Freeholders ask “Where is the funding?”

ABERDEEN, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders voted unanimously to pass a resolution requesting that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey uphold their commitment to provide funding for the creation of a new regional county park in Aberdeen and Marlboro.
“If the Port Authority does not honor its commitment to share in the funding of this park project, the opportunity to preserve significant portions of the Matawan Creek watershed and create a new, 250-acre park will vanish,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. “The Port Authority of NY/ NJ offered $5 million to help move this deal forward, but have now withdrawn that offer.”
Monmouth County has negotiated the $10.6 million purchase of approximately 87.8 acres in the Freneau section of Aberdeen and Marlboro Townships from Aberdeen/Wilson Associates, LLC to establish a new park in the Monmouth County Park System.

“The Board was extremely disappointed to be made aware that this critical funding may not be provided by the Port Authority Hudson Raritan Estuary Resources Program to help acquire the property,” said Deputy Director Gary J. Rich, Sr. who introduced the measure on August 7, 2014.
The Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted Resolution #2014-0619 requesting that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey “uphold their agreement to provide funding for the acquisition of this project to create a new park in the Townships of Aberdeen and Marlboro.”

“The Monmouth County Park System hopes to manage this new park to help meet the regional recreation and open space needs of residents of the Bayshore and the greater county,” said Burry, liaison to the Park System. “It would be a shame if this project cannot advance because they have gone back on their promise.”

Monmouth County has been actively working on the creation of this new park since 2011. To help create the park, a conservation partnership was put together that includes the County of Monmouth, Aberdeen Township, Port Authority of NY & NJ, the NY/NJ Baykeeper, Monmouth Conservation Foundation and NJ DEP Green Acres Program.

“A working coalition of partners is the best way to get a significant project like this started and completed,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone. “To have one of the partners withdraw the funding could prove fatal in the creation of this new park.”

On January 9, 2014, by Resolution #2014-0059, the Board of Chosen Freeholders authorized the purchase of the Aberdeen/Wilson Associates, LLC property.
“In an area that is already heavily developed and is home to many commuters, a new park would go a long way to help to meet the recreation and open space needs of our citizens,” said Freeholder John P. Curley. “This Board will hold the Port Authority to their promise to help provide this new regional park.”

“The new park would encompass hardwood uplands, open recreational areas and headwater lowland areas with significant storm water storage capacity,” said Freeholder Serena DiMaso. “Protecting and managing these resources are important issues to the local community. This park needs to be created in perpetuity.”

As stated in its adopted resolution, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders strongly urges the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to provide the essential funding from New Jersey’s portion of the original allocation of the Hudson Raritan Estuary Resources Program. With this funding, a parcel critical to the establishment of the new public park, the Aberdeen/Wilson Associates, LLC property, can be acquired and preserved.

A copy of the resolution has been sent to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, State Senator Joseph M. Kyrillos, Jr., Monmouth County Board of Recreation Commissioners, the Office of County Counsel and Aberdeen/Wilson Associates, LLC.