Brick Residents Concerned Over Park Use And Abuse

(Photo by Micromedia Publications)

BRICK – An existing ordinance that prohibits large groups of people from being dropped off by a vehicle at a township park or beach without a permit was amended in such a way that their mode of transportation is no longer the issue.

During a recent council meeting, the governing body voted unanimously on the second reading of the ordinance that any group of 15 or more must have a permit to use one of the township parks or beaches, regardless of how they got there.

Resident Nan Coll said that she noticed large groups of school-age girls swimming in their clothes at Windward Beach after hours.

“I had a feeling that they were not Brick residents, that they come from an adjoining town. Is there anything we have that that park is only for Brick residents and taxpayers?” she asked.

Mayor John G. Ducey said the township is not allowed to place limits on who uses Brick parks because the township utilizes state Green Acres funds for its parks.

The state determines the park’s use, but the township sets hours of operation, the staff, the type of playground equipment, he added.

Resident Pat Whiting asked how the township could prevent “multiple permits of these particular people” from coming to the parks and beaches at the same time.

She said she has noticed that many of the groups go into the water after hours. “What happens if someone drowns? There’s no lifeguards there. And another thing is, the litter. It’s disgusting…how is this being enforced? Is somebody watching over this at all times?”

Municipal Deputy Court Administrator Lisa Newton is the 2017 Ocean Award recipient.
From left, Municipal Court Judge Joseph D. Grisanti, Newton, Mayor John Ducey, and Council President Art Halloran. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

Ducey said residents should call the police when they see a problem. During daylight hours, he said Parks employees oversee the parks, and for after hours, the township recently hired parks security personnel.

Councilman Jim Fozman said that the application fee for the permit could be used to clean up after a large group if they leave a mess. “That’s what it’s for,” he said.

“Multiple permits could be applied for, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be granted, so if we look at permit applications and there’s just too many people, it doesn’t mean they would be approved,” said Business Administrator Joanne Bergin.

The Parks security detail did not have the ability to enforce an ordinance, because an ordinance was not yet in place, she added. “So, tonight it is in place,” Bergin said.

Resident Nancy Day suggested that the township stop taking Green Acres money in order to have more control over its parks.

She also asked why there were no bathrooms installed during the recently-renovated Angela Hibbard Park on Drum Point Road.

“They put all that money in for irrigation, a beautiful dog park, there’s a pumping station right there…you have all these little children, it would be nice to have a bathroom with a changing station for the kids,” Day said.

Bergin said that bathrooms are not installed at neighborhood parks because that makes them the destination parks that “drives the need for ordinances that addresses large groups coming in buses and taking away from the ability of people in the neighborhood to enjoy the park.”

“So that’s a strategic decision. On the destination parks we put in bathrooms, in the neighborhood parks we do not,” said Bergin. “Whether you agree or disagree, I just thought I would explain why there’s no bathrooms there.”

There are also ordinances in town that prohibit after hours swimming in Brick and an ordinance that people need to wear proper swimming attire, said Mayor Ducey.

“You can’t just go in there with your clothes. Those are ordinances that have been on the books for a long time here in Brick Township,” he said.

Joseph Castellano (in red) with Mayor John Ducey. Castellano won the Annual NJ Skills USA Jobs Demonstration. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

In other news, roadway improvements will soon begin in Lake Riviera as the governing body authorized an award of bid to Earle Asphalt Company of Farmingdale.

The roads affected by the Lake Riviera Phase 3 roadway improvements include Evergreen Drive, Dogwood Drive, Hawaii Drive, and Lake Oak Place.

The township received bids on July 28 after notices were mailed to 61 potential bidders, said Ducey said.

Seven contractors responded, five submitted bids, and the consulting engineer recommended awarding the bid to the low, responsive, responsible bidder. This was Earle Asphalt Company for a total bid amount of $1,427,313, which includes the base bid and all alternates, he said.

All of the bids came in within $300,000 of each other, with the highest bid at some $1.8 million, Ducey said.

The scope of the work includes roadway milling and resurfacing, select curb replacement, curb ramps, drainage improvements, and retrofitting of curb pieces and installation of bicycle-safe grates.

In other news, the governing body recognized two people for outstanding achievement.

Joseph Castellano is a post-secondary student at the Ocean County Vocational Technical School’s culinary program at the Brick Center. He won the Annual NJ Skills USA Jobs Demonstration for making pizza dough by tossing it in the air, Ducey said. He competed in the nationals in Louisville, KY and got 6th place. The Mayor proclaimed Wednesday, August 9 as “Joseph Castellano Day.”

Brick’s Municipal Deputy Court Administrator Lisa Newton won the 2017 Ocean Award.

“Lisa Newton has distinguished herself and is recognized for her efforts,” Ducey said. “Every year the Ocean County vicinage honors court employees with the Ocean Award. This award recognizes deserving employees for their outstanding leadership, exemplary service, achievement and non-work effort, such as community service.”

The next council meeting will be on Tuesday, August 22 at 7 p.m.

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Judy moved to Ocean County from New York City in 1988, and began her second career as a feature and news reporter in the mid-1990's. She has worked for Micromedia Publications since 2008, primarily reporting for The Toms River Times and The Brick Times. Judy has also worked for The Leader Review in Point Pleasant Beach, The Brick Communicator and The Asbury Park Press. Reach Judy by e-mail at [email protected]