Officials broke ground on the $1.5 million revitalization of 8th Street Park in the West Keansburg section of Hazlet Township on Tuesday, April 25.
The project includes the construction of an inclusive playground, an all-purpose court, a basketball court, walking path, benches, trees and more parking to provide visitors with improved access to the 3.75 acre park.
Construction of the park is expected to be completed by September. In attendance at the groundbreaking were members of the Hazlet Township Committee and representatives of the Dept. of Public Works, Recreation, Open Space Advisory Council and Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners.
“Across Hazlet, we’re working to bring new life to our parks and recreation centers for Hazlet residents, and 8th Street Park will be the latest, but not the last project we undertake,” said Township Administrator Rob Bengivenga. “Located within walking distance of the Henry Hudson Trail, this transformative project will construct an exciting playground for all children, playing surfaces for different sports and a walking path and benches, providing West Keansburg residents a vibrant place to meet and play. Hazlet is grateful to Monmouth County Commissioners for selecting our plan for a matching Open Space Grant providing $250,000 toward this project, and to the NJ DEP for awarding us a $600,000 low interest rate Green Acres Loan.”
“During the pandemic, we learned how important our parks are to our well-being, and increasing public access to parks was a key motivation behind this project,” said Mayor Michael Sachs. “Turning this underutilized site into a new park, playground and exercise path will bring joy to residents and help us move toward a vision of creating continuous corridors of open space through our township.”
"The groundbreaking is an exciting moment for Hazlet Township,” said Joseph Pobega, chairman of the Open Space Advisory Council. “The rehabilitated park will be an excellent asset to the neighborhood and brings us closer to achieving key goals in the Hazlet 2030 Vision Plan: to link parks and provide opportunities for public enjoyment through active and passive recreation. Much of the cost for this park are being paid for by the Hazlet Township Open Space Trust Fund which allows for improvements to open space.”
“We are grateful to the Monmouth County Parks Commissioners for awarding Hazlet the Municipal Open Space Grant and thank the township’s Open Space Advisory Council for their work in making this project happen,” said Deputy Mayor Peter Terranova. “I also wish to thank the countless Hazlet citizens who gave input. We could not have done it without them.”
The transformation of 8th Street Park builds on the goals of the Monmouth County Municipal Park Improvement Grant Program to develop expand and improve recreation opportunities, especially in overburdened communities. The plan was developed with community support from West Keansburg neighborhood stakeholders through visioning sessions. Township children were surveyed about their preference on playground features. A $1.5 million bond ordinance to provide financing for the construction of the park was approved in July, 2022 by Hazlet’s government. T&M Engineering is overseeing the construction of the park, which will be completed by September, 2023. The park is currently closed for construction work.
For more about the project, view the 8th Street Park Improvement Plan Update page on the township website.