Shifting Gears

Things on The Ave are shifting into a higher gear right now. Gov. Murphy announced the loosening of restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings, as of May 19. We look for this to have a positive effect for our businesses—notably, our restaurants, which took a hit during the worst of the pandemic. We’ve been working tirelessly to help our businesses—letting them know about grants, loans, workshops, trainings, and anything else that can help them. There’s no substitute, however, than feet on the street and feet coming through the door.

Progress is being made on The Ave in other ways, as well, adding to the upbeat mood. The plans for the next mural in our “Canvases on The Ave” mural project were laid out at a press conference last week. The conference took place at the site of the mural—the exterior wall of Vegans Are Us, at 636 E. Landis Avenue. Muralist Erin DiPalma shared her vision of the mural, reflecting a food and dining theme that fits The Ave as a destination for multicultural cuisine and Vineland as an agricultural hub. I want to thank our grantors—the Cumberland County Cultural & Heritage Commission/Department of State for funding and Ace Hardware for the paint. Other thank-yous will come later, but I want to thank Anthony Peterson for use of his building for the mural and Sharonda Harris, owner of Vegans Are Us for their support in this.

Things are also moving along with our Walk The Ave initiative—the walking trails to be established downtown. I wrote about this in an earlier column and, with collaboration with the City’s Public Works and Engineering Departments, signage is being created and will be going up shortly. We’ll then have a special inaugural walk event to celebrate enjoying The Ave for fresh air and keeping fit. Watch for details.

We’re also getting valuable sponsorship money to help fund our major events. Newfield National Bank is the latest to help as an event sponsor—Cruise Down Memory Lane, Food Truck Festival on The Ave, A Taste of Vineland, and the Christmas Parade. Watch for more.

Speaking of Christmas, the easing of restrictions for gathering will help our plans for a Christmas in July on The Ave on July 24, a short prelude to our An Olde Fashioned Christmas on The Ave event December 3 through 5.

Last, but not least, I thank all who came out on May 8 to help at Spring Planting and Cleanup Day at the mini-parks—including some police recruits from Vineland Police Academy. Your hard work set the stage for summer on The Ave and the great times ahead.

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The Running The Ave 5K on June 27, registration is open. Over the past two years we’ve had runners from throughout the Delaware Valley participate. Be one of them by going to Main Street Vineland’s website—theave.biz—and sign up.

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We have a COVID vaccination clinic on The Ave, which also provides COVID testing. It’s operating through the Vineland Health Department (856-794-4131) and is located in the former Landis MarketPlace building, at 631 E. Landis Avenue.

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