Lakewood, NJ – Lakewood Disbands Merchants Commission


    e Lakewood Downtown Merchants Commission Photo: thelakewoodscoop.comLakewood, NJ – The Township Committee has disbanded the Lakewood Downtown Merchants Commission less than a year after its formation, following claims by the mayor that its chairman had made the business-support group “too political.”

    Mayor Steven Langert, in an interview a day after the committee’s unanimous vote Thursday, said he plans to reshape the commission and fold it into the township’s Lakewood Development Corp., which already oversees the Urban Enterprise Zone — the town’s funding apparatus for commercial growth.

    It “lost its way in its mission,” he said of the commission. “But I still want a platform for downtown merchants to have a voice.”

    Langert accused the commission’s leader, Hershel Herskowitz, of using the position to attack political opponents, namely Langert and Committeeman Robert Singer. Herskowitz lost a close committee race against Singer in April.

    In turn, Herskowitz called the committee’s move a “vengeful act.”

    “What they don’t understand is I was just trying to get things accomplished,” he said.

    The commission of six local business owners was created and sanctioned by the township last winter as a lobbying force to restore the downtown area around Clifton Avenue and tailor its commercial makeup.

    Langert said he hopes to get a recommendation from the town’s economic development director, Steven Reinman, shortly on how to reincarnate the commission under the LDC.

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