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Haddonfield Merchants Complain About Unkept Downtown

"It's like having company over and leaving dirty dishes in the sink," a shop owner said.

Some prominent Haddonfield shop owners are complaining about the cleanliness of the downtown shopping district.

They are concerned the Kings Highway business district does not look well during the critical holiday shopping season—or any other time or the year.

"It's like having company over and leaving dirty dishes in the sink," said Sue Maslowski, owner of Jay West Bridal shop and a member of the borough's business-tax funded Partnership for Haddonfield (PfH) business improvement district. "Kings Court is a mess, the dinosaur area needs to be cleaned up. I don't think it's always the store owners' responsibility to clean up."

Maslowski said the problems are especially acute in the summer, when weeds push up along public sidewalks and in public parking lots around the PATCO train station and behind stores like hers.

But unlike many store owners, Maslowski is in a position to do something about it. She is a board member of the PfH and is lobbying to find money to clean up areas she and other merchants are concerned about.

"The borough used to have someone on staff to clean public areas. Sharon’s favorite words are, 'It's not in the budget,'" Maslowski said, referring to borough Administrator Sharon McCullough. "We need to redo the whole budget and look at ways to maintain the downtown."

Mayor Tish Colombi, the director of public works, said she doesn't think the situation is as bad as Maslowski says.

"I'm in the downtown area all the time and I don't think it looks particularly bad," she said. "I just don't think it looks dirty."

McCullough said the borough eliminated several public works jobs in budget cuts two years ago, but still deploys workers occasionally for downtown cleanup. Public areas in the borough are the last for leaf collection after neighborhood streets are cleaned, she said.

McCullough said the PfH collects more than $250,000 in tax money each year and could use some of it to hire workers to regularly maintain sidewalks and parking areas. She said trash cans are emptied on weekdays by a contractor. She also compared what Haddonfield does to some neighboring towns, such as Collingswood, which she said doesn't provide public trash cans or pickup in its downtown area.

Marlee Lick, owner of Harrison's Gift Shop, and also a PfH member, said the borough still needs to do more.

"Our mission statement is to help the businesses," Lick said. "The borough is supposed to take care of these things. I am a taxpayer as a business owner and a homeowner and I understand budgetary issues, but as they look into shared services, maybe they need to look into shared services for cleanup."

Lick said the PfH now pays about $14,000 each year for Christmas holiday street decorations, a cost the borough used to pay. Some of that money once paid for maintaining cleaner streets.

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concerned business owner December 19, 2012 at 03:13 AM
First of all Lisa perhaps you should know that the majority of the customers that do support the businesses downtown are NOT from Haddonfield...its a known fact that Haddonfield residents don't shop local especially the Powers of Be so unless you would like to pay the inflated rents, electric, taxes parking fees, sign fees,staff etc etc I suggest you remember that unless the business comes in why would we stay open. You must also have your eyes closed when you walk thru town cause this town is in need of a real good cleaning....Haddy hasn't had the weeds around it pulled for a long time not to mention the mess at the end of the Lane and NOW some of the businesses have to put their own trash cans there as the trash bins were removed so that should look great I had thought we would have cleaned up before the gov came for his town meetings but that never happened ...sorry Lisa you need to Open your eyes Wider the town seems to worry about artifical turf and things that don't matter then the things that do....
Steve Lick December 19, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I suggest 2 possible sources for "manpower" to help keep the business area clean and tidy: 1.) High School Honor Society requires volunteer activity 2.) Community service requirement for the juveniles caught by the Police vandalizing properties in town.
Maryann Campling December 19, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Steve......great, common sense ideas, especially #2,....which, unfortunately will never be implemented!
Anthony Mozzo December 19, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I agree, being a Salon owner in Had do field for over 37 years I have never seen the lack of some of our restaurant owner outside care of their tabled are dirty, dirty dishes with food left in them and on the pavement. Serving patron with their pets (dogs) when dinning outside is a health issue's and I complaint about that many time to our honorable mayor and did nothing about the problem. Anthony Mozzo , Anthony's Hair Fashions
Bill Green December 19, 2012 at 04:01 PM
As a local business we are constantly cleaning the sidewalks and area around our shop. Unfortunately when crews come by, to clean Kings Court, they rarely clean in front of the store and frequently leave what they've cleaned (from the rest of the court) in front of my place. The court should be a showplace for downtown Haddonfield not a forgotten area. As for the comment about store hours...we've stayed open each Friday night and made sure to have coffee/tea and refreshments for customers...to no avail. The town empties around 6:30 and we rarely see customers (not even people who walk through after they've parked their cars). The town needs glitz...and shoppers need to be enticed to mill about and to stroll sidestreets and alley shops. . We've got a picturesque town with great shops, and shopkeepers, that are ordinanced and homogenized to death.

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