Civic center area gets new look

EAST BRUNSWICK – Long an unsightly area of the civic center complex, the space between the township’s senior center and municipal building is being improved.

The Township Council recently approved a measure that will jump-start the second phase of the improvement project. Township Finance Director L. Mason Neely said Phase I involved clearing the site and removing debris, while Phase II will include its development.

Council President Nancy Pinkin said funding for the work has been included in the capital budget for some time in order to improve the area, which she described as having health and safety issues. She said there were areas where the concrete was cracked, walls were crumbling, flooding was common and vegetation was overgrown.

The area in some ways is the “center of town,” she said, but was long ignored for improvements.

“It’s something that I’ve advocated,” Pinkin said. “It’s the area in between the two buildings and just really was in such bad shape.

“It got be a real hazard,” she added.

The cost of the project is about $300,000.

Pavers and new landscaping will be installed and benches replaced for a new sitting area. A clock is also in the works.

Neely said the focus of the project is to improve drainage in the area.

“The drainage problems were never solved when it was originally built,” he said, adding that due to the area’s tendency to hold water for such a long time, concerts held there would become mud fests.

Neely said the township is hoping to have Phase II complete before the winter.