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Palmyra, New Jersey

Palmyra is a Borough in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the United States 2000 Census, the borough population was 7,091.

Palmyra was originally incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 19, 1894, from portions of Cinnaminson Township and Riverton. On February 20, 1923, Palmyra was reincorporated as a borough.

Geography

Palmyra is located at 40°00′10″N 75°01′35″W/ 40.002780°N 75.026263°W / 40.002780; -75.026263 (40.002780, -75.026263).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.3 km2), of which, 2.0 square miles (5.1 km2) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.1 km2) of it (18.18%) is water.

Palmyra borders Riverton, Cinnaminson Township, Camden County, and the Delaware River. Across the Delaware, it borders the Tacony section of Philadelphia to which it is connected via Route 73 by the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, which is named for the two communities connected by the bridge.

Demographics

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 7,091 people, 3,004 households, and 1,853 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,586.9 people per square mile (1,382.8/km2). There were 3,219 housing units at an average density of 1,628.3/sq mi (627.7/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 80.99% White, 14.34% African American, 0.30% Native American, 1.40% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.41% from other races, and 1.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.23% of the population.

There were 3,004 households out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.3% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the borough the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.8 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $51,150, and the median income for a family was $57,192. Males had a median income of $42,910 versus $31,445 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $23,454. About 2.2% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.2% of those under age 18 and 2.4% of those age 65 or over.

History

The area that is now Palmyra was settled in the late 17th century by Swedes, marking the northernmost border of New Sweden. A farmhouse built in 1761 by the third generation settlers still remains as the oldest house in Palmyra. This remained a farming area until after the building of the Camden and Amboy Railroad in 1834, after which railroad workers bought lots along the railroad and built their homes there. The community was originally known as Texas, but a local landowner, Isaiah Toy, a descendant of the original Swedish settlers, wanted to have a post office established, and felt the name Texas undignified. Toy, a stockholder in the Camden and Amboy Railroad, convinced the railroad to change the name of the station in 1849 to Palmyra, which came from his love of ancient history. Palmyra was the name of an important city in ancient times located in central Syria. The post office was established in 1851. Palmyra, along with Bordentown, Burlington, Moorestown, and Mount Holly, established its high school in the late 1890s, making it one of the oldest high schools in Burlington County and in New Jersey.[9]

The town was laid out in 1850, when Joseph Souder’s land was broken up into building lots to pay his debts. The street names match those of Center City Philadelphia – Market, Arch, Race, and Vine (from south to north), and Front Street and numbered streets from the Delaware River. What is now Palmyra was part of Chester Township, one of the original townships in Burlington County. Palmyra became a part of Cinnaminson Township when that township was set off from Chester in 1860. Palmyra Township was set off from Cinnaminson in 1894, and Palmyra was incorporated as a borough in 1923.

Government

Local government

Palmyra is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The government consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at large. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year.[10]

As of 2013, the Mayor of Palmyra is Karen A. Scheffler, Esq.  Council President is David Dorworth and the other members of Borough Council are Michele Dobbs, Robert Bostock, Howard Norcross and Carol Riener.[11]

Federal, state and county representation

Palmyra is in the First Congressional District and is part of New Jersey’s 7th Legislative District.[12]

New Jersey’s First Congressional District, covering portions of Burlington County, Camden County and Gloucester County, is represented by Rob Andrews (D, Haddon Heights). New Jersey is represented in the Senate by Frank Lautenberg (D, Cliffside Park) and Bob Menendez (D, Hoboken).

For the 2008-2009 Legislative Session, the 7th district of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Diane Allen (R, Edgewater Park Township) and in the Assembly by Herb Conaway (D, Delanco Township) and Jack Conners (D, Pennsauken Township).[13] The Governor of New Jersey is Jon Corzine (D, Hoboken).[14]

Burlington County is governed by a five-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, elected at-large to three-year terms on a staggered basis. As of 2008[update], Burlington County’s Freeholders are Freeholder Director James K. Wujcik (Cinnaminson Township, 2009), Deputy Director Joseph B. Donnelly (Cinnaminson Township, 2010), Dawn Marie Addiego (Evesham Township, 2008), Aubrey A. Fenton (Willingboro Township, 2008) and William S. Haines, Jr. (Medford Township, 2009).[15]

Education

The Palmyra Public Schools serves residents of Palmyra, and those from Beverly and Riverton who attend the district’s high school as part of sending/receiving relationships.[16] Schools in the district (with 2005-06 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[17]) are a preschool handicapped program at Delaware Avenue Elementary School (33 students), Charles Street Elementary School for grades K-6 (456 students), and Palmyra High School for grades 7-12 (600 students).

Transportation

The Palmyra station on the River Line light rail system is located on East Broad Street. The station opened on March 15, 2004. Southbound service from the station is available to Camden, New Jersey. Northbound service is available to the Trenton Rail Station with connections to New Jersey Transit trains to New York City, SEPTA trains to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Amtrak trains. Transfer to the PATCO Speedline is available at the Walter Rand Transportation Center.

New Jersey Transit provides bus service to Philadelphia on the 317 line.