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Bellmawr’s Sixth Ave. Playground Dedicated in Honor of Former Mayor Thomas E. Jenkins: “The Father of the Pocket Park”

Thomas E. Jenkins was the Mayor of Bellmawr from 1968-1974.

On Saturday, June 25, 2022, Bellmawr’s Sixth Avenue Playground was dedicated in honor of the late Thomas E. Jenkins, who served as Mayor of the Borough from 1968-1974.

Members of the Jenkins family were in attendance for the dedication along with Mayor Chuck Sauter, Councilmen Jim D’Angelo, Ray Bider, Jamie Casey, Bill Evans, Councilwoman Johann Fina, Director of Public Works, Joe Ciano, and Superintendent of Recreation, Gary Sauter.


The following are excerpts from those who delivered remarks at the dedication.

Councilman Ray Bider

Councilman Bider lived across the street from the Jenkins family. He said: “I feel that I knew Tom pretty well. Tom’s goals and ideals for the community are what it is all about. Tom cared about Bellmawr. He didn’t care about Republicans or Democrats and that’s my philosophy as well.”


Councilman Ray Bider speaks at the dedication of the Mayor Thomas E. Jenkins Memorial Playground. Also pictured are Councilman Bill Evans, Councilwoman Johann Fina, and Mayor Chuck Sauter. (SJO Photo)

“In a small town, you need to care about your residents. I am very happy to have known Tom, his ideals, and his family. This is a place that can grow in his name. This is well-deserved and [Tom] was a great man for the community of Bellmawr.”

Councilman Jim D’Angelo

“Everyone’s input was involved in this project and all of Council and the Mayor were behind it,” Councilman D’Angelo said.

Councilman Jim D’Angelo delivers remarks at the dedication of the Mayor Thomas E. Jenkins Memorial Playground. Also pictured are Councilmen Jamie Casey, Ray Bider, Bill Evans, Councilwoman Johann Fina, and Mayor Chuck Sauter. (SJO Photo)

“This park was picked because there are areas for it to grow. For a low-impact park, something that doesn’t disturb the residents, the potential for this park is great and that’s why [it] was picked.”

Rich Jenkins

“My dad was a humble man, a quiet man. But if you knew him one-on-one, he was a funny guy. This is my field of dreams. We are here to honor him.”

Rich Jenkins speaks about his father, the late Thomas E. Jenins. Also pictured are Councilmen Jim D’Angelo, Bill Evans, Ray Bider, Councilwoman Johann Fina, and Mayor Chuck Sauter. (SJO Photo)

Jim Jenkins

“How nice it was to grow up in this town. It was known for good sports fields.  It was a great place to grow up. We were all very lucky to have people not just like my dad…They were the greatest generation, and we were very lucky to have them in our lives. That was emblematic of that generation.”

Jim Jenkins speaks about his father, the late Thomas E. Jenkins. Also pictured are Councilmen Bill Evans and Ray Bider, Councilwoman Johann Fina, Rich Jenkins, and Mayor Chuck Sauter. (SJO Photo)

Mayor Chuck Sauter

“I have known the Jenkins family for a long time,” Mayor Sauter said. “The late Mayor Thomas E. Jenkins, was the creator of many of Bellmawr’s unique recreational features, but he was definitely the Father of the ‘Pocket Park.'”

Mayor Chuck Sauter speaks at the dedication of the Thomas E. Jenkins Memorial Playground. Also pictured are Councilmen Ray Bider, Bill Evans and Councilwoman Johann Fina. (SJO Photo)

“Mayor Jenkins left a legacy of childhood memories for any child or adult, and for whoever swung on Bellmawr’s swings, spun on the merry-go-rounds until they couldn’t stand up, or played Squish the Lemon on the high, hot slides at playgrounds throughout town.”

“His vision was to identify individual neighborhood areas where kids became friends, parents became protectors of not only their children, but all children, and most importantly, where neighbors became neighborhoods deep with pride that is still present today.”

“May this park provide the magic, enjoyment, and excitement as all of the parks Mayor Thomas E. Jenkins envisioned during his term as Mayor of Bellmawr 1968-1974. He served Bellmawr well.”

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3 replies on “Bellmawr’s Sixth Ave. Playground Dedicated in Honor of Former Mayor Thomas E. Jenkins: “The Father of the Pocket Park””

oddly Google maps shows this park as the Petruzzi Children’s playground. Was it renamed from one mayor to another?

I asked the same question. In the future, there should be another park or playground created or renovated that is closer to former Mayor Petruzzi’s house.

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