LITLLE SILVER PARK OK’D FOR FACELIFT

santelle-park1The Dominick F. Santelle Park and Boat Ramp is slated for what Borough Council members say are much-needed renovations. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

There’ll be reason to visit Santelle Park again come spring time, if not just to use it, but to soak in its new look.

Now a forlorn place of cracked asphalt basketball courts, sagging tennis nets and rickety swing sets, the facility will be getting a $298,000 upgrade. The Borough Council gave the approval at its meeting Monday night, and the work will be done by Precise Construction, of Freehold.

“That’s good. It’s a long time coming,” Councilman Jonathan Bittman said, after the council unanimously approved the expenditure, which was allotted in last year’s budget.

Borough Administrator Michael Biehl said because of the condition of the park’s equipment and facilities, there’s not a whole lot of use going on there. A well-intentioned design to line the perimeter of the tennis courts with curbing to make them double as an ice rink failed, and ever since, has suffered drainage problems after rain and snowfalls.

“It became sort of unmanageable and it didn’t work very well,” he said. “As a result it was done for only a couple years before they abandoned that idea.”

The park is located at the Parkers Creek end of Riverview Avenue.

The plan is to start with some good old-fashioned demolition, which likely will be done over the winter, Biehl said. The basketball courts, the tennis nets and the small playground that’s between the two will be torn out.

Then, when nicer weather shows up, the playground will be moved across the street, to the former property of the park’s namesake, Dominick F. Santelle, Biehl said. The playground will be fenced in and have benches and a mix of playground equipment. The basketball courts will be moved back a few feet, milled, then repaved and restriped. The tennis courts will get the same treatment.

Biehl said the renovations to the park have been needed for a long time now, and it’s a bit of a relief to see the council take action to get them done. Aside from the boat launch that leads to Parker Creek, the park hasn’t been the draw that it should be, and the new facilities will likely bring more people back.

“Other than this boat launch, there’s really nothing in the area,” he said. “To fix this up and to have a nice kiddie playground and basketball court, coupled with the boat launch, will be nice.”

Some of the money appropriated for Santelle Park will go toward similar renovations to the tennis courts on Markham Place, Biehl said.