Page 38 - Guide to Greater Philadelphia
P. 38

in the protected areas, including more than 1,000 acres that comprise the County Parks System.
Camden County: With more than 500,000 residents, Camden County has the greatest economic range of the five counties. Many of its areas are thriving suburbs that attract tourists, new residents and busi- nesses, while the city of Camden has not kept up, as its manufacturing base has dwindled. Efforts are underway to revitalize the city of 77,000 and attract employers to create jobs.
Like many other cities nationwide, Camden is using its waterfront along the Delaware River to launch this rebirth, with outdoor concerts, sports arenas and new retail and residential space. Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, also has a downtown Camden campus with nearly 5,000 students.
Campbell Soup, perhaps Camden’s most famous employer, retains its world headquarters there as it has since 1869, though its 18,000 employees are spread across the world.
Similar to its neighboring counties, Camden features urban living, picturesque small towns with eclectic shops and fine dining, farmland and open space. Cherry Hill, at a convenient commuter distance from Philadelphia, is one of the most populous areas of the county, with just over 71,000 residents. Many work in Philadelphia or in other nearby counties. In Camden County, professional and social services, management and sales are among the most common employment fields. There is also a sizable legal and financial sector.
Camden County recently created a countywide alliance of 30 historical organizations and support agencies to build tourism and preserve the county’s historical riches.
Gloucester County: Just north of Salem County is Gloucester, a significantly larger county in both
land and population. But like its southern neighbor, Gloucester is highly agricultural and the impetus for many of the food companies that have sprung up within a 50-mile radius. There are 12,000 businesses of all sizes within the county.
In fact, Gloucester’s combination of agriculture, industry and proximity to a large city and excellent transportation systems make it an attractive place to call home — for your residence or business.
“Where Quality of Life is a Way of Life” has been the county’s motto for a number of years, and residents and county officials alike seem to take the motto to heart. Zoning, public safety and housing costs are all
of utmost importance — and the county has favorable records on all these counts. Perhaps the lower cost of living and eighth-lowest crime rate in the state account for Gloucester’s population growth to more than 290,000 residents. Projected growth is expected to be well above the state average.
Like much of this area, Gloucester County has seen the nation’s early history firsthand. Many Revolutionary War sites, such as the Red Bank
Battlefield and Fort Mercer, are carefully preserved. Buildings throughout the county date from the 1700s and pay homage to early American architecture in homes, churches and public buildings.
The only city, amid all the boroughs and townships, is Woodbury, the county seat and the oldest settlement, dating to 1683. By the time of
the American Revolution, Woodbury was already an established community. Today, it is home to 10,000 residents and a community committed to Woodbury’s history and its future.
Rowan University, located in Glassboro, is leading the exciting evolution of the county. With a focus on business, innovation, science and technology, Rowan is serving as a magnet for other institutions – hos- pitals like Insperia and shops large and small along Rowan Boulevard.
Mercer County: As the Capital County of New Jersey, Mercer County is rich in its history and opportu- nities, and boasts one of the strongest and most diverse economies in the nation.
Residents and businesses alike enjoy its proximity to the Philadelphia and New York metropolitan areas. Mercer County has more than 371,000 residents and is home to two of the state’s prominent municipalities: Trenton, the capital and county seat, and Princeton.
Educational Testing Service (ETS), the home of the SAT test, calls Mercer home, as does Opinion Research Corporation, which provides the basis for many polls and marketing surveys. Other companies with Mercer County offices include the Berlitz language education service, Bristol-Myers Squibb, the pharmaceutical giant with offices around the world, and the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Robbinsville.
The Mercer County transportation systems rival those of any region, with three major train stations along the NJ Transit Northeast Corridor Line; easy access to the New Jersey Turnpike and many major expressways; Trenton-Mercer Airport – a bustling national airport; an extensive bus system; and special transportation resources for older adults and people with physical disabilities.
The municipal school systems and many prestigious independent schools help to prepare younger residents for success later in life. Higher education institutions such as Princeton University, Rider University, The College of New Jersey, Thomas Edison State University and Mercer County Community College deeply enrich the county and region.
In addition to Trenton, with a population of 84,000 people, and nearby Hamilton Township, with even more residents, Mercer County offers small-town and rural living in its 12 municipalities. Small areas such as Pennington and Hopewell have quaint Main Streets, historic homes, open space and slower lifestyles than other areas of the county.
Mercer County’s park system is second to none, with more than 10,000 acres of open space and rec- reational facilities. Cultural and historical offerings
– museums, theater, art, battle re-enactments and more – add to the wonderful quality of life offered in Mercer County.
Salem County: Salem is perhaps best known among East Coast travelers as the county on the Delaware River, at the northern end of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. The New Jersey Turnpike also begins (and ends) there.
But there is much more to Salem County than markers on the highway. Settled as the first Quaker colony in North America in 1675, Salem remains an agricultural center with small towns, winding roads and buildings that harken back to its early history. The courthouse in Salem City is the second oldest in the United States in continuous use, and the oldest in the state. Salem is an ideal spot to get away from it all while being only 40 miles via I-295 from Center City Philadelphia.
With only about 65,000 residents and no population centers, Salem County is by far the least populated and most rural of these five counties. Agriculture remains an economic driver, with more than 40 percent of the county’s land dedicated to farms that bring in $80 million annually from the sale of crops and livestock. Soybeans, tomatoes, wheat and corn are among the county’s premier crops.
Other industries include energy production and manufacturing, especially glass, chemicals and commercial flooring. The growing employment sectors are expected to be healthcare, construction, retail, hospitality and transportation.
With recent additions such as, UPS and Five Below, warehousing and logistics also are a growing part of the county’s economic landscape.
Tourism has not fully blossomed in Salem County, but it is definitely considered a growth industry. The Salem County Tourism Advisory Council, created in 2008, works with the county’s Department of Tourism to promote county-wide events as well as its history, wineries, natural beauty, recreational opportunities and restful atmosphere.
For history buffs, Salem City offers two historic dis- tricts and a documented station along the Underground Railroad. One of the quirkiest attractions is the Cowtown Rodeo in Pilesgrove, the longest-running regular Saturday night rodeo in the country.
These five counties cut a wide swath up the west edge of New Jersey — and their location as well as the variety of housing and communities are big draws for new residents and employers. TThe quality of life is considered by many to be exceptional, and the economy strong — meaning that the future of this region looks bright.
36 | Guide to Greater Philadelphia

   36   37   38   39   40