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Toms River Floats $4M Plan to Buy Camp Albocondo, Lakewood Rd. Lot

Plan by BOE to buy former campground failed to gain public support in the past

Camp Albocondo (Photo: YouTube)
Camp Albocondo (Photo: YouTube)
The Toms River township council voted Tuesday night to introduce a plan to purchase Camp Albocondo, a former campground that has been the source of previous controversies in the township.

The campground will be purchased for $4.1 million, $2.2 million of which will be funded through the township's open space fund with the remainder coming from Ocean County. The council also voted in favor of purchasing 2373 Lakewood Road for $2.25 million through the open space fund.

"We believe it is a good purchase," said Council President Maria Maruca. "We’re purchasing it with the county. It has been something that has been on our radar for a long time."

Camp Albocondo, located on Whitesville Road, was once targeted for purchase by former Superintendent of Schools Michael Ritacco and former members of the Board of Education who wanted to build a school there in order to support a full-day kindergarten expansion.

The plan, circulated in 2007, was scrapped after a public outcry over its then-$7.5 million price tag as well as its location near the former Ciba-Geigi site.

The campground is currently owned by the Trust for Public Land, Maruca said. It has been largely abandoned for the better part of the last decade. The nonprofit group purchased it in 2013 for $4.2 million, according to public records.

The plan faced minimal opposition during Tuesday's council meeting, and Maruca strongly signaled the governing body would not waver in its desire to purchase the site.

The council is "staunchly behind the purchase," Maruca said.

The plan, in the form of an ordinance, will be up for a public hearing – likely at the next scheduled council meeting – before a final vote will be taken on the purchase.
Greg April 10, 2014 at 07:57 AM
To all of you who want a homeless shelter built on this property. Let me answer No! When it is purchased with Open Space Tax it cannot be built upon. It has to be left the way it is or used for recreation. Plus, what a lot of people do not realize is that on this piece of property there are many place where the wetlands run through and you are NOT ALLOWED to alter that in anyway. That is not a town or county regulation that is a STATE and FEDERAL regulation. Plus, a portion of this property is located by the "Contractors Compact" which was one of the heaviest polluted areas on the CIBA property. But, we all know when the government wants something there is nothing wrong with the property. And a homeless shelter should not be build in the middle of neighborhoods and a very congested area and why should Toms River have to foot the bill? Why not turn Dover Woods into a homeless shelter? When you listen to the news reporters who interview many of these homeless people many of them want to stay on the streets and don't want to change their lifestyle. Where is personal responsibility?
Mac April 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM
Why will the Toms River taxpayers support buying this worthless piece of tainted Ciba-Geigy flood land just so one of Gilmore's leapfrog tag team partners can get out of incurring property taxes that's not worth 1/10th of the bargain price that was originally paid for this taxpayer ripoff on the open market?
Barbara April 11, 2014 at 07:03 AM
All these postings offer great insight to a corrupt bunch and their plans.... It is eye opening! Someone will score big monies from this proposed sale. It's a shame, but we live in a very corrupt state. Actually, we live in a very corrupt country when it comes to land deals.
FIMF the ll April 11, 2014 at 08:10 AM
Straight out of the Harry Reid playbook
Mac April 11, 2014 at 12:26 PM
for sure but it does keep the Gilmore girls in pumps - now if we could only find the missing link so they could learn to stand up straight

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