Sickles School students often return from recess in the park covered in dust, teachers have complained. (Photo by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)


Fair Haven is working on a $180,000 plan for McCarter Park upgrades that could include a walking trail, a relocated and improved ball field and more parking.

At Monday night’s bimonthly council meeting, borough Engineer Richard Gardella said the park “lacks an identity’’ and suggested that a walking trail like the one at Fair Haven Field would help “create some type of circulation’’ through the five-acre facility.

The walking trail could be equipped with benches and simple fitness stations along the route, Gardella said.

To pay for the project, the borough will match a $90,000 grant from Monmouth County, officials said. Administrator Theresa Casagrande said a meeting is planned with county park officials later this week to go over the scope of the work.

The park and playground are used for recess and gym classes by students at the K-3 Viola L. Sickles School across Willow Street. Casagrande said the work will most likely be done over the summer when school is out.

Council members noted that the ballfield, used for T-ball, is barren and in poor condition. Casagrande reported that school officials have said that children return to class covered with dust on some days.

Gardella suggested the ballfield could be moved south on the tract, away from Willow Street, to improve safety.

Councilwoman Sue Sorensen, liaison to the Parks and Recreation Commission, said softball teams have made recent inquiries about using the McCarter ballfield.

Gardella also suggested adding an additional 30 parking spaces for a total of 74.

Also on the agenda is an aeration system for the nearby McCarter Pond. A compressor would pump air into the pond through a bubbler to reduce algae, Gardella said.