Belmar Borough Council Discusses Park Development, Safety, and Environmental Concerns
The Belmar Borough Council meeting focused on community developments, including a Green Acres application for park enhancements, safety improvements for crosswalks, and environmental concerns. The council addressed issues such as the addition of new amenities to McClary Park, the need for improved crosswalk safety measures, and the allocation of funds for environmental enhancements. Public engagement featured prominently as residents voiced their concerns, particularly regarding parking, accessibility, and flooding.
A significant portion of the meeting was devoted to the Green Acres application, which included plans for expanding McClary Park with three additional pickleball courts and improvements to the riverfront walkway. The proposal also introduced a plan for an inclusive playground designed to exceed standard ADA requirements. This playground, catering to the needs of persons with disabilities, would feature shaded areas, a quiet play area, and upgraded bathroom facilities. Council members and the public raised concerns about accessibility, environmental impact, and parking. In response, the engineer noted that the parking lot would be assessed for the necessary handicapped parking spaces and that the construction would aim to direct surface runoff to grass areas for natural absorption.
Safety measures for crosswalks were another topic, with Councilman Mark Levis highlighting the urgency of installing a traffic light at a crosswalk on Pine Tree Way. The council concurred on the importance of safety and discussed the procedural aspects of requesting state intervention for traffic safety improvements. Councilwoman Maria Rondinaro suggested the use of flashing lights and signage around playgrounds and crosswalks, advocating for public involvement in the push for these enhancements.
The meeting also tackled financial considerations for recreational and environmental purposes. Dr. Jodi Kinney inquired about funding opportunities that could support environmental projects, such as bird nesting platforms. The discussion covered various funding sources, including the Green Acres Program and environmental stewardship initiatives, recognizing the competitive nature of securing such funds and the importance of submitting compelling proposals.
The council approved two resolutions authorizing applications to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Program for the fiscal year 2024 Park Development Grant.
During the public session, a resident’s inquiry concerning flooding after a rain event in October sparked a conversation on the lake’s drainage capabilities and the measures taken to mitigate such issues. The council members discussed the transparency of their ongoing infrastructure assessment. Concerns about algae in the lake and the public availability of financial assessments related to the seafood festival were addressed, highlighting the council’s efforts to maintain open communication with residents.
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City Council Officials:
Mark Levis, Maria Rondinaro, Caitlin Donovan, Dr. Jodi Kinney