Council signs off on Swedes Run Dog Park signage

Scott Taylor, Township landscape architect/park design consultant, presented Council with final updated on the designs.

Last September, Moorestown Council unanimously approved an ordinance to begin construction of the Swedes Run Dog Park last fall.

More than four months later, council is one step closer to finalizing this construction as it approved proposed signage for the space its meeting this week.

Scott Taylor, the township’s landscape architect/park design consultant, presented council with a proposed signage package containing supporting graphics. Reflecting Moorestown High School’s black and gold colors, the package presented a site identification sign to be placed at Westfield Road, two dog bone-shaped directional signs — pointing to either the large dog area or small dog area — a site history interpretive sign and a dog park rules sign.

“We wanted to bring [the potential signs] back for a status update, show [them] to council and get feedback,” Taylor said.

The dog park rules and the history interpretive sign are to be comprised of phenolic resin sheets, which are layered and compressed with high pressure and temperature. This material is able to withstand decades of rain and is a relatively inexpensive way to print signs. Alternatively, the two dog bone-shaped directional signs and the site identification sign will be made of high-density urethane plastic.

Spreading awareness into the community, the information on the site history sign was approved by the Historical Society of Moorestown and touches on the history of both the Swede Run Barn and on Moorestown agriculture. It presents a written timeline of the barn, stating that, based on the report of an architectural preservation expert and the Historical Society’s research, the barn was built in the early 1800s. Although it was passed back and forth between members of the Lippincott family for 200 years, the township acquired it as open space in 2001.

In regard to the town’s agriculture, the historical sign to be placed at the dog park also exhibits an excerpt from “Journey from Allentown in Monmouth Co., to Haddonfield, Camden Co.,” a passage from an article in the New Jersey Farmer newspaper published in September 1856.

As for the sign depicting the dog park rules, the outline mirrors the dog park rules that were developed for the county. It prohibits human and dog food/treats, aggressive dogs, dogs in heat, uses or animals other than dogs, puppies younger than 4 months old, spiked, pinch or prong collars, glass containers, children under 8, children over 8 without adult supervision and sick dogs. The sign also recommends visitors call the Moorestown Department of Parks and Recreation at (856) 914–3093 to report a problem.

After assessing the signage package, the only concern among council was voiced by Councilwoman Victoria Napolitano who worried the dog park rules will contrast with the picture of a dog on which they overlay.

“I’m sure you’ve done other ones like this, so if you feel like it’s good, then I’m good with it,” Napolitano said. “The rules are kind of the most important thing. We want to make sure people can read them and there’s no excuses.”

Taylor acknowledged this concern and agreed to make sure to screen out the final sign, adding when signs are printed at a full size, the lettering typically reads better.

Taylor said the contractor expects a shade/picnic pavilion to be delivered in February and installed in March. He also explained that, despite delays experienced in December and January due to inclement weather, all major construction is expected to be completed in April.

Additionally, while there was initial dormant seeding done on the site in December, reseeding and overseeding are to be done throughout the spring.

Taylor also addressed a question he said he has been repeatedly asked in the past few weeks: “Will the Norway Maple tree on the site of the dog park be preserved?”

Taylor explained the preservation of the tree has been built into the dog park’s design. He also made council and public aware that, although there was a driveway and parking area that has been on the site surrounding the tree for a considerable period of time, further conservation efforts are being taken. These efforts have included placing bollards at the head of the grass overflow parking spaces under the tree to prevent people from parking there.

“The actual design is predicated on saving that tree,” Taylor said. “What we did as part of this project, all of the stone driveway and parking, and even the grass overflow parking, stays completely outside of the canopy dripline of that tree to increase the preservation efforts. We’ve gone to tremendous lengths to really set the park design around the tree.”