Ground has officially been broken at Cedar Bridge Manor Park in Brick Township, ushering in a few months of construction that will rebuild the neighborhood park on the Metedeconk River with new amenities and protect it from erosion and damage during high tides and storms.
Mayor Lisa Crate, along with other township officials and the engineers and contractors behind the project, grabbed their ceremonial shovels to kick things off Thursday afternoon, though some of the work had already started to clear away old brush and prepare the shoreline for a new bulkhead and rip-rap breakwater.
Last month, the township council awarded a $465,412 contract to Robbie Lane Enterprises, of Towaco, N.J., to undertake the rebuild. The contract award came years – nearly a decade – since the idea to rebuild the park was first conceived.
Park construction had been funded and designed, but obtaining state permits delayed progress, mostly having to do with a small living shoreline and breakwater made from rip-rap to protect the park from erosion. At one point, the state even ordered the township to investigate whether the land was a tribal burial site; no such evidence was found. The final permits were issued in February.
As Cedar Bridge Manor is considered a small “neighborhood” park rather than a “destination” park, input from residents on surrounding streets were consulted as to which features and amenities they were looking for. Some of those amenities include the construction of a walking trail, handicap-accessible beach access, future kayak storage and a fish cleaning area.
A playground that will be built at the park was moved a bit farther away from the water in the final design, township Business Administrator Joanne Bergin said, based on an idea from parents who were concerned their children could wander into the creek if the equipment was directly next to it. More security lighting was added, and the playground replaced bocce courts or a horseshoe pit, which were not in-demand items. A bike rack, however, was added at the request of residents.
Bergin said at Thursday’s ceremonial ground-breaking that construction is expected to take 90 days – depending on weather – for the completion of the work.