Nomahegan Lake Set For $1.5 Million Restoration Project

CRANFORD – The lake at Union County’s Nomahegan Park, one of the most popular parks in the Union County Park System, will soon undergo a $1.5 million restoration.

The restoration of the 7.5-acre lake follows the rehabilitation of Upper Echo Lake in Echo Lake Park last year and is part of a four-lake restoration project that also includes Rahway River Park in Rahway, Briant Park in Summit and Meisel Avenue Park in Springfield. While work is expected to get underway in Rahway by the end of this year, the projects at Briant and Meisel will probably get underway in 2013, according to county officials.

At Thursday night’s agenda-setting meeting of the Union County Board of Freeholders, board members agreed to vote next week on a proposed $1,495,358 contract to Let It Grow Inc. of River Edge. The Nomahegan project is expected to take upwards of nine months to complete.

“We have a magnificent County Parks system,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski. “But the years have taken a toll on our lakes, many of which are man-made. Silt has built up, along with a growing amount of organic matter. That all has to come out.”

Nomahegan Park was part of the original park system designed by the Olmsted Brothers landscape architectural firm. An estimated 46,400 cubic yards of soil was excavated in 1930 to create the lake, which holds an estimated 9.8 million gallons of water. The lake is fed by a tributary of the Rahway River.

While some of the details of the restoration project will be worked out next month, parks users will be affected.

“We will do everything possible to minimize the impact to Nomahegan’s users,” said Freeholder Chairman Al Mirabella. “We just ask folks to realize that any inconvenience is temporary.”

The restoration project is going to also involve extensive plantings along the lake shoreline.

The plantings are designed to reduce silt infiltration into the lake and to make it more difficult for Canada Geese to have easy access to the water, which then encourages flocks to remain in the park.

Two new aerators will be installed in the lake, along with several areas lined with glaciated boulders to enable access to the water to fish.

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