DVRPC & VERA Study Greenway Protection for Voorhees Streams
$50,000 Grant Obtained. Lands in Voorhees, Evesham and Medford along the Rancocas Creek tributaries will be mapped and evaluated for possible conservation actions, thanks to a grant from the William Penn Foundation. VERA organized the joint application of the three towns, the Rancocas Conservancy and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. $1,000 in seed money from each town resulted in $47,000 of outside funds. The project is near completion and a public hearing regarding the recomendations will be held shortly.
From DVRPC website:
RANCOCAS CREEK IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR THE MAIN BRANCHES (Completion in 2000)
This project, slated to begin early in 1999, will continue the Rancocas Creek greenway planning effort along the North, South and Southwest Branches of the Rancocas Creek to their intersection with the Pineland' Boundary. The study area will also include the Barton's Run tributary and headwaters of the Southwest Branch, due to special interest by the municipalities in that area. Most of the mapping of the area has already been completed through a grant from the NJ Local Coastal Planning Grant Program. The planning effort is being funded through a grant from William Penn Foundation and DVRPC. Partners are Rancocas Conservancy, Burlington County and the municipalities.
RANCOCAS CREEK IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR THE MAIN STEM
Through research, analysis and public meetings, this plan identifies the major environmental, recreational and sense of place issues facing the Rancocas Main Stem, provides a rationale for why they are important, and proposes recommended actions to address them. The study area covers Delanco, Riverside, Delran, Moorestown, Willingboro, Mt. Laurel and Westampton Townships in Burlington County. Partners in this greenway effort include the Rancocas Conservancy and the Burlington County Office of Land Use.
Bike Paths Approved
Bicycle and Pedestrian Circulation Plan Adopted. VERA designed a bikeway plan for Voorhees Township, linking neighborhoods with natural, recreational and commercial areas. VERA’s plan was adopted as part of the Voorhees Master Plan, and will enable the township to seek State and Federal funding for construction of safe, enjoyable bike paths. Recreational bicyclists will appreciate the pleasant and safe conditions, and traffic congestion and air pollution will be reduced as non-motorized transportation becomes feasible for more people.
The Township Committee recently appointed a bicycle/pedestrian path task force to begin seeking grant money to implement the plan.
Open Space Referendum
Open Space Acquisition Approved by Voorhees Voters. In November, 1998, voters went to the polls and voted 2-1 to recommend that Voorhees spend up to $10 million to acquire open space. VERA conducted voter education activities, including newspaper and direct mail advertising, and citizen meetings. VERA also played an instrumental role in the success of the Camden County open space referendum as a charter member of the Save Open Space in Camden County coalition of environmental groups mobilized to push for passage. County and Township voters both approved the County question by a 2-1 margin.
Swamp Pink Found!
VERA Swamp Walkers Add to Habitat Database. A team of VERA amateur naturalists braved wet and chilly conditions to verify six different colonies of the endangered flowering plant, Helonias bullata, in bloom in marshy areas throughout the Township. This information was scientifically compiled and reported to the NJDEP Natural Heritage Program, for inclusion in its statewide database of habitats for endangered species. Voorhees Township is one of the last toeholds worldwide of this beautiful indicator of stream quality.
VERA Election Activities
VERA Organizes Candidates Nights. Our Voorhees Township Committee candidates forum at the Middle School was the only Q&A event attended by the 1998 candidates from both parties. VERA conducted a Candidates Forum moderated by the League of Women Voters in 1999. Held at Eastern High School, the debate was well-attended and broadcast several times on Channel 18.
The 2000 Candidates Forum was held on Wednesday, October 18, 2000, and in the Town Square building at Main Street (Centennial Boulevard at Main Street). Again, the Forum was moderated by the League of Women Voters, and featured candidates Gary Finger (R), Frank Dutton (R), Manny Konstantinides (D), and Joe Lovallo (D). THE FORUM WAS TAPED FOR BROADCAST ON CHANNEL 18.