Tuckerton Accepts World War I Service Flag

Updates Given on Shore Restoration, Lagoon Dredging
Oct 03, 2018
Photo by: Pat Johnson MEMORIAL: To celebrate the centenial of the end of World War I, members of the Seaport Stichers created replicas of the WWI service flags that 28 municipalities of Ocean County made after the war. On Monday, Oct. 1, Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly gave the flag to Tuckerton Mayor Sue Marshall and the council.

Tuckerton was gifted with a service flag commemorating the 153 members of the community who fought in World War I, and also the three men who died during the conflagration. Freeholder Jack Kelly said the members of the Seaport Stitchers Quilt Guild created 28 flags of the 28 towns that at the time made up Ocean County to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, Armistice Day: Nov. 11, 1918. It took the 21 members of the Stitchers a year to finish the flags.

During the Oct. 1 Tuckerton borough municipal meeting, Kelly said he was honored to bestow the flag on Tuckerton.

A pamphlet with all the names and the unit or service they were in was distributed to the public. Nick Brown from the Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission did the research for the flags.

“This effort was the brainchild of Freeholder John Bartlett,” said Kelly. “I’m sorry to say he is retired, to fight the big C (cancer). But I am honored to take his place.”

Kelly said last week he gave the Eagleswood flag to that municipality, his hometown. “I was glad to see we didn’t lose one person” in the war.

The public is invited to the lawn of the Ocean County Courthouse in Toms River on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. to mark the centennial with bagpipers, tolling bells and a monument dedication.

A somewhat short meeting was notable for Councilman John Schwartz’s announcement that he had heard from the state Department of Environmental Protection that very afternoon that it had received the borough’s application for dredging permits for three out of four waterfront projects Tuckerton is considering.

The first project, on South Green Street, was once called a shoreline restoration, but Schwartz now terms it a beach replenishment project. It is included in a $2.1 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization governed by a board of directors approved by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. For the borough to keep the grant money, the project was to be completed by Dec. 1, 2018. The town already has a year extension, but the borough council is requesting another extension because now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has become involved.

Apparently once a federal agency such as the Army Corps of Engineers gets involved, it triggers a separate study by the EPA under its National Environmental Policy Act.

According to its website, “The NEPA process involves a study of the environmental, health, safety, economic, social and cultural impacts of a project. This process begins when a government agency creates a proposal of action, typically for a construction project that uses federal resources.”

Both Schwartz and Council President Sam Colangelo decried this new study because it is holding up the project. “It’s the federal government holding up the federal government,” they both said at separate times in the evening.

However, Schwartz then said the date of construction of the “beach replenishment” is Nov. 1. Engineering has been done by Little Egg Harbor Township’s engineering firm, T& M, because the township is the lead agency in this grant.

On Aug. 21, Little Egg Harbor hired Albert Marine Construction of Waretown to do a project in the township on Iowa Court and the Tuckerton one on South Green Street.

The shoreline restoration or beach replenishment along South Green Street contains two separate sections. The first section, along the cove within feet of South Green Street, has all the permits to fill with 560 cubic yards of clean beach sand, graded from an area of 3 to 4 feet of stone rip rap along South Green Street to under the high tide mark about 200 feet. About 100 feet from shore there will be constructed a 224-foot-long breakwater of stone and timber piling, with three marine warning signs on the timber. There will be 30-foot inlets on both sides of the breakwater to allow for fish, horseshoe crabs and kayaks to pass through.

The second part of the South Green Street living shoreline/beach replenishment would continue from a point of land jutting out into the cove to the bulkhead at South Green Street Park.

Schwartz also said there would be no staging on South Green Street. “The contractor will bring the material in, (dump it) and then leave.”

The project to fill in the eroded peninsula at the end of Little Egg Harbor Boulevard is in limbo, waiting on one property owner to give permission for an easement.

Schwartz also said the borough is negotiating to lease portions of “the Gomez property,” land that is north of the new town hall and stretches to the bay, to receive 77,560 cubic yards of dredge spoils from Thompson Creek. About 15,000 cubic yards is slated to be dredged from Tuckerton Beach lagoons on the west side of South Green Street on Tuckerton Creek, and a similar amount from the east side facing Little Egg Harbor. These dredge spoils could also be pumped to “the Gomez property,” but it will require a second pump and more pipes. This is only in the event that Story Island and the confined disposal facility at the mouth of Tuckerton Creek are not ready in time.

Another project is to shore up Lanyard lagoon, which now belongs to the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. This project is still in the conceptual stage; Tuckerton’s engineering firm, Owen and Little, is drawing up the plans.

Schwartz also met with the town’s tax assessor, and they have determined that there are 677 properties on the waterfront that would have a special assessment levied against them to pay for the dredging of lagoons. But just how much per property is not yet determined. The borough hasn’t yet sought bids from contractors to be able to get a per-property cost. Once they have a figure, they can then see about bonding for the projects.

“The good news is that all the projects are moving forward,” said Schwartz.

He noted that some Tuckerton residents are grumbling because Osborn Island in Little Egg Harbor is moving ahead now while Tuckerton lags behind.

“Osborn Island (Residents Association) started in 2008, and it cost them $100,000 for their permits,” Schwartz remarked, “while ours are going to cost $30,000.”

Schwartz then asked people to pay no attention to rumors but bring their questions to people who know: himself, Colangelo, Mayor Sue Marshall or Borough Administrator Jenny Gleghorn.

Frank Fehn, a member of the Tuckerton Waterways Commission, said to Schwartz that he forgot to mention Nedean Maddox, the Waterways Commission chairwoman. Schwartz apologized.

On a new subject, Colangelo said recycling is going through changes in the world, not only in Tuckerton, now that China has decided it will no longer take the world’s plastic.

“We’re a bit ahead of the curve because our public works sorts through the recycling and we always have ‘clean’ loads (to go to the recycling depot in Stafford) and never get rejected.

“There is legislation pending (in Trenton) to ban plastic bags and straws, so there is more info to come. There may be changes to our recycling procedures.” He suggested residents go to the borough’s website, tuckertonborough.com, and click on the public works department, then Recycling Coach to learn about how to do it correctly.

He also reminded people to remember the public works yard will be closed next Monday for Columbus Day.

The council approved a resolution to pay P&A Construction an additional $61,168 for water and sewer work it completed in Heron Road. The change order to the contract was needed because a water main was not marked out and the contractor broke it. There were other leaks while replacing the water line, and additional material was needed to support the pipes in the marshy substrate of Tuckerton Beach.

On the bright side, the Tuckerton Police Department received $50,000 from a USDA Community Facilities grant to pay for police radios, and $300 came back to the town’s coffers from Earle Construction, money not spent while replacing sidewalks on Marine Street.

The borough is applying for a NJDOT grant of $286,666 to do a restoration of Second Avenue.

During the public session, Skip Deckman, a candidate running for council, asked if the council had decided yet what to do with the old borough hall.

“We haven’t discussed it yet,” said Marshall.

“You’ve had two years to work on it,” he noted. “What’s our debt?” he added.

Gleghorn said the borough doesn’t owe anything to the federal government. She couldn’t determine how much is owed to the state because some of the projects are funded through the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank, which typically forgives half of what is owed.

“I think our (annual) debt service is around $50,000,” she said. “It’s actually going down.”

Deckman said his taxes have gone up a lot this year. “I know it’s the high school, but it’s also the town.” He continued, “You know, when I see a penny on the sidewalk, I pick it up and my granddaughter asks, ‘Why’d you do that, Grandpa?’ And I say because that’s a penny more than I had this morning. That’s the way to be about everything: Keep your eyes open.”

Schwartz said the share the town gets from the tax bill is 27 cents on the dollar; the rest goes to the two school districts and the county.

The council was to meet in executive session to discuss property acquisition.

“You’re not buying that building, are you?” asked Deckman, referring to the vacant National Guard Armory on Route 9 the government has offered to the borough.

The council adjourned the meeting.

— Pat Johnson


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