CARTERET–Middlesex County Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano and Carteret Mayor Dan Reiman have announced that upgrades and enhancements at the county’s Medwick Park in West Carteret have been completed. A ribbon cutting and grand re-opening ceremony have been scheduled for noon on Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Pauline Street entrance.
In 2009, Reiman and the Borough Council met with representatives from Middlesex County for a public presentation regarding proposed improvements. Freeholder Deputy Director Ronald G. Rios and other county representatives joined the Mayor to introduce plans to the Council and Carteret residents, which involved $15 million in county-funded upgrades to the county park.
The work was needed because areas of Medwick Park were found to have elevated levels of metallic contamination at the construction staging area of a US Army Corps 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, and heavy metals.
Middlesex County officials joined the N.J. D.E.P., to announce that even though traces of lead and arsenic were relatively minimal, the majority of the park would be closed as a precaution, pending N.J. D.E.P. remedial plan approval.
“We went above and beyond in our caution and work in ensuring that this park exceeded health and safety standards,” said Rafano. “We also accelerated the project, completing it in three years rather than the 10 years that it was originally scheduled to take. We take great pride in our County Park System, and bringing Joseph Medwick Park back to beneficial use illustrates that pride and our commitment.”
“Medwick Park is a valuable public asset that plays an important part in the lives of area residents, athletes, and visitors,” Reiman stated. “The Middlesex County Freeholders focused on Medwick Park’s assets, with a significant number of upgrades to its athletic facilities and recreational amenities that have coincided with the cleanup process. We are very pleased that our Freeholder Board has chosen to invest in these enhancements, which will bring the park 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 2009, county officials announced that they had coordinated a comprehensive cleanup project that included major upgrades to the park’s athletic facilities, including the addition of new football, soccer and multi-purpose fields, and two baseball fields. Other active and passive recreational resources, including the park’s playground, have received additional enhancements and upgrades.
The project has been completed at no cost to Carteret residents, and up to 75 percent of the county’s investment could be recouped by the State DEP.
“As a long-time Carteret resident, and as someone who has raised his family here, I am particularly proud of the Freeholders’ work in reinvigorating the county’s Medwick Park,” said Rios, who previously served as a Carteret borough councilman and council president. “This 83-acre park truly has been restored to its original beauty and takes its place as a gem in our system. I encourage residents of all ages to come and experience for themselves the Freeholders’ dedication to offering the best and most state-of-the-art recreational facilities for all our residents.”