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The blossoming of Cherry Hill

Joe Zanghi's gift

The glorious cherry blossoms along Chapel Avenue are reaching a peak, and Joe Zanghi is a happy man. But the tireless booster of all things Cherry Hill is sad, too.

Zanghi, 78,  has long hoped to see the boulevard of trees become a centerpiece of an annual civic celebration, as well as a catalyst for unification of  the Camden County, NJ township's far-flung neighborhoods. But things haven't quite worked out that way.

"Maybe I'm a dreamer," says Zanghi, who moved his family from Southwest Philly to Cherry Hill in 1967 and started planting the Kwanza variety cherry trees on the avenue six years later.  Now there are 800 of them, with several hundred more around public buildings.

"The cherry blossom is a symbol," Zanghi says. "It's time for the township to come together."

He's been frustrated that the township has sometimes not embraced or publicized the annual show of blossoms with much enthusiasm.

But the beautiful display along Chapel Avenue has hardly gone unnoticed.

"Get on over to Chapel Avenue this week or you'll miss"  the blossoms,  longtime Cherry Hill resident and prolific blogger Dan Cirucci writes. "And trust me, you don't want to miss this!"