County gets $1.6 million in grants for recreation improvements

Projects will be funded without a burden on taxpayers

Special to The Sun: Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson speaks at the opening of Willingboro Lakes Park. The county got a grant to support engineering and design for a new trail linking the park with Mill Creek Municipal Park in Willingboro.

County commissioners applauded the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs for awarding more than $1.63 million in Local Recreation Improvement Grants to the county and several of its municipalities and school districts.

The commissioners also cited Gov. Phil Murphy, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver and state legislators for extending the much-needed support, saying it would provide critical funding for important projects without burdening local property taxpayers.

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State Sen. Troy Singleton said the grants would provide funding for projects that will benefit county residents.

“Recreation is important for our physical and mental health, so it’s imperative that our communities provide ample opportunities for residents of all ages to engage in different activities,” he noted.

“These grants will provide vital funding to help advance projects at schools, playgrounds, and parks throughout Burlington County that meet that objective.” 

Among the 21 grants awarded is one for $78,000 to support engineering and design on a new four-mile trail connecting Willingboro Lakes Park with the town’s iconic Mill Creek Municipal Park. The two parks are located on Beverly-Rancocas Road.

The commissioners also envision extending the trail through Willingboro and into Westampton, where the county plans to create a new park on the former Rowan property along Rancocas Creek. Like all the county’s regional trails, the proposed path will be wheelchair accessible and include safe pedestrian and bicycle-friendly areas.

Another county project that received a grant is the new, all-inclusive playground at the Burlington County Special Services School in Westampton. It will get $83,000 to help with construction costs. The 12,500-square-foot playground is currently under construction.

The site will be used by special services students but will also be open to the public when school is not in session. The county contributed $400,000 to the project.

“Mobility is a basic right, and all our county’s children deserve to have safe and accessible playgrounds,” said County Commissioner Allison Eckel. “We’re extremely grateful to the Department of Community Affairs for supporting the new Willingboro trail and special services playground projects, along with all the other recreational improvements proposed in our county.”

Other projects awarded grants are listed at https://www.co.burlington.nj.us.

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