🏇 Owner of Garden State Park gatehouse plans to sell land

🏇 The area is surrounded by commercial development

🏇 Group wants to preserve gatehouse from being torn down

A group of passionate Cherry Hill locals is working to preserve one of the last remaining symbols of the area's rise as a premier New Jersey cultural hub last century.

The Garden State Park racetrack once drew thousands of spectators for horse racing. That was back in the 1950s and 60s — when the area was called Delaware Township and the Latin Casino hosted acts from Frank Sinatra to Richard Pryor.

Decades later, only the gatehouse remains standing at the vacant site along Route 70.

Earlier this year, the company that owns the land, Penn Entertainment — which also owns the Freehold Raceway — put the 10 acres up for sale.

Garden State Park gatehouse (Canva/Google Maps)
Garden State Park gatehouse (Canva/Google Maps)

Residents including Mayor David Fleisher are concerned a new buyer could decide to knock down the gatehouse. Nearly 1,000 people have signed a Change.org petition to preserve the historic landmark as of Wednesday afternoon.

"Without immediate action, we risk losing this vital piece of our heritage forever. Preserving historical structures like the gatehouse is crucial for maintaining cultural continuity and educating future generations about their roots," said petition creator Daniel Cirucci.

The gatehouse is surrounded by commercial development along Route 70 and acres of parking lots. Knocking down the landmark would free up more space for another shopping center or residential housing.

Read More: DWI checkpoints planned in NJ for Memorial Day Weekend

Garden State gatehouse (Google Maps)
Garden State gatehouse (Google Maps)

The preservation effort has recently received support from Camden County Commissioner Jeffrey Nash, who enjoyed going to the Garden State Park racetrack with his dad as a kid.

"I have great memories," said Nash, who has served as commissioner since 1991 and is the liaison to the county's Open Space Advisory Board.

According to Nash, all options are on the table. He said the best option would be to find a new owner that agreed to preserve and maintain the gatehouse.

Another possibility would be that the county purchases the gatehouse and the property it's located on using public funds.

"We put out money where our mouth is. The voters have accepted the use of open space funds for preserving historic destinations and we want to make this our top priority," said Nash.

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