DEP AIDS SOUTH PLAINFIELD
IN COMMUNITY PARK CLEANUP
$250,000 Grant to Help Cover Costs in Reopening Veterans
(03/113) SOUTH PLAINFIELD -- New
Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner
Bradley M. Campbell today presented South Plainfield Borough
with a $250,000 grant to help the community clean up asbestos
tiles discovered last summer in Veterans Park. With the
funding assistance, South Plainfield plans to reopen the
park in October.
“Today’s grant award represents
a victory for children and families in South Plainfield,”
Commissioner Campbell said. “For many New Jersey towns,
parks provide a place where we forge our sense of community.
DEP is pleased to support the leadership of municipal officials
and legislators in restoring Veterans Park for families
to enjoy once again.”
Joining the Commissioner at today’s
ceremonial check presentation were Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan,
Jr., South Plainfield Mayor Daniel Gallagher, South Plainfield
Borough Council members, members of the Edison Wetlands
environmental group, and representatives from the offices
of Assemblyman Peter Barnes, Jr., and Senator Barbara Buono.
“Today’s presentation is an
outstanding example of how effectively local government,
with the help of the State, can address an environmental
hazard,” said Assemblyman Diegnan. “As someone
who played in this park during most of my youth, I am particularly
grateful to Governor McGreevey and DEP Commissioner Campbell
for their ready response and financial assistance.”
South Plainfield closed Veterans Park as
a precaution on July 24, 2002 after large patches of oily
tar began surfacing in portions of the park and after community
advocates discovered stacks of asbestos tiles along Bound
Brook in the northwest corner of the park.
The $250,000 grant from the statewide Livable
Communities Fund will cover the costs of cleanup for the
asbestos tiles, which borough leaders expect will take only
a few weeks. The Borough has also secured funding for remediating
the rest of the park, including removal of the tar and cleanup
of a patch of soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls
(PCBs). Borough officials hope to complete the project in
time to reopen the park by the end of October.
The DEP provided today’s award through
the Statewide Livable Communities Fund, which to date has
provided more than $7 million in grants to over 75 communities
to acquire and to improve open space and parks.
“One of government’s most fundamental
commitments is to provide citizens with safe, attractive
places in which to gather and to play,” said Commissioner
Campbell. “New Jersey is fortunate to have the leadership
of a governor dedicated to strengthening our communities
through protection of open space.”
As Governor McGreevey promised in his State
of the State address, the state is working to create or
to improve at least 200 local parks statewide over the next
three years. As part of this goal, the Governor initiated
a legislative push to raise the cap on bonding for the Green
Acres program. This proposal would allow the state to raise
at least an additional $100 million over the next three
years, of which $50 million would be dedicated to parks
and open space acquisition and improvements in urban and
older suburban communities.
The decision to raise the bonding cap will
appear as a referendum on the November statewide ballot.