Recreation complex on its way to being built


Staff Writer

TINTON FALLS — Another recreation goal in the borough is on its way to being scored.

After years of discussion, a deluxe $1.2 million recreation complex in the southern section of town is becoming a reality.

The West Park Avenue swath of open space that the complex will be built on is commonly referred to as the Duncan Thecker tract.

A few years ago, the township bought the roughly 50-acre property for about $1.5 million with funds garnered from its open space tax. The state Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Program grants subsidized the cost.

If all goes as planned, the goal is to have Pop Warner kids playing football on the fields by August.

“It’s an aggressive plan, but this is something we have been waiting for a long time,” said Councilman Peter Maclearie, who also used to be chairman of the borough’s now defunct Open Space Committee. “This is a good thing – this complex. A couple of other deals we had been trying to workout, with respect to recreation in the southern end of town, had fallen through. The price is right and it will be a great amenity for residents. It is sorely needed and has been for some time.”

Engineers T&M Associates are preparing specs for the project and the plan is for phase one to go out to bid within two weeks, Maclearie said.

Phase one will include two football fields and a park. But when all is said and done the entire complex will include walking trails, a fenced-in doggie park, two tot lots, parking lots, a concession stand, restrooms, indoor recreation facilities, a gazebo and a lake.

“We are really looking forward to it,” said Mayor Ann McNamara. “We really have nothing like it in that area. There are virtually no recreation facilities there.”

More good news about the bargain in the project, McNamara said, is that Eatontown will share costs and maintenance since its Pop Warner league is joined with Tinton Falls.

“We met with those officials involved and they are very eager to help,” McNamara said. “They are as excited as we are about the fields.”

As far as a name goes, McNamara said she prefers to stick with names that match location, so that people will identify them with where they are.

So the West Park Avenue complex will be called something just like that – The West Park Avenue Recreation Complex.

Likewise, the Sycamore Avenue Soccer Complex on Sycamore Avenue is now being built.

In the future, officials said they would like to name a field in that complex after former borough engineer John Chmielowick, who was killed in a car accident not long ago. Chmielowick was an avid soccer enthusiast.

“It will be an appropriate way to remember and honor his memory,” McNamara said. “He is sorely missed.”