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Gloucester County Equestrian Facility in Logan Township Construction Gets Underway

(Logan Twp., NJ) – The site of the premier equestrian facility that is being constructed along the Delaware River got underway today with an official ground breaking ceremony.  Gloucester County is building the DREAM Park in Logan Township, which will be a part of the county’s parks system, to accommodate the large local need for a state-of-the-art venue and to attract more equine and eco-based tourism to the region.

“Today the DREAM begins to come true,” Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney stated.  DREAM stands for Delaware River Equestrian, Agriculture and Marine Park.   “This type of park has always been a wish for so many of our residents, and in a year from now we will be home to one of the most modern equestrian center on the east coast.  We have many people excited to come here for shows and competitions and it is going to be a wonderful amenity for the people of Gloucester County and our visitors,” said Sweeney.

“We have a tremendous number of residents that either participate in a horse club or own a horse in our county, there are over 330 children participating in our 4-H horse clubs alone,” Sweeney said.  “The interest in horse shows and competitions is as strong today as ever and this park is going to attract tourism to our region,” the Director said.

Freeholder Deputy Director Bob Damminger, liaison to the County’s Office of Land Preservation and the 4-H Extension Services, said, “The land we are standing on today was slated to be a dredge spoil dumping site by the Army Corps of Engineers six years ago, but the Freeholders felt strongly that there was a need for parkland in this part of the county.  This was the perfect location for an equestrian facility,” said Damminger. 

The first phase of the project involves construction of facilities to host equestrian events and provide other recreational opportunities of Gloucester County residents, such as a Therapeutic Riding Program from children with special needs.

An indoor arena with bleacher seating will be constructed to host indoor horse shows and events.  There will be a small, 70 by 120 foot annex to the building that will lend itself to equine auctions, trade shows and off season instructional clinics.

Two outdoor show rings, one with night lighting, will also be constructed.  There will also be a grand prix and dressage ring with an adjacent warm up ring.   Construction of 250 stalls to temporarily shelter horse for events with an adjacent schooling ring and ample parking will be provided.

The design of the facility also calls for stalls for boarding horses, separate from the event stalls.  The facility will be designed to include 48 permanent stables for the purposes of boarding horses on a full time basis.  There will be a schooling ring and two smaller warm up/cool down rings next to this building.  The resident stables will also have an efficiency apartment to allow for a 24/7 staff presence.

An area for overnight camping will also be built for 50-60 camper hookups to accommodate event participants to stay overnight, onsite with there animals. Two handicapped mounting ramps will also be constructed as part of the facility. Nearby the RV parking area will be a maintenance building to serve the overall facility.

Freeholder Frank DiMarco said, “This new equestrian facility is going to enhance our county’s parks system by adding a unique element that isn’t found in our region.  We are going to be able to hold all types of events and programs here, like riding lessons and therapeutic programs and a lot of different activities that we don’t currently have available in our parks.”

DiMarco is the liaison to the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation.  The county’s park system is currently 1,540 acres and includes Red Bank Battlefield Park, James G. Atkinson Memorial Park, Scotland Run Park and Greenwich Lake Park.

“Many people have worked on this project to get us where we are today and I want to thank and remember them,” said Director Sweeney.  This type of park was originally the dream of Freeholder Jim Atkinson and his friend Jim Yates.  Both of these men loved the land, they were horse lovers and farmers and they knew that this project was what the people of Gloucester County wanted.  I want to thank Ann Dorsett, a respected member of the Equine Advisory Board for New Jersey and horse farm owner for more than 35 years, who has always supported this project, and I would like to thank my fellow freeholders and the Gloucester County Improvement Authority for patiently and professionally handling the land acquisitions, permitting and financing,” Freeholder Director Sweeney remarked. 

The park is being constructed on 70 acres of 300 acquired for the project.   Construction is expected to be completed by summer of 2007.