Fitting tribute to Earth Day

By AUBRIE GEORGE | The Voorhees Sun

You’ve heard of turning trash into treasure — but what about into acres of green park space?

Thanks to a combined effort, Voorhees has done just that.

Through years of work and partnerships between Voorhees Environmental and Cultural Education Foundation, township officials, Rutgers University, R.E.I, the Voorhees Environmental and Recreational Alliance, Smart Action for Voorhees Township, as well as several other donors, residents will soon be able to enjoy the new Voorhees Environmental Park, located at the former Buzby Landfill.

VECEF, a group that evolved from a taskforce designated by the Township Committee to develop a reuse plan for the land, took on the effort to transform the 37-acre landfill into a space that will enhance quality of life and restore vitality to the area.

After years of work and more than 40 public meetings, VECEF is closer now than ever to accomplishing that goal with plans to create walking, biking and jogging paths, install gardens and provide environmental and cultural education on the formerly blighted-land.

After a bit of controversy, the 37-acre site that was the former Buzby Landfill was cleaned up under the supervision of the Department of Environmental Protection so it could be deemed safe for public use. The site is now in safe and stable condition, so group members can continue moving forward with their plans, township officials said.

Township officials and VECEF established a partnership that would work toward transforming the park. Officials said their partnership with VECEF allows them to do things such as receive grants they may not be able to get without their support.

The park, though not yet built, debuted last week — on Earth Day, nonetheless — with the dedication of a sign that marks the site as the intended Voorhees Environmental Park, and a $1,000 donation from VERA and SAVE.

See this week’s print edition of The Sun for the full story.