Giving McCarter Park a Recreation Rep
The park on Willow Street in Fair Haven is getting an overhaul
They call it McCarter Park.
It's that unassuming 5-acre swath of land with a playground, modest playing field and passive places to take a stroll. It sits directly across the street from the Viola L. Sickles School in Fair Haven.
It's been there forever, predating most residents. Originally, it was part of the famed McCarter estate when Fair Haven was comprised of estates and dirt roads. Gates to the long liquidated estate still front the entrance to the semi-passive park at its Fair Haven Road and Willow Street entrance.
McCarter Park has looked basically the same for decades. It's not very pronounced as a park, and, judging from what people used to say about it, they didn't mind that it wasn't.
Summer camps have been held there, kids have played their during recess at Sickles and ball games have been had there.
Now officials, with public prompting, want to give the park more of its own signature with $180,000 worth of enhancements, including a bench-lined trail, a spruced-up ballfield, updated equipment and more parking. It was discussed briefly, as part of a longterm improvement plan for that area of town, at Monday night's Borough Council meeting.
The park improvement project is funded via a Monmouth County matching grant, meaning that the borough must first front the full amount and then be reimbursed $90,000 by the county.
In the past, many community ballgames were hosted at the park. Now it serves the existing playing field, directly across from the school, is not turfed and hosts T-ball.
Councilwoman Susan Sorensen said that she had spoken at length with Recreation Director Charlie Hoffmann about letting girls' softball leagues know that they can use the field as well. "They just had no idea they could," she said.
Other council members questioned why the fields that once were used for T-ball and baseball in the rear of Knollwood School cannot be revamped and used again.
Once Borough Engineer Richard Gardella and Adminsitrator Theresa Casagrande present the McCarter plan to the county and it is okayed, work is slated to start in the summer.
In addition to McCarter Park, down the street on Fair Haven Road is McCarter Pond. There was another McCarter Estate remnant that became a fiercely traditional banner/message board for all things R-FH. It was torn down years ago. Do you remember what that was and what made it so special?