It’s sure to be a photo finish as the decade long race to open Percheron Park enters the home stretch. On Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. on Main Street, Moorestown Township’s long-awaited Percheron Park will officially open with a Dedication Ceremony unveiling Joshua Koffman’s “Diligence,” a Percheron horse sculpture serving as the pocket park’s centerpiece.
The ceremony will feature remarks from township officials as well as members of The Friends of Percheron Park, the nonprofit group whose vision and fundraising helped bring the park to life. Following the ceremony, attendees can dine at food trucks and listen to live music.
The township purchased the Main Street location – formerly a gas station – in 2008. A sign that read “Future Site of Percheron Park” promised the park’s eventual arrival, but the tract of land sat vacant for the next 14 years as the lot underwent soil remediation and the township awaited the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s sign off.
Vacant no more, the pocket park will offer visitors to the town’s main thoroughfare a place to take rest and maybe learn a bit about history. The life-sized bronze statue of a Percheron stallion is a tribute to Moorestown’s place in American history. In 1839, Moorestown native Edward Harris II brought the first Percheron stallions to the United States from France.
The Friends of Percheron Park fundraised more than $200,000 for the bronze sculpture and other design elements of the park. The site features a low brick wall at the street corner with some surrounding plantings, and Diligence, created by Philadelphia-based sculptor Joshua Koffman, will be located behind some small shrubs. The site features stamped concrete with hoof prints and benches for residents to stop and people watch.
Kathy Logue, president of the Friends of Percheron Park, said they are eager to bring art to Main Street. She said while Haddonfield has its Hadrosaurus foulkii sculpture (fondly known as “Haddy”), Moorestown will have “Diligence.”