The closed Buzby Landfill is being transformed into Voorhees Environmental Park (VEP) through the collaboration between CUES, the Township of Voorhees, and the non-profit Voorhees Environmental Cultural Education Foundation (VECEF). A creative funding source to support park construction and ongoing maintenance is the designation of 10 on-site acres to house a solar array. The financial incentives from generating solar power will support building and maintaining the park.
The juxtaposition of solar panels and a public park is unique. A public park allows free movement for everybody, providing open spaces for play, social interactions and enjoyment of nature, while solar panels are usually located in a fenced light industrial area unsuitable for public access. Creating a meaningful design relationship between solar energy production in a public park setting was a unique challenge for Rutgers students developing conceptual designs for Voorhees Environmental Park. The objective of a semester-long graduate design studio in the Rutgers Department of Landscape Architecture was to develop an integrated concept for open space, energy production, and storm water management.
Student designs were on display at the Voorhees Township Municipal offices during March - April, 2012. After collection of public comments the final Restoration Conceptual Design was completed by Dr. Wolfram Hoefer, Director of CUES. The final Voorhees Environmental Park design won an award from the NJ Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects at their annual conference in January, 2013.