By Jay Cook |
MIDDLETOWN – The township plans on rolling out a multiyear, multipark refurbishment project that will bring a facelift to 10 parks.
They are among the township’s 49 active parks and passive recreation spaces used by the township’s 67,000 residents, located from the small village of Lincroft to the Bayshore communities along Sandy Hook Bay.
Middletown’s township administrator Tony Mercantante stressed the importance of the project. “You have to keep it maintained and you have to try to keep the equipment up to date.”
Last February, the governing body approved a resolution for a $1.4 million township-wide, four-year park improvement project at 10 different open spaces in Middletown, which service residents and different local high school athletic teams. Those parks are Tindall Park, McMahon Park, Croydon Hall Park, Normandy Park, Fairview Acres Park, Lincroft Acres Park, Bodman Park, Nutswamp School Fields, Hillside Park and Poricy Park.
Middletown is seeking improvements for ADA access, court resurfacing, field improvements, video camera surveillance, security, safety, lighting and fencing.
Mercantante said in March the township will look to pass a resolution to apply to the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres grant program, where state funding would cover a quarter of the improvement costs at a time. For the first round of improvements, he anticipates Green Acres will fund approximately $369,000 annually until the project is completed.
While cost estimates, budgeting and a specific timeline still have to be hashed out, Mercantante said the first project could be a repurposing at Tindall Park, located across Tindall Road from Middletown High School North. Nestled around the multiple tennis courts there is an overgrown, 18-hole miniature golf course which hasn’t been used in about a decade. Mercantante said the plan is to turn that into a modern dog park.
“The space is available, so we just have to convert it,” he said.
Other phases down the road could be the repurposing of two roller hockey rinks located at McMahon Park, Alberta Avenue, and at Kunkel Park in Leonardo. He did say the popular outdoor rink at Normandy Park would be maintained.
Tennis courts at Normandy Park and Tindall Park, which are used by Middletown High School South and North, respectively, could be upgraded and resurfaced with Matéflex. The township used that modular tile surfacing at courts refurbished in Bodman Park last summer. They are approved by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association for high school usage.
Park security is also an issue, he said. Most of Middletown’s parks are located around residential areas, but some are tucked away from the public eye near wooded areas.
“We’re trying to do cameras in most of the parks, because there is a lot of activity, lots of vandalism issues, and that’s expensive to fix,” Mercantante added. “It’s a big problem.”
He also said Middletown will focus on ADA compliance and improvements to the selected parks, similar to how Holmdel Township used the Monmouth County Park System’s Municipal Open Space Grant last year. Holmdel officials unveiled a fully ADA-compliant, $329,850 park addition to Cross Farm Park last summer.
Mercantante also said Middletown will seek grant money from the county this year to refurbish six to eight of the more worn-out playground sets around town.
A list of all of Middletown Township parks can be found at the township website, MiddletownNJ.org/facilities.
This article was first published in the Feb. 22-March 1, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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