Burlington County’s Rainbow Meadow Park is in line for a big upgrade that is expected to transform the former peach farm into one of South Jersey’s most scenic and family-friendly outdoor destinations.
The Burlington County Commissioners voted last month to use a portion of its federal funding the County received from the American Rescue Plan Act to cover the cost of extending public sewerage to the 126-acre park property in Delran.
The addition of sewerage service is essential for improvements at the park and will make it possible for the County to build a new restroom facility on site. Other planned improvements include an expanded parking lot, construction of new accessible trails and creek side amenities, a new family-friendly area featuring games like cornhole and bocce, table tennis, lawn games, foosball tables and more.
Extending public sewerage to the park will also provide a service connection to the Farmers Against Hunger headquarters on site.
“We know how important accessible outdoor spaces are for residents physical and mental health and the new amenities planned at Rainbow Meadow Park will make it one of the most attractive spots for outdoor recreation in all of South Jersey,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “We’re excited about what’s coming and that we’re able to take a preserved property and make it into a destination that families from across the county will want to visit.”
Located off Creek Road and along the banks of the Rancocas Creek and the Laurel Run stream, Rainbow Meadow Park (previously known as Laurel Run Park) specializes in passive outdoor recreation, such as hiking and wildlife watching. The park currently has a one-mile trail through the property to the edge of the Rancocas Creek, portable toilets and a picnic pavilion, grills and parking area.
In 2021, the County began to design numerous improvements and amenities for the park property, which was farmed by the Anderson family for more than a century before the County purchased it in 2001.
Among the preliminary improvement plans envisioned for the park are:
- An additional 2.5 miles of accessible asphalt trails through the park, continuing the County’s Rancocas Creek Greenway (part of the greater Philadelphia region’s Circuit Trail network), plus 1.25 miles of special woodland and turf trails.
- Creek side amenities, including two fishing docks, an accessible kayak launch, three overlook decks and a scenic family area with tables, benches, and hammocks.
- Large and small event lawns where concerts and other events could be staged.
- Building a family games area with numerous new features, including bocce ball courts, cornhole courts, concrete table tennis and foosball tables, chess and checkers tables, a Gaga Court, hammock lounge area, rain garden and a new BBQ area with accessible grills and picnic tables.
The County’s plans also incorporate Farmers Against Hunger’s headquarters. In 2020, the Commissioners entered into an agreement with the nonprofit to allow it to use a 3-acre parcel of the park and former farmstand building for its operations and other activities promoting land stewardship and agriculture.
As part of its mission, the group is also developing working crop fields and teaching gardens on the property to grow produce to donate to agencies serving food-insecure families in the region.
Design and permitting for the sewer extension have already been completed by Delran. The township has agreed to bid for construction of the line and Burlington County will reimburse the town for the expense.
“Burlington County has one of the best parks systems in New Jersey and we are a national leader in preserving farmland and open space,” said Commissioner Allison Eckel, the liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation and Parks. “Our Board is proud of that record, but just as important is the success we’ve had making sure preserved property becomes accessible for all residents to enjoy. Rainbow Meadow Park is great example and we’re thrilled to help move these park improvements forward and continue to help Farmers Against Hunger with its mission.”