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Council to upgrade facilities for police, municipal court and softball fields

At their latest meeting, council addressed the need for new township facilities.

The Moorestown Township Police Department and the township’s municipal court will have a new home on North Church Street. At its latest meeting, council authorized approximately $4 million in bonds for the purchase of a property located at 1245 N. Church St., which will be the site of an expanded municipal facility.

The property is adjacent to where the police department currently resides. When the ordinance authorizing the purchase was introduced in late June, Township Manager Thomas Merchel said the plan is to expand the police department’s current facilities, and this property will give it an additional 5,000 square feet.

The facility will also give the township’s municipal court a permanent home. Currently, court sessions are held at a facility on Stiles Avenue in Maple Shade Township.

Councilwoman Victoria Napolitano said the purchase marks the end of a long-standing problem, and the new location brings the township’s municipal court back in town where it belongs. Mayor Stacey Jordan said this purchase will save the township rent fees that it was paying to other towns to host the court.

Jordan said she was excited by the prospect of giving the police department a more permanent facility, and this was one of the final things she wanted to accomplish during her tenure on town council. She was happy to see it coming to fruition.

“Our police deserve to have their permanent home and know that’s where they’re going to be,” Jordan said.

The Moorestown Youth Softball Association also approached council regarding its facilities. Bob Reilley, the association’s travel coordinator, said the association is in the second year of developing a powerhouse program, but the fields are posing a challenge for the program.

Reilley said, in 2017, they were forced to cancel 11 home games due to field conditions, and in 2018, they have cancelled seven home games due to field conditions.

Councilman Manuel Delgado expressed sympathy for the association. He said sharing the aging fields with Moorestown’s flag football team has been difficult on the field and the team.

Merchel said the 2018 budget include the funds for a new softball facility. He said the township had funding for the project as far back as 2015, but due to a variety of factors, the project was shelved. He said the plan for this year is to start ramping things back up and have professionals get a new design for the site in the works.

“I know this is one of the last sports in town that we really needed to take care of, and I’m really glad we’re getting to do that and moving forward,” Jordan said.

Reilley said they currently have 200 girls in the program, and the goal is to grow the association by 20 percent in 2019. He said the fields are hindering the association’s ability to accomplish that goal, and they’re grateful the township is going to improve the fields.

“We understand that you’re going to help us out with that, so thank you very much,” Reilley said. In other news:

  • Moorestown Theater Company received a proclamation from council commemorating its 150th production. Jordan thanked the group for bringing entertainment and cultural enrichment to Moorestown and the surrounding communities.
  • The next meeting of Moorestown Township Council will take place on Monday, July 23, at 7:30 p.m.

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