BERKELEY – When you stand outside of the Heritage Square plaza, people honk their horns as they drive by. When they see activity by the dinosaur, they slow down – on Route 9 – to get a better look. They might even pull into the parking lot.
Everyone is interested in what’s going on with the restoration of the iconic dinosaur. A fundraiser reached the desired amount. An artist, Shannon MacDonald, who grew up in Bayville, was contracted to Restore the Roar…but then the roar went silent as people wondered what was going on.
MacDonald started on the dinosaur, and was paid for her time, but she is no longer working on it, said Bud Magahan, treasurer for the historical society. There’s still enough money in the account to finish the cost of the new proposal.
But there needed to be a new artist.
Enter Janell Keneske. The Manalapan artist will take the lead on the restoration project, working with Kim Calabrese and Deborah Fassi. This group has experience in commercial and residential decorative finishing work.
Keneske said she was approached by the owners of the building through a mutual connection.
“It’s not just work. It’s going to be fun,” she said.
Owners of the building, Anthony and Nino Zangari, restored the old building to modern conditions, and the units are all currently occupied. The iconic dinosaur is a beacon for potential customers driving by.
“It’s a hood ornament for the building,” Anthony Zangari said.
A meeting of interested parties hashed out ideas on how to make the dinosaur’s head and tail sturdy, and then how to make it all aesthetically pleasing. Bud and Barbara Magahan, from the historical society, Mayor Carmen Amato, councilmen James Byrnes and John Bacchione, Keneske and the Zangaris talked in an office and then went to the front of the property to get a close look at the dinosaur.
A plan published in a press release spoke of how much work had already been done cleaning out the interior of the dinosaur, reinforcing it, and moving it. The head, tail, and feet will be made of specialized plaster, and will be colored to emulate aged copper and bronze. Then, protective coatings will be put on. Henriques Yachts provided the expansion foam that was put inside. L&E Welding leant a boom truck. The forklift came from Jersey Rents. Millhurst Mills and Ace Hardware provided other products.
Just like when the dinosaur used to be in front of the paint store, and there were paint hand prints all over it, there have been a lot of hands involved in its restoration. Many people and local businesses have been involved. The committee putting this together want to deliver on that community feeling.
“I want to paint it on the road because I want people to see it and get excited about it,” Keneske said.