After decades long cleanup, East Brunswick set to open 26-acre Nature Park

In the upcoming weeks, East Brunswick will open a Nature Park after a decades long cleanup of the area.

EAST BRUNSWICK – In a few weeks, East Brunswick Township will open a new 26-acre park to the public.

Michael Reissner, director of Recreation, Parks & Community Services, said the township worked diligently to open the park on Fresh Ponds Road by restoring the area for public use.

“The new Nature Park was a Superfund site. A good portion of the property has been rectified and managed by the EPA for many years. Mayor Brad Cohen has worked with the EPA, DEP and township departments to open the property back up to the public as a passive nature and recreational area,” Reissner said.

The park is considered a Superfund site of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Superfund is a nickname given to legislation passed in 1980 by Congress.

Officially named the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the initiative aims to identify and clean up contaminated sites and areas throughout the U.S.

According to the EPA, the area was occupied by Fried Industries, a 25-year manufacturer of toxic solutions and chemical products. In 1983, the site was classified as contaminated due to the improper handling and storage of hazardous materials.

The extensive cleanup focused on the removal of dangerous substances, the extraction of leftover chemicals, disposal of contaminated soil and the complete demolition of the decrepit complex.

Nearly 40 years later, residents will now be able to safely explore and enjoy the area. The site once occupied by an abandoned factory will now be a functional space occupied by the community.

“Part of the process of creating an area for the public has been to remove and/or recycle, when appropriate, some of the content’s left over from the existing site, create a parking area and to blaze hiking trails through the property.

“Future thought has been given to place interpretive nature signage for all of the wildlife and nature in the area. As well as to perhaps invite school trips for an educational experience. There are several views of the water, opportunities for seeing birds, turtles, frogs and several other species of animals,” Reissner said.

Although the date for a grand opening hasn’t been specified, the park should be available soon.

“The park has yet to open to the public. We are hoping to open it within the next several weeks,” Reissner said.