Annual Park and Recreation awards announced

FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders recognized local open space grant projects in 14 towns by presenting them with signs to commemorate completion of their park acquisition and improvement projects.

The freeholders also recognized outstanding efforts in community recreation from Keyport, Neptune and Rumson.         These recognitions took place at the Board’s July 8 regular meeting.

“What better time than July’s National Park and Recreation Month to recognize communities who successfully completed Municipal Open Space Grant Program projects in the past year,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, who serves as the board’s liaison to the county Park System.

Towns recognized by the Board were:

  • Atlantic Highlands for its completion of the Harbor Skate Park. Mayor Frederick Rast and Councilman Roy Dellosso accepted the project sign.
  • Avon-by-the-Sea for its acquisition of a waterfront property on the Shark River as the new Riverfront Park.
  • Howell for its construction of a new basketball court, playground, picnic area and walking trails at Freewood Acres Neighborhood Park.
  • Keyport for completing two park playground projects – one at Beach Park and one at Therese Avenue Park. Council President Joseph Sheridan and Lorene Wright, borough administrator, accepted the open space project signs.
  • Middletown for its acquisition of the former Fisler tract, a 3.8-acre parcel on Compton’s Creek. Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, Environmental Commission member Martin Donohue and Jason Greenspan, township planner, accepted the project sign.
  • Millstone for its preservation of the 148-acre former Lee Farm as a new township park. Mayor Bob Kinsey and open space advocate Pat Butch accepted the open space project sign for the town.
  • Monmouth Beach for adding a new playground at Shorelands Park and resurfacing five tennis courts and adding a new restroom building at Griffin Park.
  • Red Bank for completing Phase One of improvements at Count Basie Park including a new concession stand with accessible restrooms, resurfacing of the basketball courts and improving the access to the bleachers and walkways. Councilwomen Kathleen Horgan, Sharon Lee, and Juanita Lewis accepted the project sign for the borough.
  • Neptune City for its second phase of improvements to Adams Field Park, including a new picnic pavilion, renovated concession/restroom building, the addition of ball field backstops and installation of a security camera system. Mayor Thomas Arnone and Councilwoman Barbara Shafer accepted the project sign for the town.
  • Oceanport for two phases of improvements at Old Wharf Park that include a boat launch, two fishing platforms, walkways, benches, lighting, landscaping and expanded parking areas.
  • Spring Lake Heights for its acquisition of the Fletcher Property, a 2.5-acre parcel adjacent to the borough’s existing Allaire Road Park. Councilwoman Kathleen Crippen accepted the project sign for the town.
  • Union Beach completed a project at Scholer Park that added a Little League field, a softball field and parking spaces.
  • Wall for its preservation of the Historic Blacksmith Shop. Mayor George Newberry, Deputy Mayor Ann Marie Conte and De Hearn of the Old Wall Historical Society accepted the award.
  • West Long Branch for the new lighting along the lakeside trail at Franklin Lake. Mayor Janet Tucci accepted the open space project sign for the borough.

“This program helps towns preserve open space and acquire and improve parkland by sharing the costs with the county,” Freeholder Robert D. Clifton said. “The dollars raised through the county’s voter-supported open space fund make $2 million available annually to help towns create and improve their green spaces.”

Created by the freeholders in 2003, the annual Municipal Open Space Grant Program offers matching grants of up to $250,000 for municipal open space acquisition and development projects. Since its inception, the Program has awarded funding in support of 90 important local park and recreation projects in 43 Monmouth County municipalities.

“Both land acquisition and park, recreation and open space improvement efforts are eligible for funding,” Freeholder John D’Amico said. “All of Monmouth County’s 53 municipalities have until Sept. 22 to submit an application for the next round of matching grants.”

Applications for the 2010 Municipal Open Space Grant Program are available now on the Park System’s Web site at monmouthcountyparks.com. The filing deadline is 4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 22.

The Freeholders also joined the Monmouth County Board of Recreation Commissioners in recognizing outstanding recreation efforts over the past year. Since 1980, the recreation commissioners have presented 226 awards to outstanding Monmouth County people, programs, and facilities.

The 2010 recreation awards winners are as follows:

  • Verita and Doug Hill, Neptune, received the Board of Recreation Commissioners Volunteer Service Award for their sustained commitment to recreation. The Hills have overseen the entire operation of the Neptune Township Recreation Department’s Pop Warner program since 1978. Their efforts supported and made possible many winning seasons and several titles over the past 32 years, including the 2009 conference and division championships. The Hills accepted the award with Neptune Councilman Kevin McMillan and Recreation Director Dawn Thompson.
  • Rumson Recreation Department’s Crew Program received the Victor Grossinger Achievement Award for Innovative Recreation Programming. The Rumson Crew program was designed for local youth in grades 6 through 12 with a desire to learn how to row in both a recreational and competitive environment and set them on a path for a lifelong recreation activity. More than 240 youth participate in the program that is funded primarily though the Rumson Crew Parent Booster Club. Rumson Councilman Frank Shanley accepted the award.
  • Waterfront Park in Keyport received the Charles M. Pike Award for Park and Recreation Facilities. Waterfront Park is a well-planned park with a promenade along the bayfront in Keyport. It provides a gathering place for the community with water views of New York City and it connects Keyport’s public boat ramp to the wooden boardwalk in Fireman’s Park. The Pike Award was accepted by Keyport Council President Joseph Sheridan and Lorene Wright, borough administrator.
  • Riverside Park, Rumson, received the Ross W. Maghan Award for Exemplary Park Maintenance. Riverside Park is a simple, compact, well-maintained facility with athletic fields, a walking trail along the Shrewsbury River and a playground. The Maghan Award was accepted by Rumson Councilman Frank Shanley and Administrator Tom Rogers.

“The people we are recognizing tonight are making a very positive difference in the lives of their communities,” Freeholder Amy A. Mallet said. “It is their hard work that provides the backbone of recreation in Monmouth County. Recreation boards, environmental councils, town councils, elected officials, various committees, and not-for-profit groups are all strengthened by work of the people in this room.”

“All of the towns and efforts recognized are to be commended for their commitment to providing a better quality of life for their residents through enhanced recreation and open space,” Freeholder John P. Curly said. “I encourage each and every municipality to participate in the county’s open space grant and recreation awards programs.”