The Borough of Woodbine is located in the northwest corner of Cape May County, in southern New Jersey. Situated in the Pinelands National Reserve, Woodbine is physically located about 20 miles from the very affluent beachfront communities of Avalon and Stone Harbor and 30 miles from trendy, historic Cape May. But in perception, they are a million miles apart.
Woodbine shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s the hidden gem of the county. And continually preparing itself for future prosperity.
The rural, wooded town of 2,700 folks boasts an airport, a museum, the largest employer in the county, plenty of industry, an elementary school, recreation commission, volunteer fire department, and Belleplain State Park.
The 700-acre airport – one of only three in the county – is part of the 1,216-acre Woodbine Municipal Airport Economic Area. It employs 27 workers with an annual payroll of two-thirds of a million dollars. The 50-acre business park has a public sewer system in place in anticipation of future businesses locating there. An existing rail line opens more possibilities. A new golf course proposed by a private developer on the remaining land was scuttled when a glut of new golf courses in the county made it financially impractical.
Being one of only five towns in the 1.1 million acre Pinelands to receive the coveted Town designation, Woodbine is able to offer sewers for residences, plus commercial and industrial businesses. That makes it attractive to businesses throughout Cape May County looking to relocated to more spacious and less pricey properties. And the general purpose tax rate hasn’t increased in 19 years.
The little town is experiencing continual improvements. The Sam Azeez Museum of Woodbine Heritage recently completed a $2 million renovation and voters recently approved a $3.8 million project to upgrade the school, which includes solar panel installation. At the former landfill, Garden State Ethanol is in the permit process which will lead to building a 25-million gallon a year plant that will convert algae to ethanol.
The town owes much of its success and progress to Mayor William Pikolycky, who’s been in office for a couple decades. Last year alone he garnered $4.2 million in grants for Woodbine. In the past he has gotten bike trails and walking trails funded and built, and made many infrastructure improvements to the vibrant, multi-ethnic community.
So while many local communities march on as well-to-do seashore tourist locales, little Woodbine chugs along with an eye to the future. It truly is the Little Engine That Could.
– Mountain Man and City Girl
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