Cream Ridge firm moves forward with development of Ashby Park in Allentown


ALLENTOWN – The Borough Council has authorized the initial payment to the local firm that is developing Sgt. George Ashby Memorial Park in Allentown.

During a meeting on Sept. 14, council members voted unanimously to authorize payment No. 1 to Deer Carcass Removal Service, Cream Ridge, in the amount of $84,752.

The property where Ashby Park is being developed is bounded by Hamilton, Broad and North Main streets, and is situated behind the Allentown United Methodist Church property.

On Sept. 8, 2020, Borough Council members awarded a $210,681 contract to Deer Carcass Removal Service for the Phase I work at Ashby Park.

Following the council’s decision to make the first payment to the company, Borough Administrator Laurie Roth said, “The work that has been done in Phase I of the Sgt. George Ashby Memorial Park so far includes the installation of a permeable asphalt path, the installation of a crushed stone path and the removal of a timber wall.

“Deer Carcass Removal Service has brick and granite pavers to install, curb and sidewalk work to install at the Hamilton and Broad Street park entrances, and trees to install near the pathways.

“The borough’s Department of Public Works is removing a tree that was damaged by beetles, installing temporary signs, installing fencing at the Broad Street entrance and planting trees along the property line on Broad Street,” Roth told the Examiner.

She said E&LP Associates, which is helping to develop Ashby Park, “is currently working on plans for Phase II of the park. The plans should be completed in mid-October. The borough will go out to bid at that time, with results coming back in November, and a contract being awarded in early December. Work on Phase II will start in the spring of 2022.”

Allentown officials are seeking funding from Monmouth County for the Phase II work and have said the cost to develop Ashby Park could approach $1.2 million.

Borough 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.

Allentown later received a Monmouth County Municipal Open Space grant in the amount of $125,000 to assist in the development of Ashby Park.

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.

Ashby is buried in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) cemetery on Hamilton Street, which is adjacent to the land that will be developed as a park and bear 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.