Feb. 4 Public Hearing for Bellmawr Waterfront Park Removed From Planning Board Agenda; Splash Park Has Been Discussed as Part of Site Plans

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The public hearing for the proposed 13-acre Park at the Bellmawr Waterfront has been removed from the Planning Board’s February 4, 2019 agenda, confirmed Bellmawr Planning Board Secretary Margaret Sandrock via email on January 29, 2019. She said that the only application is a site plan for TCT Properties LLC located at 700 Creek Road.

As for the waterfront park, SJO recently posted that proposed plans call for public bathroom facilities, nature trails, waterfront access points, exercise stations, benches, shade structures, educational stations, ADA accessible observation overlooks, and public parking. The park will include existing Green Acres as well as new dedicated parkland in Bellmawr and Deptford.

Will a splash park be included in those plans? The issue was discussed at the December 3, 2018 Planning Board meeting.

According to the minutes, there was an informal hearing at that meeting. Planning Board attorney, Mike McKenna stated: “No action will be taken on this hearing tonight. This is just a status report.”

Attorney Warren Weinstein stated that an update was being presented as to where “they are with this project… He [was] here to present the existing waterfront park plan.”

He stated: “This plan is work in progress. They are proposing to build a [nature] park. The trail will be well over a mile long and they will provide shade structures throughout the site. There will be signs posted at the entrance of the park stating the rules and hours. There will be bathroom facilities, which will be permanent structures. This is just Phase 1 of the park. Phase 2 would be the splash park.”

Weinstein continued: “It would be a green area with grass, splash park and places for people to eat so that the residents can watch their children. This area will be a common place with benches. This would be something like a town center.”

Councilman Jim D’Angelo was at the meeting and was “upset over the splash park.” He was there to represent the Mayor Chuck Sauter, who could not attend.

According to the minutes, D’Angelo asked: “In Phase 1, 2 or 3 is this a function that would be in front of a business or could this be separate from the commercial area? Originally you stated that this section was going to be by itself so that the residents of the town can enjoy it.”

D’Angelo also stated: “Things … were told at the last meeting that wouldn’t work is there now. They are making the cheapest park that they can. All the aggravation that you put everyone through and now we are back to what you discussed originally. People are not going to go there…”

D’Angelo mentioned there different types of splash parks – including pirate ships.

McKenna stated that Councilman D’Angelo could be used at the meetings for his input.

D’Angelo was sworn in as a commissioner to the Bellmawr Redevelopment Agency on January 14, 2019.

Councilman and Bellmawr Redevelopment Agency Commissioner, Paul DeAngelis, stated they “need to see more variations for the splash park. He was also concerned on how much they were paying for this property.”

McKenna mentioned an amphitheater, but “people have stated they don’t like it.”

Additionally, McKenna stated: “No one is promised anything on the redevelopment and can solicit from anybody who would be interested.”

Councilman D’ Angelo stated that everything is a matter of trust.

Councilman Craig Wilhelm stated he is concerned about the security and that this project has never come before the police department. He had concerns about police, fire and EMS being consulted about this project.

Chairman Carl Klese stated that it was discussed to put cameras in different areas in the park.

McKenna stated he is in full support that the police, fire and EMS should be involved.

Fire Chief/Construction Official, Jim Burleigh, stated he hasn’t been invited to any other meetings except for sitting on the Planning Board.

Planning Board member, Dan DiRenzo, asked the time frame for approval on the park and asked if the project would still be on target when the weather breaks.

Weinstein replied that a site plan for approval within 60 days would be submitted and stated that the project would be on target as long as the weather breaks.

To view the meeting minutes from the December 3, 2018 Planning Board meeting, click below:

Regarding the application for TCT Properties LLC, that property last sold on July 2, 2018 for $175,000.00 on July 2, 2018, according to N.J. Parcels.com.

Image Credits: NJParcels.com

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