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Almost $40K Later...What Did Woodbridge Get for Marketing the Community Center?

Can a PR firm generate enough publicity to make the community center and golf course pay off?


When the Woodbridge Council allotted almost $40,000 to a PR firm to market the Woodbridge Community Center in 2012, what were they getting for their money?

So far, there's been a new logo and a new program name, the Woodbridge Family Series, a compilation of events that have been held in the township throughout the years.

The Have-A-Heart Food Drive, the Easter Egg Hunt, even have all been regrouped into the Family Series. The YMCA, the Arenas ice skating rink, and the Skyline Mini-Golf course all come under the heading of money-making ventures that Mayor John McCormac is hoping will produce the revenue he's looking for.

McCormac endorsed the hiring of 20 Lemons, the PR firm that is hawking the Community Center's events.

The township posted an explanation of its repackaged series as "a year-round entertainment showcase featuring concerts, plays, movies, workshops, and other fun-filled special events geared towards families and kids..."

The repackaged series is described as "improving the quality of life for residents and visitors," with an emphasis on drawing non-Woodbridge residents to the township, presumably to bring business and revenues to town.

"Most of the events are free," the website explains.

"With its quality brand of performers, the Family Series attracts visitors from throughout Central New Jersey."

The PR firm seems to be pushing the mini-golf course, which opened in April, 2012. Even in January, the course still seems to be open. The Woodbridge Chamber of Commerce recently held a business card exchange, while touting the golf course as one of the attractions for the $15 fee.

The 18-hole miniature golf course, built on a capped landfill site, cost $428,000 in bond money to build. In April when it opened, McCormac bragged that the golf course would generate as much as $500,000 in revenue.

The figures so far seem to fall far short of the mayor's estimates.

Before Hurricane Sandy hit Woodbridge, the township said in an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request that the golf course had brought in $79,267 in revenue.

The only expenses the bookkeepers are figuring, though, is the cost of part-time help to run the golf course. The expense costs, received in response to an OPRA request for the same time period of April through September, was $17,165.

That leaves a net profit of $62,102, based on these figures.

The salaries of other employees were not included in the calculations, nor was the cost of the borrowed money. The cost of the salaries of township public works employees who worked overtime the week before the grand opening of the course, repouring cement and landscaping the property was not included, nor the cost of materials used to finish the course on time.

The almost $40,000 to hire the 20 Lemons firm to promote the community center, and the miniature golf course, was not included in the OPRA request response.

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unknownauthor January 22, 2013 at 03:15 PM
If memory serves, the Mac Putt-putt only brought in $40K + since it opened, less staff and operating costs. So the 20 Lemons promo deal equates to a real MacDeal; a Big Loser for the taxpayers and a nice bonus for the young woman who runs 20 Lemons! Mac is such a benefactor and business promoter, especially if: http://www.savorthesuccess.com/member/noelle-stary
OFFICIAL BUSINESS January 22, 2013 at 04:34 PM
This is nothing new, another wasted $40k. Its the Johnny Mac Way. Don't forget he wasted more on the SRECs, From $650.00 down to Less then $60.00 another great Woodbridge ventor. Next he will be changing the name of Main street, to JOHNNYMAC WAY! Wait Up Woodbridge Tax Payers.
Irina January 22, 2013 at 04:43 PM
NOTHING..... Tax payers are the LOSERS again, Mac's buddies at 20 lemons made a mint for the NOTHING. WAKE UP TAXPAYERS, MAC IS KILLING YOU WITH STUPID EXPENDATURES
gam January 22, 2013 at 05:55 PM
I believe they have been allocated money for PR for the CC in the new budget also.
Tauseef January 22, 2013 at 06:02 PM
He would've hired a temp PR manager with this amount. It was definitely be more beneficial. Tax payers = Losers
Tamara Winfrey January 22, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Nah they just got poison dirt to use for landscaping.
Susan Quinn January 22, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Maybe if they had a sign for the mini golf people would know it was there. It can't be seen from the street.
nuvo January 22, 2013 at 10:07 PM
there is absolutely nothing on the 20 Lemons corporate website to indicate she ever did ANY work for Woodbridge Township at all. Her new clients are the Colonial Diner in East Brunswick and a restaurant in FLORHAM PARK, the Thirsty Turtle. 20 Lemons specializes in restaurant marketing.
Irina January 22, 2013 at 10:31 PM
@nuvo I guess you missed this Patch article! http://woodbridge.patch.com/articles/woodbridge-spends-more-than-30k-to-market-community-center
Conni Spellman January 23, 2013 at 02:01 AM
@I have spoken: nuvo said there is "nothing on the 20 Lemons corporate website to indicate she ever did any work for Woodbridge Township" . And there isn't. The Patch article isn't what they were talking about.
slyfox1961 January 23, 2013 at 12:40 PM
If Woodbridge would have hired a PR firm from outside the township, they would have been condemned for not giving the work to a local business. If they hire someone from inside the township, they are accused of cronyism. They just can't win.
Katy Lake January 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Slyfox, as usual, misses the point by a country mile. Why do we need a PR firm at ALL?? Cause the mayor has to make up that half million on his play golf course? Why do taxpayers have to pay to advertise a community center? Is it a failure?
Irina January 23, 2013 at 01:22 PM
@Katy Lake As always Slyfox1961 is defending that slob Mac. I suspect he IS Mac. EVERYTHING Mac does cost the taxpayers out the nose and as always, suspect. VOTERS WAKE UP, Show Mac the door at election time!!!
Irina January 23, 2013 at 01:23 PM
yea OK, whatever
slyfox1961 January 24, 2013 at 04:13 PM
@I have spoken: where dexactly am I defending MAC? Please point out where I even mention his name. What I am doing is pointing out that if MAC or anyone associated with his administration cured cancer, you, Maras, Katy Lake, and others of your kind would have fault with it. Every town has a buinch of sour grapes such as you. Read slowly so you undersatnd: I am not pro MAC, I am anti YOU.
unknownauthor January 26, 2013 at 01:32 PM
@Susan Quinn. There is a large sign advertising Skyline Mini Golf at the corner of Main St. and Antares Dr. The township also has advertising on the township website. Both line, a young man suggested to the mayor it would be nice to have a miniature golf course and voila, $500,000.00 dollars later, the taxpayers in the township have another tax handicap. Not sure if Mac plays more golf at the mini course or the much more ($650.00/yr + green fees & cart {75.00} ) semi-public Colonia CC. Of course, CCC is much closer to his home and has a 19th hole! Which course do you think he prefers?
unknownauthor January 26, 2013 at 01:38 PM
@slyfox1961 Only the big PAC money players get the $$$ studies, in case you haven't noticed. When the records come back from an OPRA request, we'll see what 20 Lemons has done and what they were paid! Do you think the contract award to 20 Lemons was on a competitive basis, or just on "face value"? Unfortunately, your boy and his troops are winners; just not for Woodbridge!
unknownauthor January 26, 2013 at 01:50 PM
@slyfox1961 When aren't you defending MAC, either directly or in directly? Talk about a devotee! When the community has a bunch of bananas, like the MacBunch, it is easy to understand why many residence are souring on that bunch; they are the pits!
nuvo January 26, 2013 at 05:57 PM
The mini-golf course is closed for the winter. So it's not bringing in any money now.

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