After residents expressed concerns of development of the so-called “Lucille Ball Pond” area on the corner of Clive Street and Mason Drive on the border of Edison and Metuchen, officials in both towns are calling on the county to preserve the pond as a protected wetland.
Metuchen Mayor Jonathan Busch has spoken about the concerns at Borough Council meetings, and said he has met with Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey, the interested developer of the area, and county officials.
“We are in conversations right now for the possibility of having the county purchase the pond and help cleanup the pond,” he said, adding the process is involved with many government entities working together.
The councils in Edison and Metuchen have put support behind the county for the purchase and rehabilitation of a portion of the property containing the Clive Street Pond through resolutions.
Edison Councilman Michael Lombardi said he lives nearby and has seen the signs “Save the Lucille Ball Pond.”
“I hope the Board of Chosen Freeholders will act on our resolution,” he said.
Busch said the pond is not worth very much because it cannot be developed.
“It is a 20,000-year-old glacial kettle pond,” he said. “You can’t build houses on a pond.”
Busch said with potential help from the county and Edison, they could jointly operate a space where residents could enjoy nature.
“It’s open space,” he said. “It’s a beautiful old pond that has some biological, ecological value and could be something schools could use. … It could potentially be a great resource for our residents.”
Middlesex County Freeholder Charles Kenny said he has met with officials in Edison and Metuchen.
“We asked both towns for a resolution in support of preserving the pond,” he said.
Kenny said county officials have reached out to Rutgers University to see if there is any interest from professors and students to help restore the pond back to what it used to be.
Busch said the process working with the county and Edison would be similar to the community-wide dog park, which opened in 2016.
Working together, Edison and Metuchen officials turned the long-vacant 4.3-acre Whitman Avenue property in Edison that borders Metuchen into a groomed dog park for pets and owners from both communities.
In fall 2016, Nannygoats, a newsletter of the Metuchen-Edison Historical Society, featured the story behind the pond, which has been called an urban legend in the area.
Lucille Ball, an American actress and comedian of the “I Love Lucy” comedy sitcoms, was supposedly in the Metuchen/Edison area on at least one occasion in the 1960s. While in the area she was looking at houses with a real estate agent, which included 110 Clive St. at the corner of Mason Drive in Edison. However, Ball never owned the house, nor did any member of her family, according to the newsletter.