At the Delran Council meeting on Tuesday, May 7, the recently built Jake’s Place in Delran Community Park took center stage. The community build that included more than 270 volunteers constructed an all-inclusive playground for children and adults with disabilities during from May 3-5.
At the meeting, Jim Cummings and his wife, Lynn, co-founders of Build Jake’s Place, approached the council to talk about the process of creating the playground and what else needed to be done. Cummings concluded that, while the construction was completed, there is still a third phase that needs to be added. That third phase is adding a zip line to the park – a promise the Cummings gave to residents when they were initially talking about the idea with children and the community.
The Cummings stated the cost to add the zip line to the park would be $70,000. Former Councilwoman Lana Pangia said the Council is capable of raising more than half of the money.
“I went to the township council meeting to drum up support and money from the council for the missing zip line at Jake’s Place,” said Pangia. “Build Jake’s Place has raised over $430,000 in private fundraisers for this playground in the last five and a half years. They only received a $200,000 grant from Burlington County, but the council itself hasn’t raised any money for a park that is going to be valued at over $700,000 and may become the biggest attraction in the county.
“While I was on the phone with former Councilman Mike Schwartz, we remembered money put aside for a project that died, and we believe it can be reallocated to the park,” Pangia continued. “In 2016, the council voted for a budget that included a $50,000 line item for a potential survey of the waterfront. That money was set aside in hopes and in good faith that the Army Corps and the federal government would see our commitment to preserve the waterfront, but that plan fell through. After two years, money that was allocated in the budget can be allocated to a new item.”
According to Pangia, the dollar amount that was set aside to survey the waterfront is a drop in the bucket on what a survey and plan would cost. Pangia believes the money is just collecting dust and can be used to help fund the missing piece to Build Jake’s Place.
“Let me be clear,” said Pangia. “Mike and I both know that the riverfront is in danger and needs rehabilitation, but it’s a multimillion dollar project that needs federal funding. It’s too big for Delran to commit to renovating on its own. That $50,000 can be used today for a good project without affecting the taxes or the upcoming budget.”
Pangia would like for people to show support on her Facebook page. She will continue to attend council meetings and work with Build Jake’s Place to get the third phase of the project completed.
The council has stated that they will look into the money and see if it is possible to reallocate the money towards Jake’s Place.