Mayor’s Message: Spring a great time to get outside in Voorhees

Township boasts an expansive park system

Last week, daylight saving time returned, and this week we welcomed the arrival of spring. This is a wonderful time of year to enjoy the fresh air and our Voorhees park system.

Connolly Park, located on Centennial Boulevard, is a 49-acre oasis. Acquired by the township in 2001, it contains two dog runs, one for large dogs and one for small dogs, a half-mile walking and jogging track with lights, a large grass field for multi-sport usage, a cricket pitch with synthetic turf, an open-air picnic pavilion and a comfort station with restrooms. In 2010, a playground with new picnic tables was added next to the tot-lot and continues to be very popular with children. Last year, with funding from a county grant, workout stations were added along the walking track. Connolly Park is also the home of our Summer Concert Series.

Lions Lake Park is located on Dutchtown Road off of Route 73. Our community banquet facility can accommodate up to 100 people. Lions Lake contains a children’s playground, a picnic grove and a fishing lake. It is also home to the Voorhees Girls Softball Association, with four fields, three of which are fully lit. Last year, new dugout enclosures were added to all four fields. Recently, the National Softball Association named Lions Lake as one of three “Outstanding Parks” in the northeast and the only facility in New Jersey to receive the award.

Kirkwood Park, located along Laurel Oak Road behind the Hampton Inn, has a lighted softball field, paved walking path, a full basketball court, two tennis courts, a children’s playground, a multi-purpose field, two bocce ball courts and restrooms. The walking path, basketball court and tennis courts were recently resurfaced through grants received from both the state and Camden County. The township also permanently preserved the adjacent 14-acre Kirkwood Forest, enhancing and ensuring the beauty of this natural setting.

The Maiaroto Sports Complex, located on Echelon Road, is home to the Voorhees Soccer Association and host to the Annual Memorial Day Soccer Tournament, one of the largest in the country. The complex includes seven fields with recently improved lights. It also offers two tennis courts and basketball courts which were recently resurfaced with a county grant, as well as a fully operational snack bar with restrooms.

Work is proceeding with installation of artificial turf on soccer fields four, five and six. Lighting will also be upgraded in this area, including the addition of lights to field six. This work is scheduled to be completed by Memorial Day.

Home to the Gibbsboro Voorhees Athletic Association is the Rabinowitz Baseball Complex, located along Kresson Road, with six fenced baseball fields. “Sprinturf Diamonds” have been installed on the Babe Ruth and Majors fields. Three of the fields are fully lit. The complex also includes a newly installed children’s playground with swings as well as a snack bar and restrooms.

GVAA Vikings Youth Football and Cheerleading, as well as Voorhees Lacrosse Inc., use the Giangiulio Recreation Complex along Victor Boulevard. There is a lighted athletic field with synthetic turf. The field can be used year-round by our youth football, cheerleading, lacrosse and soccer organizations. In addition, there is a baseball diamond with lights and a fenced tot lot. Giangiulio also includes a snack bar and restrooms.

Stafford Woods is our largest piece of preserved land. The 140-acre parcel includes a one-mile walking path that follows an old stagecoach trail through the woods. The township also purchased the 5.5-acre parcel of land adjacent to Stafford Farm to be preserved as open space. A disc golf course was constructed and is accessible from Evesham Road. Thanks to a county grant, recent improvements include widening the access road into the park and the addition of handicapped parking. In 2012, the Stafford Woods Disc Golf Course was named one of the 50 best courses in the country.

John Hale, Sr. Memorial Park is at the site of the former Voorhees Township Department of Public Works sewer plant on West End Avenue in the Ashland section. In partnership with the Ashland Residential Coalition and with a grant from the Camden County Open Space Advisory Board, a playground with swings and “nature based” equipment as well as a picnic pavilion were installed. This park connects to Ashland Woods, a 20-acre tract of forest permanently preserved by the township.

The township maintains neighborhood playgrounds on Round Hill Road in the Green Ridge neighborhood, Elliot Playground on Elliot Drive in the Beagle Club, Sandpiper Playground on Willowbrook Way in the Avian Section and Cornell Drive Playground in Lake Villa. New playground equipment was installed in the Green Ridge and Sandpiper Playgrounds in 2012 and last year swing sets were added to both. Voorhees also maintains one full-court and one half-court basketball facilities at the Sheppard Road Basketball Park located off of Centennial Boulevard.

The Township Committee will continue to work to improve our park system. All of our parks are maintained without the use of pesticides.

• Every Wednesday night through March is Family Movie Night at the Voorhees Town Center. On March 22, enjoy a bite to eat while watching Disney’s “A Bug’s Life” in the Food Court on the 16-foot screen. There will be a different movie every Wednesday. The movie begins at 6:30 p.m. in the child-friendly viewing area.

• The Voorhees Breakfast Rotary’s 13th Annual Spring Egg Hunt will be held on Saturday, April 1, at Lions Lake Park. The fun begins at 10:30 a.m. with games, prizes and a DJ. The egg hunt starts at 11 a.m.

Children from age 1 through fifth grade are invited and prizes will be given to all age groups. The rain date is scheduled for April 15. Please bring your own baskets. For more information, visit www.voorheesbreakfastrotary.com.

• The Voorhees Business Association’s Annual Bowling Fundraiser will be on Friday, April 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Big Event located in the Ellisburg Shopping Center, 1536 Kings Highway N. in Cherry Hill. This year, the event will benefit various community causes. Bowling lanes will be available for individuals and groups with a maximum of six bowlers per lane. For $20, an individual bowler will be teamed with other bowlers. A $95 donation gets one lane for six bowlers and includes pizza and a pitcher of soda. For $100, a corporate sponsorship, the group gets one lane and signage. A $150 corporate sponsorship gets one lane with signage, bowling for up to six bowlers, a free pizza and a pitcher of soda. There will also be a basket auction and a 50/50 raffle. For more information about the event or to register, visit www.voorheesbusinessassociation.org or send a check to the VBA, P.O. Box 349, Voorhees, 08043 with “Bowling” and your sponsorship level in the memo line.

• The Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation Wine and Food Tasting will be held on Friday, April 7 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Virtua Barry Brown Education Building, 106 Carnie Blv.d in Voorhees. Ticket donations are $50 per person in advance or $60 per person at the door. For reservations, call (856) 784–0615 or visit www.victoriuosfoundation.org. The foundation installs Teen Centers in hospitals throughout the country to bring hope, excitement and entertainment to teens facing difficult conditions while receiving hospital treatment.