Column as submitted by Mayor Thomas Kelaher:
In my last article I highlighted the activities of our Public Works Department. In this issue I would like to present our Department of Parks, Buildings, Grounds and Public Lands. This department, of course, has township wide responsibility; as set forth in its title to be responsible for all township properties. The obligation to look after our parks, in particular, is somewhat extensive and I would like to list all of the parks that come under the jurisdiction of this department:
- Winding River Park
- Riverwood Park
- Skippers Cover Park (aka the Silverton Park)
- Bayside Park (Ortley Beach)
- Chadwick Beach Park
- Shelter Cove
- Weatherly Park off of Route 527
- Deer Hollow Park
- Oak Park (Castle Park Playground)
- Schencks Mills Field
- Skyview Park
- Bey Lea Park
- Huddy Park
The department has the obligation of maintaining the physical condition of all of the above mentioned parks; such as lawn mowing, fencing, lighting, security, maintenance of equipment such as swing sets, tennis court nets, water fountains, and parking spaces.
The department has been engaged in upgrading these parks. For example at Skyview and Bey Lea Park LED lighting has been installed along all the paths, restrooms and concession stands. The LED lighting uses much less electric power and is longer lasting. LED lighting is only 1/8 of the wattage of a standard bulb and the life expectancy is twenty times longer than the regular lighting equipment. In Riverwood Park, where we have the new Rodeo Playground, we have in the planning stage new restrooms to replace the older antiquated facilities
At Winding River Park which runs from Route 37 up to the skating rink area, the department has installed over 3,000 feet of fencing around the ball fields. Drainage has been improved and bathroom renovations at the north and south portions of that park are in the works. At the present time Huddy Park, along the river in downtown, has not needed any attention since the new gazebo and bridge were built a few years ago.
As you may know from prior news releases a new playground facility known as Skippers Cove in the park in Silverton was completed a few years ago. In Bayside Park (Ortley Beach) along the Barnegat Bay a new pavilion is about to be installed which is 24’ x 30’ and will provide shelter for the shuffle board courts. We have also just received a new swing set for that location.
In Shelter Cove we have installed 4,000 feet of fencing that was badly needed around the recreation fields. In Deer Hollow Park there was a new Cricket field installed. Cricket has become a somewhat popular activity, especially for our residents who come from India. Also, we have installed basketball courts at that location.
One of our most popular parks is the Oak Park across from Police Headquarters, the site of our Castle Park Playground which is always a favorite of the youngsters.
Schencks Mills Field just east of Oak Park is now available for soccer and the drainage problem that did exist there has been alleviated.
The responsibility to attend to the buildings operated by the township primarily focuses on our largest building, the Town Hall. The front part of Town Hall was originally the residence of Dr. Phil Citta who maintained his practice out of this home on Washington Street prior to World War II. Dr. Citta was serving as an Army doctor when he was killed in a plane crash during World War II and eventually his home became the Town Hall. As the town grew there were some extensions to the existing building, but in 1975 the entire rear portion of the Town Hall was built.
In the 35 years that the new portion of the building has been in use there has been a need to upgrade the building and all utilities. The air conditioning system was antiquated and malfunctioning. We are now in the process of upgrading the heating and air conditioning system with a new energy saving system. Also, the plumbing fixtures have been replaced in our restrooms with new modern automatic facilities that will save considerable money in the long run. Also, all lighting fixtures in the building have been replaced with new fixtures that use less energy and have a much longer lasting life.
Our director of Parks, Building, Grounds and Public Land, Craig Ambrosio, works in close cooperation with the recreation department to coordinate the scheduling of all of our recreation activities in the public parks. This coordination allows our residents to enjoy the use of all of our facilities.
Mayor Thomas Kelaher