On the Ave: Welcome Workshop

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Main Street Vineland is putting out the welcome mat as host of one of three Main Street New Jersey Regional Workshops later this month.

As I write this, I’m holding down the fort while Main Street Vineland Associate Director Robert Scarpa is wrapping up three days at this year’s National Main Streets Conference, as the welcome mat is being put out for Main Street representatives from across the country. Far from being a vacation, it’s always a unique opportunity to learn and be reenergized as Main Street leaders discover new ideas, programs, and initiatives to bring back to their communities. It’s also a valuable opportunity to network with community, state, and national Main Street leaders to share information and ideas. Exhibitors are also on hand to show innovations that can help the communities. When Robert comes back, I’m sure he’ll have a lot of information to share; a future column will deal with that.

Main Street Vineland and the City itself, however, will also have the opportunity to put out the welcome mat for Main Street, state and civic leadership from throughout the state on Wednesday, April 24. We will have the honor of hosting one of three Main Street New Jersey Regional Workshops, in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. It’ll take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Grant Plaza, 619 E. Landis Avenue, Vineland.

As Main Street New Jersey restarts and transitions into the 21st century, they are rebooting their program with new strategies to transform communities, understand community input, gather market information, and combine all of this into the Main Street program. Some interesting items are on the agenda and I’ll surely have a lot of information to share with you as time goes on.

The most important overarching part of this, however, is the opportunity for us to show off The Ave and all that we have to offer—to put our best foot forward. We had a similar honor of hosting a Main Street New Jersey conference three years ago—also at Grant Plaza. Visitors from throughout the state marveled at our downtown—the wide street, the businesses, the size of it, and the sense of community. Sometimes, we don’t see ourselves as others see us. You often need fresh eyes to get the right perspective.

So, the welcome mat stays out, along with the opportunity to grow and to show what we’re all about.


Don’t forget that Main Street Vineland’s second annual Diamond in the Rough Talent Competition is coming up this Friday, at 7 p.m., at the Landis Theater, 830 E. Landis Avenue. We’re excited that noted hip-hop lyrist Ahmad Graves-El—known as “The Lung”—will be the emcee. He’s performed in numerous venues across multiple states with his highly regarded and award-winning groups The KNomadz and KNomad Nation. He’s also acted on the stage in local community theater, including Cumberland Players’ recent production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. He is also an assistant content editor with SNJ Today. Tickets for the show are $15 ($10 for students and senior citizens);  purchased online at TheAve.biz. We also have sponsorship opportunities available.


Also, remember our Run The Ave 5K, taking place on Sunday, June 23, starting at 9 a.m. We’re partnering with Second Capital Running, with Premier Orthopaedic Associates as the major sponsor, and we’re looking for a good turnout of serious runners (no walkers). We’ll have professional timers, and medals will be awarded, including a “True Grit” award for our final finisher. Register at TheAve.biz, the event link. It’s $20 per runner and proceeds will benefit Main Street Vineland’s efforts to revitalize our historic downtown. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

For more information on Main Street Vineland, call 856-794-8653, visit TheAve.biz or check them out on Facebook. You can also e-mail rswanson@vinelandcity.org.


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