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Saturday, June 15, 2024


Stockton, DEP Sign Ponderlodge Agreement


By Herald Staff

VILLAS — The state Department of Environmental Protection, which owns Villas Wildlife Management Area on which the former Ponderlodge is located, and the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey signed an memorandum of understanding on Wednesday, Aug. 5 that will permit the college the use of the buildings as an educational center.
According to Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-1st), who intervened to get the parties to discuss the possibility of using Ponderlodge for college purposes, all parties are now set to move forward on the plan. He said the memorandum of understanding was “signed and sealed.”
Van Drew called it a good day for the county and the state
According to a previous Herald story, 10 acres of Ponderlodge including the main lodge building will be preserved as an environmental education center.
In an earlier interview, Van Drew said he expected DEP would issue a permit to the college which will allow them to begin cleaning up the property, get a security guard and secure the buildings.
A long-term lease will be written for Stockton College. Details of the lease will be outlined in the memorandum of understanding.
Activist Barbara Skinner began the drive to save Ponderlodge contacting organizations and colleges for three years hoping to find a reuse for the 250 acre property to prevent a planned demolition of the lodge building by DEP. She met with Van Drew on April 2 giving him petitions with signatures supporting the project.
Skinner contacted Stockton College and suggested Ponderlodge as site for an environmental education center.She told the Herald she was “so pleased that it has become a reality and hoped Lower Township will give Stockton College a warm welcome.
Skinner said she looked forward to the lodge building being renovated and opening day.
“It’s a great step forward for everybody and particularly for the environment and for all of Cape May County,” she said.
“We’re on cloud nine,” said Lower Township Mayor Michael Beck. “It’s a fantastic plus for Stockton and a fantastic plus for Lower Township.”
“We are going to be known as a college town and we are looking forward to that,” he continued.

Spout Off

Lower Township – As a retired long time bus driver for NJT,and an even longer resident of LT : Thank you to all the school bus drivers for an accident free year. It is a monumental achievement in this day and age!

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