Township revitalizes Veterans Park

By Matt Getty; Correspondent

Gloucester Township's Veterans Park saw positive changes throughout the fall season, according to officials. First, the township installed a 100 percent handicapped accessible tote-lot. The decision to use funding allowed through an open-space grant to add to Veterans Park came shortly after the state of New Jersey mandated that all municipalities no longer use wooden equipment at parks and other recreational public areas of town, officials said.

"At first we really didn't know what we were going to do to replace that area of land," Mayor Cindy Rau-Hatton said. "With the help of a grant from the Trust for Public Land, we were able to design and build this new playground. Since it was installed, I've noticed positive feedback from the public. We see kids on that thing from morning to night. It's a kid's dream."

Monkey bars in the shape of a fire truck are the most recent addition.

"We used about $38,000 of our open-space grant to make this happen," said Glen Moffa of the Public Works Department. "We noticed that we built something for children ages 5-12, but nothing for kids 2-5. We wanted to have something for our younger residents as well. I look in our catalog and pick out the fire truck."

According to Moffa, the second half of this project will include widening the running track and installing new benches. He says the benches will be purchased by sponsors donating $1,000 for one memorial bench.

"So far, about five donors have purchased benches," said Bill Fagen, who is in charge of collecting the sponsorships.

Rau-Hatton says plans for a brand new security system are in the works as part of the parks many changes. Officials say the new Veterans Park will be complete by 2009.

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