Pleasantville is a work in progress, mayor says

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Mayor Jessie Tweedle takes the oath of office to begin his second term at City Council’s annual reorganization meeting Jan. 7 at City Hall. Judge Bruce Brown administered the oath of office, and the mayor’s wife, Beryl, held the Bible. Mayor Jessie Tweedle takes the oath of office to begin his second term at City Council’s annual reorganization meeting Jan. 7 at City Hall. Judge Bruce Brown administered the oath of office, and the mayor’s wife, Beryl, held the Bible.

PLEASANTVILLE – Mayor Jesse Tweedle Sr. promised to continue working toward changing the city’s image in the media and among other communities in his annual State of the City address.

“We might not have it all together, but together, we can have it all,” he said.

Tweedle praised past and current employees and outlined ongoing and completed retail and residential construction projects in an 18-minute speech given at the City Council’s annual reorganization meeting Monday, Jan. 7.

Mayor Tweedle joined Councilmen Lincoln Green, Lockland Scott, William Christmas and Augustus “Gus” Harmon in taking the oath of office to start a new term.

Councilwoman Judy Ward was unanimously approved to return to her position as council president.

Tweedle ended his speech with the same amount of passion he began it, praising municipal workers and residents of the city he has called home since 1971.

“I will continue to fight with every ounce of energy to change the negative perception of Pleasantville,” he said. “The residents of Pleasantville do not deserve the exploitation and sensationalism the press has given us. We have too many wonderful things happening in this town that take a back seat to some of the aspirations placed on us, and I pledge to continue to fight for what is right, not what is printed.”

Tweedle began his presentation by highlighting the devoted people who retired in 2012 after making a career out of serving Pleasantville residents.

They were Charles Freeman, a fire captain with 27 years of service; former Police Chief Duane Comeaux (27 years), former Fire Capt. Jeffrey Luckett (24 years), former firefighter Barry Macnatt (25 years), former Police Officer Theresa Tully (17 years), former Police Officer Shawn Brown (12 years), and former Police Sgt. Daniel Harper (12 years).

“Together they had a combined total of 145 years of public service,” Tweedle said with high praise.

The mayor also highlighted several recently commercial construction projects that were completed in 2012.

Among those are a new Subway restaurant that opened at Route 9 and the Black Horse Pike. Other new openings include a Popeye’s at 55 W. Black Horse Pike, the TriCare Medical Transport Company that moved from Egg Harbor Township to 825 Noah’s Road, and the Johnstone Supply Company, 23 Clinton Ave.

Tweedle also glowed about the Village of St. Peter’s senior citizen housing complex that opened in early 2012. There are 72 residents in the building with a waiting list of 75 more, he said.

There are several ongoing projects as well.

Recently, crews broke ground on a 23,000-square-foot Billows Electric warehouse and retail establishment at 301 N. New Road near the Atlantic City Expressway, he said. The $4 million project will host what he called a state-of-the-art facility when it opens in June.

And the Billows development is only the beginning, he said. Several other projects are scheduled to break ground in 2013.

Work should begin in the late spring or early summer on the 78-unit California Commons on California   Avenue, Tweedle said.

The single-family-home project will take an underdeveloped piece of land in the city and make it a “viable, thriving neighborhood community,” he said.

Riverfront Development has received all of the approvals it needs for construction of a $55 million project called the District. It will comprise 300 upscale workforce apartments and 20,000 square feet of commercial and retail office space when completed.

Rysson LLC recently received approval to build the area’s largest Dollar General Store at 815 N. New Road and is in the process of getting financing.

The owner of the La Consecha Supermarket is opening a 5,000-square-foot café at 226-232   S. Main St. next month, Tweedle said.

“The total investment is $500,000, of which all was private dollars,” he said. “This project will create 10 to 50 construction jobs and 15 to 20 new jobs in our city. It is scheduled to open in February.”

Tweedle went on to compliment the members of the police department, which passed all 112 portions of a national accreditation program last month. He also praised the hardworking members of the understaffed public works department.

“With a minimum of workers, they have proven to maximize their work efforts and productivity, and I applaud them for that,” he said. “We have committed ourselves to provide all of the essential services needed to maintain a high quality of life for our residents.”


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