MILLTOWN — Middlesex County opened its 21st county park Thursday with the dedication of the David B. Crabiel Park at the border of Milltown and North Brunswick.
About 150 people, including children from North Brunswick and Milltown sports teams, celebrated the opening of the 25-acre park that consists of a new Little League field, a multi-purpose field that can be used for soccer and boys’ and girls’ lacrosse, a playground, comfort station and walking and hiking trails.
About 10 acres of the park will remain dedicated open space. That space lies along a residential area in Milltown.
The park was dedicated in memory of longtime Middlesex County Freeholder Director David B. Crabiel, who died in December 2008.
Freeholder Stephen J. “Pete” Dalina, chair of the county’s Parks and Recreation Committee said: “(Crabiel’s) involvement with this project goes back to the purchase of this land as he was the driving force behind the acquisition. He had a vision to provide this area of the County with additional recreational facilities that were sorely needed, and in 2004, when the opportunity to buy this prime site presented itself, Dave dug in and fought hard until the land belonged to Middlesex County.”
The land, which lies along Route 1 North at the border of Milltown Borough and North Brunswick Township, could have been developed to include a shopping mall.
Instead, the county created its 21st park and designed it using the latest technology in field materials and lighting. Also, the roof of the comfort station includes 850 square feet of the latest solar panel technology.
“We included the panels in this project as a ‘demonstration project’ to encourage others to follow our lead,” said Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano. “By using this environmentally friendly way of producing power, we help our environment and we save money.”
State Senator Bob Smith, Freeholder Deputy Director Ronald G. Rios, Freeholder Carol Barrett Bellante and Freeholder Blanquita B. Valenti attended the ceremony.
Milltown Mayor Gloria M. Bradford and North Brunswick Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack and members of the councils in each of the towns also attended the event, as did Paulette Crabiel Wahler, David B. Crabiel’s daughter, and her family.
“It’s a gorgeous park,” said Bradford. “I think it will encourage our Recreation Department to maintain its outstanding offerings to our residents and, in fact, the opportunities will increase. I look forward to the children enjoying it.”
“The new county park turned out just right,” said Womack. “What a wonderful way for Dave Crabiel to continue to live on in North Brunswick and in Middlesex County for generations to come.”
The park also features a plaque honoring David B. Crabiel, who served as county freeholder from 1978 to 1991 and from 1994 to 2008. He was Freeholder Director from 1994 to 1995 and from 1998 to 2008. Crabiel also served as a Milltown Councilman from 1960 to 1967 and Mayor of Milltown from 1968 to 1978.
In closing his remarks at the event, Rafano said: “I wish to recognize the late, great Freeholder Director David B. Crabiel, who, in so many ways, propelled Middlesex County above the rest. His tireless efforts on behalf of the people of Middlesex County are too numerous to count and will never be forgotten. Dave’s mission in life was to ensure that Middlesex County remained the greatest county in the land!”
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