County Commissioners hosted Swimming River Park ribbon cutting ceremony
“Today’s ribbon cutting signifies the completion of phase one of Swimming River Park. Phase two, expected to get underway in 2025, will include the construction of a Visitor Center with restrooms, public gathering areas, informative exhibits, and a rental shop for kayaks and bait,” said Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone. “I think this is going to be a signature park in Monmouth County. It was a team effort. We held tight, we held strong, and we came together to see what we have today.”
“This is a spectacular park,” said Commissioner Ross F. Licitra, liaison to the Monmouth County Park System. “Everybody collaborated to get things done. I want to thank the volunteers who serve on the Board of Recreation Commissioners and the staff of the Monmouth County Park System for all of their work.”
“This is a big win for Monmouth County. This project prevented development and preserved open space,” said Middletown Mayor Tony Perry. “It is truly amazing to see the partnerships that occur and the results that follow; we already see residents out here enjoying this park.”
“We receive tremendous support from our County Commissioners, and we thank them for it,” said Monmouth County Board of Recreation Commissioners Chairman Kevin Mandeville. “Our goal, as a board, is to find land for parks and to keep them in pristine condition so people throughout the County can enjoy them.”
“This was an opportunity for us to do something on the river, which we did not have in our park system,” said Monmouth County Board of Recreation Commissioners Vice Chairman Anthony Fiore. “In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t imagine what I see here today. Thank you to all of the staff who have done so much to make this day happen.”
The County paid $4,605,000 to acquire the two parcels that make up the current park. The little house next to the park entrance has not closed yet. The contract for sale is $377,500. The County expects it to close by the end of May.
Visitors will be able to enjoy fishing, crabbing, birdwatching, walking, picnicking and will be able to launch trailered and cartop boats. The park will be open every day of the year, from dawn to dusk. Trained park rangers will be on site every day to provide assistance to visitors and tend to the facilities
The site had contaminated soils left over from the fill dirt that was used when Chris’ River Plaza Marina was created. The County worked with environmental specialists from Brinkerhoff Environmental Service, now Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB), to remediate the contamination. Some soils were removed, while others were “capped” as part of phase one construction. The cost to clean-up the soils is eligible for reimbursement from New Jersey’s Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF).
Chris’ Deli opened on April 1, 1949, run by Anne DeFilippo. Prior to it being a deli, it was a barbershop and a gas station. The deli was a local mainstay and employed many from the community. Chris’ River Plaza Marina opened in 1956 and was operated by Chris DeFilippo.
The Project Manager was Andy North, Park Chief Landscape Architect; Counsel was Jeff Beekman; Environmental Consulting: Brinkerhoff Environmental Service and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB) ; Architect/Engineer was Spiezle Architectural Group; Construction was done by Precise Construction and Tony Vlahos; and Land Preservation Specialist Andy Coeyman.
The ribbon cutting was live-streamed and can be viewed in its entirety on the Monmouth County Government’s Facebook and YouTube Channel.