Mt. Laurel council reviews first concept plan for Elbo Lane park

Mt. Laurel Council got its first glimpse at the first concept design for the proposed Elbo Recreation Park at Monday night’s meeting. The proposed park will be located in a parcel of open space at the corner of Elbo Lane and Hainesport-Mt. Laurel Road.

Township manager Maureen Mitchell received the plan from the engineers assigned to the project and presented it to council to get their feedback. The concept plan is the first step towards making the proposed park a reality.

The plan depicts a long walking and biking trail surrounding the perimeter of the open space. Mitchell said the engineers kept the current terrain in mind when designing the park. The proposed trails go up and down hills currently existing on the site.

“They’re trying to do a layout where you can keep the topography there,” Mitchell said.

Also included are locations for a parking lot, picnic tables, benches and checkerboard tables. Mitchell said the township wants to commission a boy scout or eagle scout to create the checkerboard tables for the park.

Councilwoman Linda Bobo gave a few suggestions to Mitchell going into the next stage of planning. The concept plan included an area for grills; something Bobo said will not be included in the park.

She also was surprised to see much of the open space in the center of the park landscaped.

“At one point, I thought we were going to have the interior natural so we wouldn’t have to mow it,” Bobo said.

One of the reasons behind keeping the interior natural was to reduce maintenance cost for the township. Mitchell said the engineers felt keeping the interior natural would have made it difficult to maintain, with plants and grass possibly running into the trails.

Bobo also inquired about the park’s gazebo, which the engineers located towards the back of the park. Mitchell said the engineers wanted to put it at the highest point rather than the park’s center.

Mayor David D’Antonio and Bobo also asked about giving the park an official name, but with the park in its early stages, a name likely won’t be announced until later on.

Mitchell said council’s suggestions will be taken back to the engineers and a revised concept plan will be created.

In Other News:

• A revised ordinance regarding off-duty police officers will be on the agenda for council in February.
“We’re going to make our ordinance comply with our contracts,” Mitchell said.
Council approved the new contracts with the Mt. Laurel Superior Officers Association and the Mt. Laurel Police Officers Association in their final meeting of 2013.

• Mt. Laurel council set up dates for the township’s events in 2014. The upcoming spring events include the township’s free rabies clinic on March 1, Clean Up Day on March 22 and the Spring Egg Hunt at Paws Farm on April 12.
The township recently moved Clean Up Day to March to try and get a higher turnout.
“We’re hoping we’ll get more people this year by scheduling it before sports start,” Mitchell said.
A full list of events can be found on the township website.

• The next council meeting will be on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. in the municipal court room.