Logan Township, Gloucester County
When a 1,600 acre site on Route 130 was re-slated as a dredge spoil dumpsite, Gloucester County stepped in and took action. The site, now known as the Delaware River Equestrian Agriculture Marina (DREAM) Park, is in the process of being remediated from former dredge spoils into a very impressive public horseback riding and competition facility.
Historically, the site received material dredged from the bottom of the Delaware River for roughly two decades, ending in the 1980’s. Additionally, portions of the site have been used for farming. The site had 36 owners, and upon facing the possibility of further dredge dumping in 1998, Gloucester County acquired the property in its entirety, preventing dumping by zoning it for recreational use.
Prior to park construction, a remedial investigation was concluded in March 2006, which revealed that the soil was contaminated with arsenic and PCBs. Testing determined that the groundwater was contaminated with arsenic as well as various heavy metals. All contaminants were associated with historic fill, most notably, the dredge spoils.
Site remediation is being conducted in two phases. Phase 1 has been completed, and includes the 74.75-acre area on which the Equine Park has been constructed. The surface soil was not contaminated on this portion of the property, but soils that were contaminated at depth were addressed via the implementation of a deed notice. A soils only letter of No Further Action will be issued for the phase 1 remediation after recording the final deed notice, as groundwater monitoring is still ongoing as per a specific monitoring schedule. Phase 2 of the remediation is currently in progress and addresses the remaining area, the Gloucester County Park, which will contain riding trails.
DREAM Park opened on June 21, 2008, and while construction of the Gloucester County Park is still in progress, the Equine Park portion of the property boasts very impressive facilities and amenities. There is a large indoor riding arena as well as four outdoor arenas, two of which are lit. The soil used in the arenas was specially brought in, and its compactness can be altered depending on the needs of specific competition events. Additionally, the park houses 298 horse stalls, an RV Park for competitors and spectators, and an instructional clinic. There are also plans to institute a therapeutic riding program for special needs children.
With the property located on the Delaware River, 75% is composed of wetlands. Recognizing this fact, in conjunction with the phase 2 remediation and plans for the riding trails, a 300-foot buffer will be preserved along the River and will not be accessible to riders. This buffer will aid in the survival of multiple species, including bald eagles, by preserving their habitat and foraging areas. There are additional plans to preserve other portions of the park through Farmland Preservation as well as to develop a flood control area and a 26-acre tidal wetlands bank.
However, DREAM Park is not only a facility for equestrians, but will also benefit the Logan Township community. The park will bring in many tourists, as it will be host to events and competitions. With these tourists staying in local hotels, eating from local restaurants, and purchasing local amenities, it is expected that there will be an increase in revenue and a boost to the township’s economy. In the future, there are plans to build a marina as well as institute an educational tour of the site, which should further increase the appeal of the park and increase tourist traffic, while also serving as community resources.
75% of the $345,000 remediation cost was funded by NJDEP’s Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF) Parks and Recreation Grant. Today, what was an essentially unusable site of dredge spoils has been transformed into a state-of-the-art equestrian facility and recreation area. Although the park has only recently opened, it is already a huge success; it is not only an asset to Logan Township, but also the entire state.