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National Park is a borough in Gloucester County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 3,036, reflecting a decline of 169 (-5.3%) from the 3,205 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 208 (-6.1%) from the 3,413 counted in the 1990 Census. Despite its name, National Park is neither a national park nor associated with one.
In 1777, during the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Army under command of George Washington constructed two forts on the Delaware River to block the approach to Philadelphia: Fort Mifflin on the Pennsylvania side and Fort Mercer on the New Jersey side in what is now National Park. The fort was named in honor of Brigadier General Hugh Mercer who had died earlier that year at the Battle of Princeton. A park, monument, and museum commemorate the fort on its original site.
On October 22 of that year, in what is known as the Battle of Red Bank, an attack by 900 Hessian troops, serving under British Major General William Howe, who then occupied Philadelphia, was repelled, with heavy losses on the Hessian side (including the death of their commander, Colonel Carl Emil Kurt von Donop) by the 600 Continental defenders under Colonel Christopher Greene. After the loss of Fort Mifflin, Fort Mercer was abandoned without a fight when Lord Charles Cornwallis landed 2,000 British troops nearby on November 18.
Beginning in 1895, the area was commercially developed as a religious retreat for members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and called National Park on the Delaware. The founder, the Rev. James E. Lake, also created Ocean City, New Jersey.
National Park was formed as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 15, 1902, from portions of West Deptford Township. The town name probably originated in reference to the Red Bank Battlefield Park.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.452 square miles (3.762 km2), including 1.004 square miles (2.601 km2) of land and 0.448 square miles (1.161 km2) of water (30.86%).
The borough borders West Deptford Township and the Delaware River. The Delaware River shore faces the southern end of Philadelphia, approximately across from the mouth of the Schuylkill River and the site of Fort Mifflin.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 3,036 people, 1,092 households, and 815.7 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,023.2 per square mile (1,167.3/km2). There were 1,153 housing units at an average density of 1,148.1 per square mile (443.3/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 96.28% (2,923) White, 1.35% (41) Black or African American, 0.16% (5) Native American, 0.59% (18) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 0.13% (4) from other races, and 1.48% (45) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.04% (62) of the population.
There were 1,092 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.5% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.3% were non-families. 20.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the borough, the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 30.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.2 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 93.2 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $65,852 (with a margin of error of +/- $5,987) and the median family income was $70,341 (+/- $8,049). Males had a median income of $51,886 (+/- $2,493) versus $32,788 (+/- $5,594) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $26,699 (+/- $2,574). About 4.1% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.8% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 3,205 people, 1,111 households, and 865 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,219.0 people per square mile (1,237.5/km2). There were 1,165 housing units at an average density of 1,170.1 per square mile (449.8/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.35% White, 0.09% Black, 0.25% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 0.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.44% of the population.
There were 1,111 households out of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.2% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.1% were non-families. 18.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.24.
In the borough the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $48,534, and the median income for a family was $51,535. Males had a median income of $35,102 versus $27,398 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $18,048. About 6.5% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.7% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
National Park is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. 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 in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by National Park, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2016, the Mayor of National Park is Democrat Mark Cooper, whose term of office ends December 31, 2019. Members of the Borough Council are Council President David Misilewich (D, 2018), Dennis R. Burke (D, 2016), James J. Butler (D, 2018), Joy Hibbs (D, 2016; elected to serve an unexpired term), Larry Prelle Sr. (D, 2017) and Joseph N. Smashey Sr. (D, 2017).
Joy Hibbs was selected by the Borough Council in August 2014 from three names nominated by the municipal Democratic committee to fill the vacant seat of Dennis Mehaffey, who resigned in the previous month due to conflicts with his work schedule. in the November 2014 general election, Hibbs was elected to serve the balance of the term though December 2016.
National Park is located in the 1st Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 3rd state legislative district.
New Jersey's First Congressional District is represented by Donald Norcross (D, Camden). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, 2019).
For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 3rd Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Stephen M. Sweeney (D, West Deptford Township) and in the General Assembly by John J. Burzichelli (D, Paulsboro) and Adam Taliaferro (D, Woolwich Township). The Governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy (D, Middletown Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Sheila Oliver (D, East Orange).
Gloucester County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose seven members are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis in partisan elections, with two or three seats coming up for election each year. At a reorganization meeting held each January, the Board selects a Freeholder Director and a Deputy Freeholder Director from among its members. As of 2018, Gloucester County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger (D, West Deptford Township; term as freeholder and as freeholder director ends December 31, 2018), Deputy Freeholder Director Giuseppe "Joe" Chila (D, Woolwich Township; term as freeholder and as freeholder deputy director ends 2018), Lyman J. Barnes (D, Logan Township; 2020), Daniel Christy (D, Washington Township; 2019), Frank J. DiMarco (D, Deptford Township; 2019), Jim Jefferson (D, Woodbury; 2020) and Heather Simmons (D, Glassboro; 2020). Constitutional officers elected countywide are County Clerk James N. Hogan (D, Franklinville in Franklin Township; 2022), Sheriff Carmel Morina (D, Greenwich Township; 2018) and Surrogate Helene M. Reed (D, Monroe Township; 2022).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 2,045 registered voters in National Park, of which 1,021 (49.9%) were registered as Democrats, 213 (10.4%) were registered as Republicans and 811 (39.7%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were no voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 63.8% of the vote (819 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 34.4% (442 votes), and other candidates with 1.8% (23 votes), among the 1,301 ballots cast by the borough's 2,064 registered voters (17 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 63.0%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 59.5% of the vote (892 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 37.3% (560 votes) and other candidates with 1.7% (26 votes), among the 1,500 ballots cast by the borough's 2,164 registered voters, for a turnout of 69.3%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 60.9% of the vote (868 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 37.6% (536 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (15 votes), among the 1,426 ballots cast by the borough's 2,069 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 68.9.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 64.6% of the vote (469 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 32.0% (232 votes), and other candidates with 3.4% (25 votes), among the 746 ballots cast by the borough's 2,041 registered voters (20 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 36.6%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 46.2% of the vote (408 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 40.2% (355 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 10.2% (90 votes) and other candidates with 0.8% (7 votes), among the 883 ballots cast by the borough's 2,095 registered voters, yielding a 42.1% turnout.
The National Park School District serves public school students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade at National Park Elementary School. As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its one school had an enrollment of 295 students and 25.2 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.7:1.
Students in public school for seventh through twelfth grades attend Gateway Regional High School, which serves students from the boroughs of National Park, Wenonah, Westville and Woodbury Heights as part of the Gateway Regional High School District. As of the 2014-15 school year, the school had an enrollment of 961 students and 81.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.9:1.
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 15.68 miles (25.23 km) of roadways, of which 12.59 miles (20.26 km) were maintained by the municipality and 3.09 miles (4.97 km) by Gloucester County.
NJ Transit local bus service is available on the 455 route operating between Cherry Hill Mall and Paulsboro.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with National Park include:
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