adaptive reuse of a 1905 schoolhouse into professional offices in the Borough’s downtown district received numerous awards and now anchors the downtown. Collingswood has also been recognized by NJ Future, the American Planning Association, and numerous regional publications. In 2012, Collingswood was named “One of America’s Most Transformed Communities” by Forbes.
“The success that Collingswood is known for today didn’t happen overnight,” said Maley. “It was a combination of investment from businesses, local government and especially the community. They gave their time and trust in rebuilding Collingswood and we are so much stronger for it.”
Collingswood U events are held at the Collingswood Public Library, 771 Haddon Ave, at 6:30 p.m. Residents that have a topic they would like to present at a Collingswood U event can submit their information for consideration by the Borough by emailing Cass Duffey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 Collingswood U schedule TBA
Collingswood U events takes place at Collingswood Public Library. Stay tuned for speaker details!