County Details Plans For Reconstruction Of Contaminated Carteret Park

MIDDLESEX COUNTY—Middlesex County and Carteret officials announced the county’s plans for the remediation and reconstruction of Joseph Medwick Park, now that the county has completed its environmental studies on the 83-acre park.

“It is a project, that once complete, will restore the natural beauty of the area while offering first-class recreational facilities,” said. Middlesex County Freeholder Director David S. Crabiel.

Once completed, Medwick Park will boast recreational facilities, including baseball and softball fields, a playground and open areas for residents to enjoy.

“Medwick Park is a valuable public asset that plays an important part in the lives of area residents, athletes and visitors,” Carteret Mayor Daniel J. Reiman said. “The Middlesex County freeholders have refocused on Medwick Park’s assets, and we can look forward to a significant number of upgrades to its athletic facilities and recreational amenities that will coincide with the cleanup process. We are very pleased that our Freeholder Board has chosen to invest these enhancements, which will bring it in stride with many of our other state-of-the-art parks improvements, and reintroduce it as a public treasure for generations to enjoy.”

In 2006, sections of the park were found to have concentrations of heavy metals in the soil. The contamination was found at the construction staging area of a US Army Corp of Engineers salt marsh restoration project. In addition, the Army Corps found industrial debris buried at the site of a planned observation deck for park users. The soil around the debris was found to be contaminated with pesticides.

In August of this year, once the assessment phase was complete, the Freeholder Board authorized a capital investment of $15 million to remediate and reconstruct the park. The original plans called for the project to take 10 years. However, the county has set an aggressive three-year schedule.

“In our minds it is the right thing to do for the people of Carteret and the people of Middlesex County at large,” Crabiel said.

It is estimated that the remediation will cost $10.5 million. The remaining funds will be used for the reconstruction phase. The county expects to be reimbursed from the state for about 80 percent of the costs of the investigative site analysis and remediation.

The county has been working closely with Carteret officials throughout the assessment phase and will continue to do so as the cleanup and reconstruction progress, Crabiel said.

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