Main Street makeover in Glassboro

March 16, 2009 5:07:30 PM PDT
The claws of heavy equipment are tearing down dilapidated old housing along Main Street in Glassboro, making way for the borough's ambitious $300 million Rowan Boulevard revitalization project. It'll extend from the foot of Rowan University's campus into the downtown and feature wide sidewalks, 60 new retail stores and restaurants, a hotel & convention center and a town square, all in an effort to make this the "quintessential college town".

"The main purpose is to improve the quality of life for the people of Glassboro," said Mayor Leo McCabe.

"To show how it is that students no longer see the town as a place to visit and use as their 'party house,' but as a community they live in," said Rowan University President Don Farish.

The project is entirely privately financed. Developers say the 12,500 member Rowan University community is an untapped resource and this project will serve the needs of the borough and the students.

"They wanted a town they could go down to and walk around, go to the shops, go to the restaurants," said developer Greg Felipek.

"It's going to mean a more stable tax base because we're going to have magnificently increased revenues," said borough administrator Joseph Brigandi.

Congressman Rob Andrews was there for the groundbreaking to begin road work, and said the 400 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs that'll be generated are just what's needed.

Student housing nearby is already well underway.

Rowan grad Jen Andricola and her husband Ed just opened a new coffee shop near the project.

"About five years ago we started noticing what they were going to do here, and we're real interested in being a part of it," said Ed Andricola.

Officials say it'll take until 2012 to complete the project.

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