Could Jackson Township become the new commerce hub of Ocean County? 

Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ

A strategic planning study could signal big changes for the future of the community, best known for housing one of the largest theme park's in the country.  But what will this mean for the residents who live here?  There could be good news in terms of the tax base.

Jackson is the third largest municipality in the state of New Jersey.  It's home to thousands as well as Six Flags Great Adventure.  But Mayor Mike Reina believes there is much more to explore.  His goal is to shift the tax ratable base from residential to commercial development - something he feels would not only help the economy - but it would also take some of the strain away from homeowners.

Reina adds "the people who live here, like in other areas of the state, are being squeezed enough as it is.  By bringing in clean and sustainable ratables, there are possibilities that could reduce that burden and allow job creation to happen.  Wouldn't it be great for residents to be able to work in the town they reside in as well?  I think so."

In June 2011, Mayor Michael Reina held an Economic Development Summit to discuss the future economic growth of the Township.  One of the many opportunities discussed was the creation of a lodging facility on or adjacent to Six Flags.

Mayor Reina reached out to the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs  (DCA) to seek assistance  from its Local Planning Services Unit in addressing the Township Master Plan as it related to moving forward, particularly with regards to tourism, job creation and land development.

The township is centrally located between the New York and Philadelphia Metropolitan area, as it is 63 miles from New York City and 43 miles from Philadelphia.  In addition, Jackson is 22 miles to the Jersey Shore and 27 miles to Trenton, our State Capital.

The DCA Local Planning Services report provides a comprehensive primary and secondary market feasibility study, project proforma analysis, and site selection.  The results of the New Jersey Institute of Technology College of Architecture and Design report, included the following elements:

1.         Overnight accommodation of 600 rooms, 200 to be open all year round with indoor pool/ spa/ fitness center/ business and conference center

2.         30,000 sq ft retail/ entertainment venue inclusive of restaurants and retail shops with Main Street feel to be open all year round.

3.         Infrastructure- inclusive of transportation and storm water management.

This comprehensive planning document will be incorporated within the request for proposal for investment opportunity/ hotel entertainment venue in the Jackson Township solicitation for a master developer.