Allentown hires firm to complete initial tasks for Ashby Park development

ALLENTOWN – The Borough Council has authorized a professional services contract with E&LP Associates to complete Phase I improvements for Sgt. George Ashby Memorial Park in Allentown.

According to a resolution, Allentown has received a Monmouth County Municipal Open Space grant in the amount of $125,000 and the Parks and Public Spaces Committee would like to continue working with E&LP Associates for the Phase I activities.

The Phase I work will include survey, ground penetrating radar, construction documentation, meetings, bid administration and construction administration, according to the resolution.

The firm’s cost to complete the Phase I activities will not exceed $27,600, according to the resolution. The action was supported by the Building and Grounds Standing Committee.

Sgt. George Ashby Memorial Park is bounded by Hamilton, Broad and North Main streets and is situated behind the Allentown United Methodist Church property.

Allentown officials purchased the 3-acre tract in 2016 for $250,000. The Monmouth County Open Space Program contributed $125,000 toward the purchase and the Monmouth Conservation Foundation contributed $25,000.

According to the website, George Ashby died at his home in Allentown on April 26, 1946, at age 102. At the time of his death, Ashby was the last remaining New Jersey Civil War veteran.

He is buried in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) cemetery on Hamilton Street, which is adjacent to the park that now bears his name.

Municipal officials have said that in addition to Ashby, there are other African-American soldiers from Allentown who served in the Civil War who are buried in the AME cemetery.