It's a new year with new goals and expectations for everyone but you can expect to see things happening in Manchester Township as well in 2022.

Mayor Robert Hudak, who was appointed to that position in 2021 following the resignation of Mayor Ken Palmer, won election in November to a 1-year unexpired term.

He's looking to hit the ground running to open up the new year with plans to address several areas of need and continue to grow the township.

Three of his big objectives to address are bringing economic development to Whiting, working on preservation of open space and fiscal responsibility across the township.

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At the reorganization meeting this month, the council approved a resolution creating the Manchester Township Economic Development Advisory Board which will include four residents, one council member, one planning board member and one zoning board member.

"I've heard a lot of concerns about folks who -- want to see commercial eatables come into Whiting, so on that front I put together what's called the Economic Development Advisory Council and they're going to work with me on projects to help bring in retailers such as Aldi and Lidl and other possibilities coming into Whiting," Hudak tells Townsquare Media News. "We're also seeing some preliminary plans to do some other work out there including possibly bringing in a car wash, which is something I heard a lot about on the campaign, as well as other ratables to Whiting -- restaurants and a few other commercial one-residential developments."

While anyone could develop a wishlist for what stores, restaurants, etc. they want to see in a given municipality, there is a process that has to be played out to see if those wishes can become realities.

"Retailers are constantly doing demographic studies to see where they could get the most profit but township's can also market their communities in some way, shape or form -- which is why I formed the Business and Economic Development committee -- to help me with that," Hudak said. "I know some residents, on their own, have been putting together petitions and things like that, certainly it is very helpful and I encourage them to do that, but I wanted to coordinate those efforts so that we can reach out to those retailers and say 'hey, give us a second look'."

One chain the town hopes gives them another look is Aldi.

"We've reached out to them on a number of occasions, they have taken a look around, they have not expressed any interest at this time, however, we want to keep our name on the front burner so to speak, so we keep contacting them and reaching out to them just to ensure that they know that we are here and I think that's a big part of what we need to do," Hudak said.

In addition to ratables, open space and preventing overdevelopment is another priority for Manchester in 2022, Mayor Hudak explains, especially on the eastern part of town.

"I've been working with the county -- and move forward with the program -- to buy more open space, it's very expensive now, the real estate market is hot so it does bring some challenges, however, I'm proud to announce that the county and the township are partnering on the purchase of the Surf & Stream campground (off of Route 571)," Hudak said. "It'll go a long way towards preserving that property and that was slated to develop into about 245-apartment units, so we'll be stopping that overdevelopment on that property."

In addition, Manchester Township is closing in on completing a renovation project of Bowker field in Whiting, working on finalizing plans to complete the Whiting cell phone tower project in 2022, cap the Whiting landfill at no cost to residents and create a solar filed on that land as well as address flooding issues at Pine Lake Park and across Manchester.

To learn more about what restaurants and retail stores could soon be coming to Whiting or any other part of Manchester as well as the latest on plans for 2022, check out the latest episode of 'Eyes on The Jersey Shore' with Mayor Robert Hudak as the guest.


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