Wrapping Up 2021

by Russell Swanson, Exec. Dir., VDID, Main Street Vineland

It’s been a hectic couple of months in the Main Street Vineland office, with events following events and all the planning and execution that go with them. It’s been days of multi-tasking, e-mails, phone calls, meetings—live and virtual, and the regular day-to-day business.

All that is pretty much behind us now and, even though the holiday season’s still very much here, it’s time to take some time to clean up and acknowledge people, groups, and organizations that helped us get through these times. So, I’ll take a couple of these columns to do some well-deserved shout-outs and acknowledgements.

It’s been an especially challenging year for a number of reasons. Chief among them has been the COVID situation. For one thing, it turned this office into a literal clearinghouse of information and assistance for our downtown businesses. It has meant days of getting information about financial assistance, grants, loan programs, and trainings—which we then channel out to our businesses. Secondly, it meant having to bottom-load most of our events into the latter half of the year, after the COVID safety risk had lessened. Even then, we had to plan for the possible cancellation or, at least, downscaling of the events we planned.

I’ll go into specifics in the next column but for now, I want to thank all the Main Street Vineland staff and volunteers; departments and officials at the city, county, and state levels; our media and financial partners; our donors and grantors, and our downtown and local businesses. It’s been said that “it takes a village” and that village includes most importantly—you. You’re the one who lives here, comes to our events, and patronizes our businesses. Without you Main Street Vineland would merely be a mutual admiration society and our events and initiatives would just be run-throughs and rehearsals. You’re the ones who make all these events worthwhile and special.

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Please remember to take a very important step in helping to shape the future of downtown Vineland. You have this chance because of a very exciting program in which the City is involved and that Main Street Vineland administers. So take a few minutes and complete an online survey. I explained in detail about this in last week’s column, but I’ll summarize here.

Earlier this year Vineland was awarded a five-year National Preservation Program (NPP) designation through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, with an initial $125,000 grant to generate visible, tangible change in the Landis Avenue Downtown Vineland NPP District driven by residents and business owners. It’s anticipated that the District will receive up to $125,000 a year for five years to assist with economic and community development.

The online survey is directed at people who live, work, shop, and eat in Landis Avenue’s downtown district. It will help determine projects and priorities designed to revitalize and rejuvenate the area located in and around the Landis Avenue economic corridor and boost economic growth.

The survey is available in multiple languages, including Spanish. The deadline to complete it is Friday, December 31 at 12 midnight. Go to events.theave.biz/survey or use the QR Code that’s posted below as well as in last week’s column, in flyers, and in Facebook posts.

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On the Ave