Council applies for parks grant, recognizes local girls softball teams at latest meeting

The latest meeting of the Mt. Laurel Township Council included proclamations of commendation for the Mount Laurel 10U and 12U Storm girls softball teams for their victories at the USSSA Eastern National Championship. 

The Mount Laurel 10U Storm girls softball team show off their championship rings after being presented with a proclamation of commendation for their victory at the USSSA Eastern National Championship in Sterling, Virginia.

At the Monday, Sept. 9 regular meeting of the Mt. Laurel Township Council, officials adopted resolutions allowing for an application for a parks grant and the insertion of special items of revenue into the 2019 Local Municipal Budget. The meeting also featured two proclamations presented to the Mount Laurel 10U and 12U Storm girls softball teams in recognition of their dual victories at the USSSA Eastern National Championship.

According to the reading of the parks grant resolution, the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders has approved the Open Space, Recreation, Farm Land and Historic Preservation Trust Fund and established a Municipal Park Development Program to provide grant funds in connection with municipal acquisition of lands for, among other things, municipal public park and recreation development purposes.

Through the application the council hopes to obtain county Municipal Park Development Program funds in the amount of $250,000 to fund the Mount Laurel Multi-Park Improvement Project.

During public comment, resident Brian Sharr expressed to the council his hopes that, should the township be awarded these grant funds, it not expend all of them solely on Laurel Acres and consider other parks in the area as well.

“It seems like you always throw money at Laurel Acres Park. We have other parks around Mt. Laurel, can we maybe look at some of the other parks?” asked Sharr. “There are some people who can’t make it to Laurel Acres, it’s too far.”

Township Manager Meredith Tomczyk acknowledged Sharr’s request and pointed out that several park improvement projects take place throughout the year outside of work that would be done as a result of a grant.

Another resolution adopted at the meeting allowed for the insertion of special items of revenue into the 2019 Local Municipal Budget related to law enforcement efforts to crack down on impaired driving. 

Items added to the municipal budget included costs in connection with the 2019 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Statewide Labor Day Crackdown in the amount of $5,500 and the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund in the amount of $7,039.46, coming to a total of $12,539 appropriated. 

Mayor Kurt Fulcher presented two proclamations of commendation to local girls softball teams the Mount Laurel 10U and 12U Storm at the meeting as well. Both teams returned home victorious from the USSSA Eastern National Championship in Sterling, Va., which ran July 18 through 21.

Competing in heat indexes ranging from 110 to 115 degrees, the girls really had to push themselves during the competition. 

Despite the less-than-favorable conditions, the 10U team went undefeated, winning all seven games and outscoring opponents by 40 runs. The 12U team lost its first game of the championship, but came through when it counted and finished its final game with a 1-0 victory.

The coaches of the 10U and 12U teams, Tim Mullin and David Taylor respectively, couldn’t be more proud of their teams’ performances at the national competition this summer.

“When we got out in the spring, they really were focused and we were always looking toward Nationals at the end of the year, that was the overall goal,” said Taylor. “Our pitching is what kept us in our games.”

Although the ultimate victory was a team effort, Taylor credits 13-year-old pitcher Gianna Bayard with keeping the team afloat through the competition.

“She worked hard all year,” said Taylor.

According to Mullin, it was his team’s ability to grow and improve with each game that gave it an edge at the championship. 

“The way they learned with each passing tournament, in each one we got a little bit further each time,” said Mullin. “We played some tough teams in some of those tournaments and really got our butts whooped, but they didn’t let it get to them, they came back and fought. I think that’s what it was, determination.”