Tuckerton’s South Green Street Park to Close for Renovations

Sep 13, 2017
Photo by: Pat Johnson The bulkhead, parking lot and playground at South Green Street Park will all be upgraded with Sandy funds.

Tuckerton will close South Green Street Park on Monday, Sept. 18, to prepare it for a major reconstruction project funded through a $1.4 million Superstorm Sandy Resiliency Grant. K G Marine of Manahawkin was awarded a $1,297,065 contract in July that includes replacing the bulkhead and constructing a fishing pier from about the center of the park that will extend 50 feet into the bay. Plans to revamp the park also include new playground equipment, two new gazebos and a restroom trailer that can be moved.

Tuckerton Councilwoman Doris Mathisen told the mayor and council at their Sept. 5 meeting that the bulkhead and playground should be completed by the end of 2017, “weather permitting.”

Paving the area will have to wait until the asphalt plants reopen in the spring.

The park in Tuckerton Beach is a popular area for fishing, walking, biking and dog walking, all activities that continue through the fall season. “It will be tough on people coming down,” acknowledged Mayor Sue Marshall. “But we have been working a long time to get that done.”

Ocean County Land Trust

Wants Land on Tuckerton Creek

Council President Sam Colangelo said the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust has expressed an interest in purchasing block 35, lot 52, consisting of 9.4 acres along the east side of Tuckerton Creek, for purposes of preservation, and wanted to know if Tuckerton was in favor of the purchase.

Councilman John Schwartz asked how much is being paid in taxes on the vacant land. Borough Administrator Jenny Gleghorn said the owners were paying about $8,000 annually but later adjusted that to around $5,000 because of the wetlands.

She said the land could be developed and the town would lose the natural aspect of the property, where endangered species have been sighted.

But Schwartz said if the land were developed, the town could reap more tax ratables.

“We’ve already lost five properties to the county that were taken off the tax rolls, and they had houses on them,” he said, referring to four properties abutting Tip Seaman County Park and one property on North Green Street that was bought by the county when the intersection with Route 9 was enlarged.

Mary Shannon Cooper, the Weichert real estate agent handling the property, said there were four owners of the property, with the principal owners being the Hartleys. “The Hartleys don’t want to hurt the town,” she assured the council.

In recent years, Tom Hartley, a local builder, had installed 500 feet of bulkhead and two boat slips plus pilings to support a large home but had been unable to sell the property, said Cooper. “Because there are endangered birds there, Green Acres has expressed interest, and Save Barnegat Bay went in there and found the birds. The state has placed it on their top five properties to acquire.”

“The property has four acres of wetlands that could be used as mitigation for any developer looking to develop somewhere else,” she added. “It’s up to the owners; it goes to the highest bidder.”

The assessed value of the land as it is now is $227,000; the market value is below that, at $218,000, she said.

Gleghorn said she would play the devil’s advocate and suggest a condo development could be built there that could burden the school system.

Councilman Keith Vreeland suggested “conceptually” the land could be subdivided into four individual lots with the wetlands parceled off to the state and used for public access to the creek.

The subdivision would have to be undertaken by the owners of the land.

Since there was more discussion among council members, they did not approve the county’s request for approval that evening.

Borough Attorney Christopher J. Connors said he would reach out to the Ocean County Planning Department to see “whether the trust has any interest in acquisition on a partial basis. If not, then the ball game’s over.”

— Pat Johnson




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