Sixty-seven percent of Moorestown residents voted in favor of reversing the law — which bans businesses that offer games of chance with prizes, and has been in effect within the municipality for 60 years — this past Election Day.
That means a big revitalization for the Moorestown Mall, the second-largest taxpayer for the municipality, according to Mayor Nicole Gillespie.
"The vision for the revitalization includes things you wouldn't have expect to see in a mall," Gillespie tells Daily Voice.
Think go-kart racing, a ropes course adventure, a Dave & Buster's-type of game room, complete with a liquor license, the mayor said.
Talks of putting the question on Moorestown's ballot began in 2018, just after Gillespie was elected and she was approached by the mall's owners, PREIT, she said.
"I had no idea that this was the way of things on Moorestown," Gillespie said. "They had been working on this for a long time, and it’s part of a larger vision to revitalize that mall and turn it into a town center with all kinds of services — not just the shopping and dining that one would associate with the mall."
Cooper University Hospital is opening an outpatient facility at the mall, and could start welcoming patients as early as the end of November, the mayor said. An apartment complex is coming to the same complex, too.
The 33% of residents who voted down the ballot question were concerned that the change could be the first step to allow gamboling, which Gillespie said is "categorically untrue." The mayor also heard grumblings that residents felt that because there are other similar entertainment venues nearby, that Moorestown didn't need one of its own.
"Most of the opposition was based on some uncertainty rather than being deeply opposed to the businesses that might’ve been there," Gillespie said.
"It will be more about experience than just shopping and dining... a mixed-use venue where one could spend the afternoon, and do all kinds of things."
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