Carteret Qualifies For $25 Million In DEP Grant Funds

CARTERET—Mayor Daniel Reiman joined with Councilwoman Susan Naples this week to announce that the borough has qualified for $1.6 million in New Jersey DEP funds for environmental work performed at the Carteret Waterfront Park. An additional $73,000 in N.J. D.E.P. funding was already awarded for the remediation of 35 Cooke Avenue.

In June, redevelopment areas in Carteret were designated with the coveted “BDA” title by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. “BDA” stands for Brownfield Development Area and authorizes up to $25 million in addition state grants to cover the costs associated with cleanup and remediation along the Carteret Waterfront. The $1.6 million to be recovered by the borough will go towards funding of the marina cove and wetlands remediation which will ultimately make way for a 250 slip marina and waterfront village of shops, promenades and townhomes.

In addition “35 Cooke,” now officially designated a redevelopment area by the Carteret Redevelopment Agency, was previously owned by the Dashmesh Dunbar, who purchased it in 2000 intending to construct a temple. The project was never completed, and an abandoned girder structure remained on the property for several years until the borough condemned it in 2007.

Last year the borough announced that the site would be reserved for either public or private development. Reiman has stated that current plans are still being negotiated, and that proposals include a residential development and a private school. According to the Mayor, 35 Cooke Avenue would be an advantageous location for any of the proposals, with its immediate access to the Washington Avenue transit area, the Borough Library, Civic Center Park, and the town’s pending fitness center.

The New Jersey D.E.P. has awarded Carteret $73,000 to cap the “Historic Fill” that dates back to the 1950’s. Specifically, the grant will fund a Preliminary Assessment followed by the Site Investigation and Remedial Investigation of soil and groundwater quality. These studies are expected to justify the capping of the site with whatever pavement and structures will coincide with its development. This is not an uncommon means of remediation in New Jersey.

“Use of the proposed building slab and asphalt pavement as caps, or Engineering Controls, is consistent with DEP-approved methodology for redevelopment,” according to Lawra Dodge, of Excel Environmental Resources, Inc, “as long as the caps are protective. In this case, they certainly will be, since the entire property will be covered with either concrete building slab, asphalt pavement, concrete sidewalks or clean soil-covered landscape areas.”

Excel Environmental Resources has provided Carteret with its consulting services since 2006, and has assisted with many of its Brownfields remediation studies, and in obtaining much of the subsequent funding it has received. In its own study, Excel determined that the Historic Fill at 35 Cooke Avenue contained minor concentrations of various hydrocarbons and metals. According to Excel, “capping” as a means of containing such residual contamination is protective of human health and the environment, since the physical components of the site development act as the actual cap. It is therefore cost effective as well.

“Much of the redevelopment throughout New Jersey could not be conducted were it not for these studies,” Mayor Reiman said, “and the remediation funding that allows us to – in this case literally – pave the way for revitalization. This is a big step forward for the redevelopment of 35 Cooke Avenue, which sat dormant for nearly a decade, but which will be an asset to Carteret in the near future. But much more important is the state designation for our waterfront and the now $25 million that we will receive from the DEP to continue with our waterfront redevelopment and marina / ferry terminals.

“We’re also grateful to the N.J. D.E.P., for funding this necessary remediation along the waterfront, and recognizing the potential of 35 Cooke Avenue,” said Naples.

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