O.B. hits home run with 2 new ballfields


Staff Writer

OLD BRIDGE – Township Little Leaguers will soon have more fields to hit the ball out of, thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

The grant allows for the construction of two Little League-sized playing fields at Peter A. Mannino Park, Route 516.

“The development of these ballfields at Mannino Park will be especially convenient for the Little Leagues in the immediate area,” Gillespie said. These new fields, when completed, will provide more playing opportunities for everyone in town, and the youngsters who participate in these organized leagues.”

Though the new fields will be open for use by all township children, they will be of greatest service to Sayrewoods South Little League, the town’s largest league, whose players have endured the inconvenience of flooding at their normal playing fields on Cindy Street, Mayor Jim Phillips said.

The fields will also be utilized regularly by the Old Bridge Little League, because of their close proximity to the park. All of the town’s Little Leagues have been growing, making the timing just right for the new facilities, Phillips said.

The project is part of an ongoing process of improving the park, Phillips said. Designs for the fields, which will come complete with lighting, irrigation and bathroom facilities, is in the works. Township officials expect to begin accepting construction proposals before the end of April, Phillips said, and as long as an acceptable bid is found and the contract is awarded, the fields will be under construction before summer.

“We’ll make them top-of-the-line playing fields for the children of Old Bridge,” Phillips said. “The ability for them to play under the lights will give them … a lot more playing time.”

The ceremonial check for the grant was presented to Gillespie by Freeholders David Crabiel and Camille Fernicola at their March 1 meeting in New Brunswick. The grant is part of a county program to help municipalities develop recreational facilities, and is the second one received by the town of Old Bridge. The first was used to install lighting at the soccer fields on Ticetown Road.

“The Middlesex County Board of Freeholders has been very supportive of our efforts in this regard,” Gillespie said. “I want to personally thank Director Crabiel and the rest of the freeholder board for all of their financial assistance. We will certainly put these funds to good use to construct new playing fields at Mannino Park.”