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RED BANK: INCINERATOR SITE TO GET… WHAT?

rb-landfill-070714-500x375-5301963The former landfill on West Sunset Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-2130637After years of environmental remediation, Red Bank’s former landfill is expected to move forward toward conversion to a park beginning this month.

But what’s proposed for the West Sunset Avenue site? Even Mayor Pasquale Menna says he doesn’t yet know.

Menna told redbankgreen Tuesday morning he expected to have have more information later in the day, after meeting with the recreation committee. The committee has been working with borough Engineer Christine Ballard of T&M Associates on possible features for the the 8.5-acre site overlooking the upper Navesink River, he said.

“I have not seen any of the committee’s proposals,” Menna said. “I know about as much as you.”

For some 70 years, the property served as the town’s garbage dump and burn site. The landfill was capped in the 1980s, and the incinerator smokestack was demolished in 2009.

Here’s a bit from a 2009 redbankgreen story on the site:

Mayor Pasquale Menna called the property “eight acres of usable, and in my opinion, potentially pristine land, in a great neighborhood” for a park.

But officials acknowledge that they’re not sure what potential problems lie in the ground around the incinerator structure. Also unknown is what lies beneath the layer of soil that was used to cap the dump in 1984, though groundwater monitoring wells have been in place for years and there’s no evidence of a problem.

“Basically, what we’re doing is remedial investigation work,” Ballard said, “finding out the extent of the contamination.”

Beyond the issue of contamination, there is also no clear plan for how to use the site. The borough council approved a resolution several years back expressing its preference that a park be created there, but planning hasn’t begun, and in the current cash-strapped environment, isn’t likely to unless more grant money pays for it.

Menna said such funds would be sought from the state and Monmouth County so that there is “no impact on the local tax base.”

More recently, the would-be park has often been cited by some residents as a better location for a proposed children’s “splash park” water feature proposed for Bellhaven Nature Area at the western end of Locust Avenue, also overlooking the river.

Menna has scheduled a public presentation on the plan, whatever it turns out to be, for next Wednesday, July 16, at 6:30 p.m. at borough hall. No formal action will be taken, he said.

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