How The B.A.R. started
Keith Gibbons has been a Blackwood resident since 2006. As a single father with one daughter getting older and asking more mature questions, Keith decided it was the perfect opportunity to actually show her the answer to “Daddy, where do streets come from?”
Father and daughter began attending all the public meetings they were able to attend. From these, his daughter’s new questions were around why things take so long to happen. With this question, Keith could not simply answer “Bureaucracy”. Instead, he decided to show her that you do not have to wait for someone else. Change can happen from anyone, including the two of them. From there, Keith began the process of forming a nonprofit organization to make a difference.
Recently, Gloucester Township was awarded a 5 year grant for a neighborhood preservation which will help rejuvenate the Arts District in downtown Blackwood.
The community was encouraged to join a zoom meeting to discuss what they would like to see happen with the program. After all, this is where they eat, live, and work.
To say the turnout was pathetic would be an understatement. There are 4900+ residents alone in Blackwood. There may have been 15 people total in attendance which included the local NPP coordinator, a consultant and a couple of township meeting regulars, including Keith.
Because of the abysmal turnout, it became clear the reason is that we simply do not have a community. It is sad but true.
We don’t talk to our neighbors. We don’t get involved . There has been a global pandemic keeping everyone apart which only amplifies the trend of separation.
While Gloucester Township is handling the NPP, Keith decided he was going to head up building the community. Getting neighbors out. Bringing community events to for people to attend.
What is stopping you from joining the community?
Logo above is property of Gloucester Township