By JOHN T. WARD
But it’s far from a done deal, hinging on financial help from Monmouth County and the property still being available when the town’s ready to make an offer.
On Monday night, the council authorized the filing of an application for a county Open Spaces Grant, which covers 50 percent, up to $250,000, of the cost of recreation and preservation acreage. Awards in the annual funding cycle won’t be announced until December.
That would enable the town to move ahead with an offer on the property, at 14 Parker Avenue — assuming it’s still on the market, said Councilman Dan O’Hern, liaison to the parks and rec committee.
“We’re being proactive,” O’Hern said Tuesday. “This allows us to be forward-thinking.”
The site, consisting of two taxable lots totaling about a half-acre in size, isn’t under contract with the borough, which has had no negotiations with the owner, he said.
Borough ownership would improve access to Challenger Field, which is now reached via a private driveway belonging to Willow Cleaners, whose owner has been “very kind and very patient” both in letting parents pass through to park on a town-owned parking area and, often, in business’s lot itself, O’Hern said.
The Parker Avenue lot could be used to create parking spaces, and further down the road, possibly, restrooms, he said.
No formal plans for have been drawn up yet, though the project would conform with a recently completed recreation Master Plan, O’Hern said.