Firm gets $81K for design work at Mannino Park


Staff Writer

OLD BRIDGE – The Township Council on Monday approved a professional service contract for future recreational uses at Peter A. Mannino Park.

The council voted unanimously to award the $81,000 contract to Kinsey Associates, a Hackettstown-based architectural firm that specializes in recreation. The vote was unanimous, though councilmen Reginald Butler and Dennis Maher were absent from the meeting.

“There is a grand design for what Mannino Park will be,” Mayor Jim Phillips said.

Phillips and township Parks and Recreation Director Tom Badcock discussed what that design might be, and made plans to find a firm that would develop the park.

“Rather than go out and design the entire park at this stage, what you see here tonight is to bring on a firm, which will actually design the next segment,” Phillips said during the meeting.

The design will include one or two Little League fields for township use, the mayor said, and will be funded by $1 million in contributions made to a recreation fund by developers who have built in Old Bridge.

Phillips said the need for those athletic fields is pressing.

“The next section should address the needs of Little Leagues in town, which are growing … I believe Sayrewood South is one of the fastest-growing Little Leagues in Old Bridge,” he said.

The capital budget allows for improvements to township recreation, including work at Mannino Park.

The Route 516 park, Phillips has said, will grow with Old Bridge.

“Mannino Park will be the focus of all recreational activity in Old Bridge for the foreseeable future,” he said in December.

The park is made up of more than 200 acres of land adjacent to 800 acres of Middlesex County-owned property. Currently, there is a road that leads into the entrance of the park, as well as a newly operational traffic light at the corner of Route 516 and Owens Road.

Plans have been made for a YMCA to be built within the park – something the township has long worked for.

But the YMCA is just one aspect of the park’s development. Other ideas include a dog park, girls’ softball fields and a lacrosse field, officials have said.