Home Independent Independent News Aberdeen council discusses upgrades to Veterans Memorial Park

Aberdeen council discusses upgrades to Veterans Memorial Park

By Kayla J. Marsh

Staff Writer

ABERDEEN – Veterans Memorial Park at Cliffwood Beach will soon be getting a makeover that the governing body hopes will translate the site into an attractive  destination spot for years to come.

“We are very excited about this because it is probably one of the first things done in that area for a long time,” Mayor Fred Tagliarini said.

“We want to make Cliffwood Beach a destination for our residents and residents of surrounding towns, so we are very excited about this and think this will be a great destination for the entire family to come.”

At the Feb. 2 Mayor and Council meeting, Don Norbut of T&M Associates in Middletown, updated the governing body on plans for the renovation of the site down Ocean Boulevard and Lakeshore Drive.

“The existing park pretty much consists of a number of different core sports and facilities that were built in the 70’s through Green Acres funding and, over the years, age and recent storms took out some of the facilities and the park is really crying for improvements and to be renovated completely,” he said.

The township was the recipient of a $250,000 grant from the Monmouth County Open Space Program that will help with the cost of the project.

Plans show the existing basketball courts and existing sand-volleyball court being upgraded, with the existing shuffleboard course next to the basketball courts being removed.

“The large field that is out there now, which is just a large open area, will be converted into a little league field [for baseball or softball] and a small access gravel road will allow small watercraft, kayaks and such, to be launched into Whale Creek,” he said.

He said the athletic field will have benches and protective fencing for the teams, but there will be no outfield fencing or sideline fencing, at least as conceived as now.

“That gives you some flexibility to use the outfield area for youth soccer,” Norbut said. “It is not a large area, but it does meet standards for play.”

Norbut said upgraded paths would also be introduced throughout the park, connecting all the facilities and new walking path along Ocean Boulevard.

“It will give a nice walking loop or jogging loop around the site,” he said.

According to Norbut, the most interesting part of the site is really at the center of the park and will be a focal point for attendees.

“That area will be raised up about two to three feet to keep it up a little bit higher and dryer against the regular tidal flooding and there will be a gazebo which can be used as a bandstand to maybe have some concerts,” he said. “The open panel in the southwest quadrant [of the park] will be an open lawn area for seating to support that concert use.”

During the presentation, he said a rubberized safety surface would be used in the play areas.

“The rubberized safety surface will protect the kids using it from falling and hurting themselves,” Norbut said. “It will give you a nice lasting base … and will be more durable and will be able to put up with some of that nuisance flooding.”

A water spray park is also proposed for the site.

“It will be an interactive water spray park for children of all ages and … will have a variety of different features … such as a ‘tumble bucket’ that fills up with water and then flips over,” Norbut said. “The kids just love it so I think there will be a lot of splashing, a lot of yelling and screaming and just everyone having a really fun time.”

Norbut said the governing body asked that the water park have a re-circulation system so that water can be reused and recycled rather than just discharged to waste.

“There will be some equipment to do some filtering … and that will give you the ability to reuse maybe 80 percent of the water and save some money in the long run,” he said. “I think the water park is probably the most attractive feature and I think you’ll see it draw most of the attention, but it is really a neat system … and is a really nice automatic system and has water conservation measure built into it.”

A picnic grove area is also proposed for the site and Norbut said a lot of trees would be added to the site.

“You go out there now, there is really not a tree or a bush on the entire site, and when you’re going out there with your children and you want to have an enjoyable day at the park, you want shade and you want beauty and I think this entire plan is going to give you both,” he said.

Norbut said one of the other neat features is the location of the site and the park in general.

“If you look at the overall concept plan, you’ll see a crosswalk going across Ocean Boulevard, so really this type of recreation facility and the spray park is going to support your beach use,” he said. “I think this is going to allow both facilities to really support one another and promote and encourage more use.

“I think this is going to be a premiere facility for the town that is going to draw people from all over and … will be a facility I think the township will be really proud of and residents will get so much enjoyment out of this for many years.”

“Upon authorization we can start design work right away and if we get aggressive on bidding and contract while waiting for permits, I think we can break ground in September, which will put us in a good position … and there’s no reason you wouldn’t be using your spray park a year from June,” Norbut said.

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