Edelmans purchase land adjacent to fossil park for future museum, visitor center

Press release from Mantua Township.

Families participated in the Edelman Fossil Park’s inaugural Autism Dig Day and had fun while learning about dinosaurs on April 27 (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).

Rowan University alumni and benefactors Jean and Ric Edelman announced their purchase of 40.13 acres near Woodbury-Glassboro Road in Mantua Township, which they plan to redevelop. The parcel is adjacent to the Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park at Rowan University (within Mantua Township), where plans are underway to build a world-class museum and visitor’s center thanks to a $25 million gift from the Edelmans.

In 2008, with the help of the Gloucester County Redevelopment Grant, Mantua was able to designate, develop and approve a redevelopment area plan. After the Inversand site was purchased by Rowan University in 2016 for the fossil park site, the Mantua Township committee conducted a search for a qualified potential redeveloper for the remaining portion of the redevelopment area and on April 17, 2017, designated a company owned by the Edelmans as conditional redeveloper. Mantua Township and the Edelmans entered into a redevelopment agreement on Dec. 24, and on April 30, the property was sold to them for $655,000.00 by Mantua Township.

“We are excited to work with Jean and Ric Edelman to redevelop this property as it will undoubtedly expand the offerings of Rowan University’s amazing Fossil Park project,” said Mayor Pete Scirrotto. “We have been a part of this special project since its infancy and we look forward to what the future
brings.”

“We are working on a strategic approach to redeveloping this property that will complement the development of the Edelman Fossil Park”, said Ric. “We want to make the most of this unique opportunity to support both the park and the economic development of Mantua Township and Gloucester County.”

Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, Dean of Rowan University’s School of Earth and Environment and founding director of the Edelman Fossil Park, said, “We are thrilled by this news! The co-development of this additional parcel will enhance the visitor experience at the Edelman Fossil Park, and provides an opportunity to showcase one of the most beautiful natural environments in southern New Jersey.”

“Thanks to the foresight and generosity of Jean and Ric Edelman, we are building a world-class tourism and educational destination that will transform the region and do great good,” Lacovara added.

“The Edelmans’ purchase of this land, and their plans for it, is a wonderful gift to Rowan, Mantua Township and the entire region,” said Dr. Ali A. Houshmand, president of Rowan University. “The Edelman Fossil Park, and now the adjoining property, is going to propel our STEM education programs, as well as attract visitors from across the nation and researchers from around the world.”

The parcel purchased by the Edelmans is Block 242, Lots 1.01 and 2, and was known as the Branch Road Partners/Ledden Redevelopment Area.