Popular outdoor pool and recreation center well attended
By Laura D. Kolnoski
TINTON FALLS – The former Fort Monmouth Teen Center and Swimming Pool on Guam Lane is now officially the property of Monmouth County.
Despite being open to the public for the first time this summer, the public recreational facility had high attendance with 6,500 using the outdoor pool, mostly by camps and members of the public, from June 8 through August 30.
“2015 was a great summer for Fort Monmouth because we were able to provide an affordable way for families to cool off,” said Recreation Supervisor Jenn Troisi. “We are looking forward to an even busier 2016 summer season.” The outdoor pool is scheduled to reopen June 4, 2016.
Both sites were targeted for county use by Freeholder Lillian Burry shortly after the fort was closed by the U.S. Army. In addition to being the county’s representative on FMERA, she is also the freeholder liaison to the county parks department.
“The county is absolutely delighted with the pool and recreation center facility,” Burry said. “We had remarkable usage this summer. The feedback from the public has been very positive.” Before the vote, she read a statement from the Monmouth County Parks Commissioners endorsing the transfer stating, “The facility has been discovered by residents who are coming out in great numbers.” This summer, the pool was open from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. on weekends.
Amenities in the main building include classrooms, a gymnasium, and a game room, now offering programs including arts and crafts, sports, exercise classes, and special events.
For fall, the recreation center opens at 7:30 a.m. and is open Monday-Thursday nights until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. depending on the programs, said Recreation Program Coordinator Ann Mary Sage. A new Pickleball program is offered on Friday nights. The center is generally open on Saturdays and Sundays until 3:30 p.m. and can be booked for birthday parties.
“We have begun adding more one-time programs for families, as this seems to be popular, including our new Candy Bar Bingo,” Sage said. “We are reaching out to ‘tweens with Friday Night Rocks on selected Fridays, where we will have the climbing wall, gym activities, snacks, and music.” Other new programs include Krav Maga, Kung Fu, children’s technology classes including 3D Design and Printing, Fencing, and Art Classes for individuals with memory loss.
A recent unanimous vote by members of the Fort Monmouth Economic Redevelopment Authority (FMERA) formalized the conveyance of the facility to the county Department of Parks and Recreation in exchange for ongoing in-kind services and infrastructure repairs.
The indoor portion of the facility opened to the public last year, but pool use was limited to camp programs as repairs progressed.
The county’s in-kind work included road and traffic light improvements at the intersection of Hope and Corregidor Roads, repair of the center’s HVAC system, roof leaks, the addition of handicapped-accessible ramps, and more, valued at $280,817. Future work totaling another $221,828 includes road repaving, landscaping, and upkeep of recreational and passive open space, storm sewer maintenance and repair, and excavation projects.
The Monmouth County Department of Public Works and Engineering, which opened a satellite location at the fort’s former motor pool over a year ago, has been assisting with a variety of maintenance and repair work at Fort Monmouth. The motor pool was acquired via a similar arrangement between FMERA and the county.
For more information, visit www.monmouthcountyparks.com.
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