County to give park access a second look

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

WOODBRIDGE — Debbie Melnick said she loves spending a warm spring day in the Alvin P. Williams Memorial Park in Sewaren. But Melnick, who lives right down the road, cannot walk there.

"There’s no walkway for children to walk or ride their bikes. Anything would be better than this way," she said.

Because of complaints like these, county officials said they are looking to create an additional 10- to 12-foot-wide pedestrian and bicycle path along the right side of the existing roadway into the park.

The only way to access the county park, located on a peninsula off Cliff Road, is through the entrance to the Public Service Electric and Gas Co.’s generating station.

"There’s not enough space for pedestrians and bikes," said Deputy Freeholder Director Stephen "Pete" Dalina, chairman of the county’s parks and recreation committee. "We want to get the most out of it that we could. There’s not enough room."

According to a press release from the freeholders’ office, the county has retained the services of Maser Consulting, Hamilton Square, to conduct engineering and environmental studies.

"Any plan to increase accessibility to the park will not eliminate the PSE&G right of way," Dalina said. "Any such plan will incorporate the current right of way in it."

Dalina said that where the road-widening project may encroach wetlands, a bridge would be installed, pending state Department of Environmental Protection approval.

The project would be included in the county’s capital budget, according to Dalina.

However, he said it was too early to estimate the cost of the project.

"I couldn’t quote a cost yet," he said. "We’d have to get an OK from the DEP and then consider any construction needed."

Although Woodbridge is considering constructing a skate park a few hundred feet away from the current park entrance, Municipal Engineer Scott Thompson said creating a second entrance to the county park is not being considered.

Sewaren resident Robert Ringwood said he would like to see a pedestrian walkway along the entrance into the park.

"There’s no place for anybody to walk. It’s dangerous," he said during a visit to the park last week.

"We come here quite often," Carteret resident Manuela Sampedro said. "I think it’s a great idea. [The access road is] barely wide enough now."