BERKELEY – If all goes well, Dino the Dinosaur’s makeover could be finished in time for the holidays.
But right now, it’s a race against the weather.
Janelle Kenesko and Debbie Fassi spent much of last Thursday morning scraping the discolored fiberglass coating off Dino’s body.
“We are very excited,” Kenesko said. “It’s fun for us. It’s a lot of work. We work every sunny day that’s available.”
If the weather cooperates, there may be a celebration in December to debut the new Dino, said Anthony Zangari, a Bayville resident who bought the Heritage Square building Dino has stood in front of several years ago.
“If we don’t get this done by fall, it’s going to be in the spring,” he said.
Zangari first had to concentrate on bringing the building up to code. But there was never a question of whether Dino would remain on the property, he said.
“I didn’t want it to leave the site,” Zangari said.
Kenesko is encouraged by all of the people who pass by on busy Route 9, wave and honk their horns when they see Dino.
“Great job,” one man yelled as he drove by on a motorcycle.
It was two summers ago that Bayville officials and members of the Save the Dinosaur Committee announced that Shannon MacDonald, who grew up in Bayville, would oversee the renovations. Residents and Dino fans bought T-shirts, bumper stickers and other Dino items to help fund the work.
MacDonald started on the dinosaur, and was paid for her time, but she is no longer working on it, Berkeley Township Historical Society Treasurer Bud Magahan told The Berkeley Times recently. But there is enough money left to finish Dino’s renovation, he said.
So Zangari learned of Keneske, Calabrese and Fassi, who agreed to take over the work on Dino.
Dino has been moved back from Route 9. He was perilously close to the right of way previously, which probably accounted for him being whacked so many times by motor vehicles and trucks. Zangari’s property line ends at the planters in front of the building.
His new neck and face, made of specialized plaster, now face north, rather than directly at Route 9. His “stumps” as Zangari calls them, have been removed and actual feet installed. He has a new tail, too.
He will also have lighted eyes by the time the work is done.
Dino has watched over Bayville since taxidermist Will Farrow purchased him from a Sinclair dealer back in 1932. He has survived blizzards, hurricanes, nor’easters and Superstorm Sandy.
But he developed a large crack around his neck in 2015 and many were concerned for his survival.
Committee members and volunteers removed Dino’s head and a portion of his neck back then, to prevent any further damage. But none of that has come easy. Dino’s insides had to be cleaned. They were full of insects, rotting wood and even a raccoon that had managed to enter through a hole, Zangari said.
Dino will eventually have a new copper and bronze patina. Then, protective coatings will be added.
A number of local volunteers have helped in the recent renovation. Henriques Yachts provided the expansion foam that was put inside. L&E Welding lent a boom truck. The forklift came from Jersey Rents. Millhurst Mills and Ace Hardware provided other products.
Dino is carefully guarded by 13 surveillance cameras, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Zangari said.