With fundraising proving successful, efforts to develop Percheron Park will move ahead, according to Friends of Percheron Park President Julie Maravich.
Between fundraising through townwide post card mailers and a benefit party held on May 14, Maravich said the nonprofit has enough money to start construction of the park and is just waiting for the soil to be cleared by the Environmental Protection Agency before efforts can get underway.
“It’s been a really time-consuming process,” Maravich said in regard to the remediation efforts conducted through the township.
In 2008, Moorestown purchased the location for Percheron Park, at the corner of West High and Main streets, from Puritan Oil, which used the land as a gas station.
While the township has been working to remediate the soil, the Friends of Percheron Park are still waiting for clearance to move forward with plans.
In the meantime, Maravich said the Friends are working on several projects, such as bringing Percheron carriage horse rides to Moorestown Business Association’s Candlelight Night on Friday, Nov. 1. Not able to gain approval from the township for carriage rides to be conducted on Main Street, Maravich said they are currently looking at options on surrounding streets.
“We got a lot in the works, but nothing is definite,” Maravich said.
Maravich also said the Friends of Percheron Park are expecting to start another round of post card mailings to keep the park fresh in everyone’s mind.
“We just want people to remember us and not to think it’s a done deal,” Maravich said.
Maravich said the efforts to construct the park are estimated to begin in April and will include putting a retaining wall between the park and a residence that slopes down onto the property, as well create a brick wall around the perimeter of the park and put in “zero-scaping” — which Maravich explained consists of interring plants that will require minimum maintenance once acclimatized.
Previously, Maravich estimated the project would cost $200,000.
In addition to the benefit hosted by Burris Construction Company, which included a ballpark banquet and a raffle for a 2013 Fiat, Friends of Percheron Park are also accepting donations and sponsorships on park items, such as benches and stone caps.
Bill Burris of Burris Construction Company has also pledged to match costs in all labor and materials for the park.
While bench sponsorships have been mostly spoken for, Maravich said stone caps could be purchased for $200, $500 or $1,000, depending on the size of the cap.
Save The Environment Moorestown also plans to donate signage for the new park.
“There are a whole bunch of people involved in this project,” Maravich said.
Originally proposed by treasurer Margo Foster, Percheron Park will honor Moorestown native Edward Harris II, a farmer and philanthropist who is credited with bringing the Percheron horse breed to America, through importations from France and began developed a breeding program with his stallion named “Diligence.”
Maravich added that the organization plans to replicate the stallion with a life-sized bronze statue of the horse, which will serve as a focal point in the park.
For more information or to learn how to contribute to Percheron Park, visit www.percheronpark.org.