Event to fund Percheron Park

Event to fund Percheron Park

Sitting on the corner of West Main and High streets is a void where a representation of Moorestown history eventually will be displayed. The Friends of the Percheron Park are getting closer to seeing the beginning days of construction when Burris Construction hosts its open house for the park.

All proceeds from the event go toward construction.

According to spokeswoman Julie Maravich, the fundraiser would cover not only the entire construction of the park, but also a portion of the life-size bronze statue of a Percheron horse.

“We are really on our way,” she said.

The initial idea for Percheron Park was presented in 2011 in honor of Edward Harris Jr. of Moorestown. Harris, the former resident of the Smith-Cadbury Mansion, encountered the Percheron breed while visiting France in 1839.

According Percheron Park’s website, Harris made several importations of the horse because of the breed’s stamina and strength. His plan was to begin a breeding program to improve the workhorses in the U.S., the website said.

The estimated construction cost for the park is approximately $200,000, Maravich said in a previous report to The Sun.

The township purchased the property in 2008 for approximately $350,000. Puritan Oil previously used the land as a gas station, so a company is monitoring the grounds to make sure the land is safe, Maravich said.

Construction would not begin until then, but the funds would be readily available.

The park’s creation would connect and bring awareness to the Moorestown Historical Society, which is tucked away atop a small hill on High Street.

Maravich said Percheron horseshoe prints will lead the way to the Smith-Cadbury Mansion — home of the historical society.

She said the park would connect Main Street pedestrians to Moorestown history.

According to project manager Nick Keenan, for the past three years, Burris Construction has hosted an annual open house to benefit a nonprofit organization.

Last year, owner Bill Burris and his wife, Linda, decided to donate open house proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Keenan said Linda and Bill decided to contribute this year to an organization that was close to home.

“They are always trying to get involved in Moorestown as much as possible,” he said.

Last year, they donated $5,000 toward Swedes Run Barn, helping the reconstruction project move forward.

Last year, the open house had a new feature added, and it will be around again this year. Main Street pedestrians might notice a Fiat sitting on the front lawn of Burris Construction.

“The Fiat seemed to catch a lot of people’s attention,” Keenan said.

Keenan said the Fiat will be raffled off at the event.

Last year, 250 to 300 people showed up at the open house and $30,000 was raised just on the Fiat raffle tickets.

This year, they are looking to raise $35,000 in Fiat raffle tickets, which are sold at $100 each. The admission ticket is a separate fee of $50 per person.

Keenan did not have the exact number of tickets currently sold, but he said between vendors, residents stopping by the office to purchase tickets, as well as Burris employees and their friends and family, selling 350 raffle tickets and matching last year’s participation rate is going to be a breeze.

In addition to donating all proceeds to the Percheron Park construction, Maravich said Burris is going to match the car magnet and name engraving sales in materials and labor, which adds up to $38,000.

“We are so excited. We are really hoping that, with the whole fundraiser, we will be able to do the whole shebang,” Maravich said.

Burris Construction Company’s open house fundraiser is on Tuesday, May 14, from 5 to 10 p.m. at 8 E. Main St. Ticket prices are $50 per person and are tax deductible. The ballpark themed event will have a ballpark BBQ banquet, including hotdogs, pig roast, wine and beer while the Phillies play the Cleveland Indians.

Tickets for the raffle are sold separately at $100 per ticket. There is a limit of 350 raffle tickets for the 2013 Fiat.

Percheron horses will also be at the event, but not for too long.

For more information or to RSVP for the event, or to purchase a raffle ticket, contact Kim Jordan at 439–6666.