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Group's Mission: Make Lenola Feel Like Part of Moorestown

Though it's sometimes seen as Moorestown's red-headed stepchild, Lenola advocates are hoping the formation of a new task force can help revitalize the west end of town.

Did you know that the Lenola section is part of Moorestown?

The question’s not as ridiculous as it might sound.

Jamie Boren, who’s lived in Moorestown’s west end for 25 years, said there are plenty of people—many of whom live in town—who don’t know Lenola is actually a part of Moorestown.

Councilwoman Victoria Napolitano, a three-year resident of Lenola, said, “I once had someone say something to me about the Lenola Fire House in Maple Shade—and my jaw just dropped.”

But you can’t condemn people if they don’t know better, and it’s no wonder they don’t know, Boren said. Head west on Camden Avenue and gradually the landscape starts to change—from the quiet, tree-lined streets and quaint storefronts downtown, to cracked sidewalks and old, often rundown buildings.

Efforts have been undertaken before to improve the Lenola section, most notably the West End Task Force, formed roughly a decade ago. And while plenty of positive recommendations came out of that, few were acted upon, according to Boren.

Following through on a campaign promise, Napolitano is now spearheading the formation of a Lenola Advisory Commission, to be chaired by Boren, to address many of the issues facing that neighborhood.

Boren said a lot of the improvements are tied to aesthetics—fix the sidewalks, plant trees, add lighting, make property owners fix their buildings up—and by essentially prettying up the place, it could go a long way toward reinstilling a sense of pride and making Lenola residents feel like they’re a part of the town.

“Lenola doesn’t deserve to look shabby,” Napolitano said, “and it’s gotten kind of shabby.”

Boren said she doesn’t want Lenola to try and mimic the rest of Moorestown—it should have its own character—“but it doesn’t have to look like it’s not part of town.

“That’s ultimately my goal: to see change, to better tie this end of town in with the rest of Moorestown.”

Lenola is often viewed, particularly by those who live there, as the township’s red-headed stepchild. That’s no one’s fault, Boren said. But the timing is right, particularly with a Lenola resident on council, to do something.

Of course, the question arises: Where’s the money coming from for these improvements?

Napolitano said it’s still way too early to speculate about such concerns, but stressed, “For me, the name of the game is fiscal responsibility,” adding that the task force would explore grant opportunities.

Boren’s family—including her grandfather, former mayor Walter Maahs—were born and raised in Moorestown. She has deep ties, and with young children to raise, she’s here for the long haul.

“Because I have a big mouth,” she responded, when asked why she was chosen to lead the commission. “Because I care … This is where I grew up and this is where I intend to stay. I’m not going to expect somebody else to make changes happen if i’m not involved myself.”

The group is still getting off the ground, but Boren said approximately a half dozen people have already expressed interest in serving. Both she and Napolitano said the process is going to be open and collaborative.

"This is not Victoria Napolitano’s vision of Lenola," the councilwoman said. "We want this to be Lenola’s vision of Lenola."

To inquire about joining or to share your thoughts on how to improve Lenola, email ideasforlenola@gmail.com.

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laura bingham February 13, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Agree with Geri's comment (below). This article has a very (unintentional?) us vs. them feel to it that I wasn't even aware existed. Perhaps a first step to inclusion is adjusting the language we're using.
Ginger Hayes February 13, 2013 at 02:25 PM
Havent read the article or the comments ... However, I have heard about the idea and I say It's about time. Lenola is part of Moorestown and shouldnt continue to be treated as a unwanted inheritance. We have many life long friends generations deep that continue to live in Moorestown. They are the DNA of Moorestown. Most have children in the district as third generation. They are married to MHS alumn as were their parents. When people refer to a "real Moorestownian" they should remember most live in Lenola.
:) February 13, 2013 at 02:32 PM
wouldnt that make them real lenoliums
Donna Morgan February 13, 2013 at 02:50 PM
YES! This is GREAT news! This is why even as a lifelong Democrat I voted for Victoria, I KNEW she would bring a voice to her neighbors like me!!! SO excited!
Observer February 13, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Wonderful news. Thanks for doing what's right. You continue to impress this former doubter. I stand corrected about you, Mrs. Napolitano.
Observer February 13, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Here, here
Ashley Langhoff February 13, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Loving it!
Ginger Hayes February 13, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Ed.. Caught yank you chain on this. You have to admit that the homes in West Third St neighborhood, Church Street, even along the railroad tracks are held to a higher standard than the homes in Lenola, The "center" of town would never have allowed the "Smaller" homes in town to liter their yards or let their homes fall apart. Nobody cared. Now we are expecting the neighborhoods in Lenola jump up and clean up. B... You are well aware that you are speaking of a small part of Lenola and that there are many beautiful and well kept homes within "Lenola"
Ginger Hayes February 13, 2013 at 04:54 PM
dumb self correct... Gotta yank your chain...
Travis Woods February 13, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Well done. Something needs to happen on this side of town! Let's start by getting trees as someone stated above, make it looks more like Moorestown and less like Maple Shade. I would also recommend we do something about the shopping center with the Retro Fitness. Let's get those store fronts full of good, decent businesses. And while we are working on that area, can we please get rid of that old closed gas station? Let's turn it into a dog park or put a new office building or restaurant there!
Travis Woods February 13, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Absolutely, best of luck on this!
Amy Tozzi February 13, 2013 at 05:08 PM
As long as everything that comes out of this doesn't raise my taxes, you have my backing and my support for this. I want to see our whole town united to get this done and bring our whole town family together! Way to go guys, just dont use tax dollars and we can all get behind this!
Dienstag February 13, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Look folks, our Republican leaders are doing the right thing for the west side of town, we should all be celebrating this move to bring back the focus we saw in 2003 with the West Moorestown Task Force, thanks Victoria and Jaime for getting this off the ground!
Gateway February 13, 2013 at 05:21 PM
I was on https://wwwnet1.state.nj.us/Treasury/Taxation/TYTR_TLSPS_WEB/Taxlistsearch.aspx I don't see where Travis Woods, Amy Tozzi, Frank Donatto or others reside in Lenola. How do we know they are not illegal immigrants collecting free healthcare and social security
Soccer Mom February 13, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Victoria, great job on this! Once you finish in Lenola, please consider moving to Laurel Creek! We need the likes of you around here! :)
We are the 20 Percent February 13, 2013 at 05:45 PM
You know who else you won't find on there? Victoria Napolitano. Ever stop and think that perhaps renters have an opinion on our town? Of course you didn't. Lenola is full of us, whether you like it or not. Moorestown is 20 percent renters. Bet that statistic terrifies you, doesn't it? Oh well. We're here, and now, one of us is on Council too. Glad that our renter Councilwoman is doing what we hoped she would do. Treat our end of town like we are equals.
Travis Woods February 13, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Spot on, 20...... I rent my condo, can't afford to own in Moorestown yet, but want to some day!
Proud to be Union February 13, 2013 at 05:57 PM
I really love that this is happening, can't tell ya how often I think about how shabby we look compared to other places in town. We're just blue collar folks who got left behind is all, nothing a little work and attention can't get right
Gateway February 13, 2013 at 05:57 PM
didn't see you on the voter rolls either. which party are you registered with?
Red Alert February 13, 2013 at 06:24 PM
I have had great hopes for our current councilmembers since their election. As I had hoped, they have continued to exceed expectations. Bravo and kudos on this, it is certainly long overdue.
Lenola fan February 13, 2013 at 06:25 PM
That's the point, most of the locations that are in dismay whether apt buildings or houses have renters. In general, some renters don't give a darn what's happening on that property and trash it , park vehicles on the front lawns, don't take any responsibility. It's up to the landlords to patrol their renters, followed by the zoning enforcer. This task force can question various properties and help that zoning person with a list of apparent violators. If there are no codes or loose rules , this task force can ask for them to sharpen them with teeth/ create new codes . (Of course, there are great people that live in these apts and rented housing, and some landlords too.)
Bob Grant February 13, 2013 at 08:09 PM
This is wonderful and I approve of what they are doing for us in Lenola. Ignore the sour grapes and nay sayers out there, we are lucky to have you guys willing to speak up and do the right thing for a change. Bout time government came to help instead of just take our money and run! I agree with others, let's get ourselves some trees and start to enforce the code laws in town, thats a start!
Gary Snyder February 13, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Thanks so much for doing this. You guys are really doing something incredible, and I'm impressed with Councilwoman Napolitano for taking this all on so soon into her term. Here's some stuff I would like to see happen: 1.) Get us the same Christmas decorations as everywhere else in town 2.) Give us trees on our streets like everyone else gets 3.) Fill the empty stores over on Camden Ave 4.) Get rid of the golf ball man, stroller family, and all the other illegal lawn sale merchants 5.) Give us the same turf fields that the other end of town is getting 6.) Get rid of the old gas station that's empty on Camden Ave 7.) Give us sidewalks where we don't have them, and re-do the cracked and dangerous ones we do have 8.) Get rid of that lumber dumping property and either put something there or make it a park 9.) Don't allow businesses to turn their buildings into billboards (Papi's hanging banners on the side of their building, Hare's to You and White House painting signs on the side of their buildings, stuff like that)
Lenola fan February 13, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Trees , shrubs , pavers they would be in the right of way which is primarily covered by the county. ( between sidewalk and street) If we have a plan and a request, perhaps amend the master plan to allow "natural beautification/ vegetation , utility poles to be placed underground, mailboxes off the sidewalk, etc. then when needed to implement work it out with the county.
SteveS February 13, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Gary can you email your list to ideasforlenola@gmail.com
Lenola fan February 13, 2013 at 10:42 PM
Gare....Good list - good start on ways to better Lenola . Some should be straight forward others may be difficult.
Terry February 13, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Great news, best of luck Jamie and Victoria, I know you'll do us proud!
Jim February 14, 2013 at 01:38 AM
Proud of Victoria and Jamie for doing this! Jamie, your grandfather would be proud!
M'town Business Owner February 16, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Has anyone noticed that the "LENOLA" sign on route 38 in front of Kmart gets replaced and stolen on a regular basis? Does anyone know why? Kids (and young adults) like to hang these signs it in their bedrooms and basements if they're from Lenola. It a "sign" of pride for young folks. This pride is alive in Lenola from the youth to the old timers. It's passed down from parents to children. Unless you're from Lenola or have grown up with close friends from Lenola it's hard to understand or relate to. What a lot of folks don't realize is that this mentality helps keeps Lenola separated from "in town". You can't have it both ways. Be from Moorestown first, and the Lenola section second. When have you heard someone say they are from "Laurel Creek" or "Northwest Estates" BEFORE they say they are from Moorestown? Pride is wonderful but sometimes it can be harmful. Lenola is a jewel to Moorestown and should be treated as such. It is true that many multi-generational families reside here. It is true that Lenola is often the only section of town that YOUR children may be able to afford when they are young adults. It is true that some people CHOOSE to live in Lenola even though they could live "in-town" The point that I make is simple. The stone wall between Lenola and "in-town" has been cemented by both sides and only BOTH sides can tear it down. Stubbornness and "old school" pride will only make that wall stronger
G. Williams February 17, 2013 at 01:54 AM
In Maple Shade during the 90's we hired a part-time retiree named Vince K. He handled minor code enforcement and property maintinence, and was quite efficient in his duties. His responsibility was to at first discretely approach property owners with a notice of violation. He would work with them in a reasonable way to get them to correct the violation even if he had to give them a little more time. If it was possible, we would get volunteers to help those who couldn't help themselves. If all else failed usually through refusal, their property would be posted, and the individual would be cited to municipal court. It's been 12 years since I lived in Maple Shade, so I'm not sure if the program is still in effect, but it was successful and inexpensive at the time. It might be something to consider throughout Moorestown. On one occasion, we had a property owner who didn't like falling leaves. He damaged two trees in front of his house which subsequently died. He paid dearly for those trees, and two more were planted. Everyone has a responsibility to the community in which they live, and a duty to their neighbors as well. Neatness and grooming cut have little to do with expense except maybe a little elbow.

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