Sayreville field will not convert to bus depot; location cited for Cheesequake Road

Members of the public held a rucking protest on Jan. 23 to object to the moving of a Vietnam War memorial and sports fields at Selover Elementary School to make way for a bus depot.

SAYREVILLE – The Borough Council and Sayreville School District Board of Education are finalizing an agreement to give the municipality ownership of a baseball field dedicated to a resident killed in the Vietnam War and ensure it does not become the location of a proposed transportation complex.

Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick announced the pending land transfer agreement between the municipal governing body and the school district at the council’s March 14 meeting. Kilpatrick said the agreement will give Sayreville ownership of a baseball and softball complex on Woodland Avenue, located in the Morgan section of the borough.

The complex, which is on the grounds of the Jesse Selover Elementary School, includes a field dedicated to PFC Wayne “Butch” Grant, a Sayreville resident who was killed during the Vietnam War in 1967.

Through the agreement, the complex will not be used as the location of a transportation complex proposed by the district.

The mayor said the district is planning to build the transportation complex on seven acres of the northbound side of Cheesequake Road, across from the Center for Lifelong Learning and between athletic fields and DuPont properties.

“This is unprecedented,” she said. “The resolution appears better than what anybody could have imagined.”

The agreement follows a joint meeting between the Borough Council and Board of Education on March 7 to determine a location for the proposed transportation complex, which was the first joint meeting for the two bodies.

Residents objected to having the proposed transportation complex built at the athletic fields after board members passed a resolution in December. The resolution approved Spiezle Architectural Group, Inc. to receive $339,800 for services related to the construction of the transportation complex at Jesse Selover School.

District administrators emphasized that the resolution was for a preliminary design of the transportation complex, not physical construction. The complex is intended to address a growing student population by increasing the number of buses; in August 2021, the board approved the $1.65 million lease purchase of 17 new buses.

Following objection from residents, the board passed a new resolution in February that removed mention of the Jesse Selover School, stating that Spiezle was approved to work on a transportation complex at a yet-to-be-named location.

At the joint meeting, Borough Engineer Jay Cornell said his firm, CME Associates, found eight potential areas for the transportation complex. Superintendent of Schools Richard Labbe stated only the areas on Cheesequake Road and Jernee Mill Road, which are owned by the borough, were suitable locations.

The southbound side of Cheesequake Road, by the Center for Lifelong Learning, was cited by Labbe as the preferred location for the transportation complex. However, borough officials indicated that they were interested in using the southbound side for a Department of Public Works (DPW) complex or a community center.

Labbe said the northbound side would be considered, but it was not an ideal location because the district would have to pay $700,000 to $1 million to remove trees in the area and remediate the land. In response, borough Business Administrator Dan Frankel proposed having the municipality assist the district with the costs.

A location for the proposed transportation complex was not determined during the joint meeting, but at the council’s March 14 meeting, Kilpatrick and Borough Attorney Michael DuPont confirmed that the northbound side of Cheesequake Road would be the location in the pending agreement.