TINTON FALLS – Members of the Tinton Falls Borough Council are expected to authorize the submission of a grant application to Monmouth County when they meet on Sept. 17.
During a council meeting on Sept. 3, Borough Engineer Thomas Neff announced that officials would apply to the Monmouth County Open Space Grant Program for funding of up to $250,000 to be used to develop recreational facilities at Traditions Park, between Wardell and Shafto roads, near the Foxchase residential development.
Neff said while the maximum grant the county awards through the program is $250,000, he is realistically hoping to receive $200,000. The borough will have to match the amount of any grant that is received, he said.
“We would like to start developing the parks we have purchased,” he told members of the council and residents.
Neff presented a concept plan for Traditions Park which showed two full-size tennis courts, two pickleball courts, a basketball court, a tot lot playground and a parking area.
He explained that the proposed facilities would cover about 2 acres of the 45-acre tract. Much of the remainder of the parcel is wetlands and is not likely to be developed, Neff said.
Construction costs, including significant grading of the site, for the facilities that were discussed would run about $500,000, according to the engineer.
Neff said the plan he was presenting that evening is not a final design and would be subject to additional discussion and revisions if Tinton Falls receives the county grant and moves forward with the development of Traditions Park.
In response to a question, Neff said there is no plan to install lighting of the type that is often found at large recreation centers and used for nighttime athletic events.
He said money officials use to match a county grant would come from the borough’s open space trust fund, which is supported by an annual open space tax that is collected from property owners in the municipality.
When the public hearing on the grant application was opened to public comment, resident Denise Catalano said, “Thank you for keeping tennis courts in mind. I have been asking for them. This is a great plus.”
Catalano suggested that more than two tennis courts may be appropriate at Traditions Park, given its proximity to a residential development.
It was noted the Foxchase development has two tennis courts for its residents, but that those courts are in a deteriorating condition.
Gerald Turning, a former mayor, former police chief and former borough administrator, said one “glaring error” in the concept plan Neff presented was a lack of restrooms.
Regarding the tennis courts, Turning said a survey should be conducted to gauge how many residents would make use of tennis courts at that location.
Recreation Superintendent Sherri Eisele said the facilities Neff described “would be a great addition and asset to the parks we have.” She said there is a need for pickleball courts and tennis courts, and she supported the suggestion that restrooms should be included in the plan.
Council President Gary Baldwin said restrooms are a consideration, although he said it is not certain the borough would be able to include them immediately upon the development of the parcel.
Neff asked for a resolution in support of the grant application and the council members said they would take that action on Sept. 17.