Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

BURLINGTON COUNTY

Downtown revival plan is revived in Mt. Holly

MOUNT HOLLY The Mount Holly Land Use Board is expected to review a study next week that proposes that the downtown be designated as a redevelopment zone. The zone would include several blocks of High Street - the main part of the business district - and some nearby streets. Mill Race Village, adjacent to downtown, would be excluded.

"It will be in the commercial, industrialized part of the town, where there are vacant warehouses, dilapidated properties, and open space that need to be redeveloped," said Mayor Rich DiFolco. Declaring a redevelopment zone would enable deteriorating properties to qualify for low-interest rehabilitation loans.

DiFolco said redevelopment zones have been proposed for the downtown four previous times in the last 15 years and have failed. He believes the flawed redevelopment plan for the low-income Gardens neighborhood over the last 10 years may be partly responsible for that. Residents of the Gardens, mostly of minority groups, had filed a housing bias case against the town, and the project stalled. The case settled in November as it neared a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"It was such a poorly managed plan," DiFolco said, explaining why the town council had difficulty getting a redevelopment plan for the downtown approved. "Now that this is behind us, we can blow the dust off it [the downtown revitalization plan] and get this moving." - Jan Hefler

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