Berkeley Dinosaur Fund Reaches Its Goal, Restoration To Follow

Photo by Chris Lundy

BERKELEY – The iconic dinosaur has been looking out over Route 9 for decades, subject to the weather, the passing of time, and even in danger of being hit by a car.

It’s been painted white and the head was taken off for safe keeping, but it’s going to be looking different very soon.

A recent fundraiser has reached the goal of getting the dinosaur restored, officials said. It was a social gathering held in one of the empty units of Heritage Square, the building that is home to the dino.

Bud Magahan, treasurer with the Berkeley Historical Society, said funds have come in from all over the country. The dinosaur is an icon and people who remembered driving by it wanted to support its restoration.

This shows how much was raised before the event. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

Before the event, the fund was at $12,796 out of its $15,000 goal, Magahan said. The goal of the fundraiser was to bridge that gap. After the event, he said that the fundraiser did its job and the $15,000 was reached.

Shannon MacDonald, known for her lifelike paintings of the Beatles, will be restoring the dinosaur.

MacDonald will likely have a canopy tent set up so she can work on the dino right in front of the building, Magahan said. There will also be some security measures put in place to keep her safe on the busy road.

The head might be repositioned so that it is less likely to get hit by a vehicle, and the tail might be curled around the feet, rather than jutting straight back. “Nobody knows what a dinosaur looked like,” Magahan joked, but the color scheme will be appropriate.

Now, the property owners will reach out to MacDonald and work on a schedule for the restoration, he said. The artist is very popular and in demand, so her schedule might be busy.

It’s taken a few years and a lot of sweat equity to get to this point.

Merchandise is still for sale to fund maintenance of the statue. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

Anthony Zangari, the new owner of the building, said the dinosaur was the last of his worries. “First I needed to get the building healthy, before I could even address the dinosaur.”

Zangari said he’s from Forked River, so he was well aware of the dinosaur’s importance to the local community, having driven by it plenty of times himself.

Once the property was completely renovated, he met with local partners to get up to speed with the efforts to restore the dinosaur.

Zangari, his wife Lisa, and son, Nino, are foraying into this as their first commercial venture. They usually work on residential projects, “sympathetically restoring” older homes. So, sympathetically restoring a historical landmark was within their goals.

For More Information

Merchandise, like t-shirts, is still available. Donations to the Save the Dino fund are still being collected at P.O. Box 303, Berkeley Township, NJ 08721. Further funds will be used to defray additional costs incurred (such as protective measures for the artist while she works) and maintenance of the statue, Magahan said.

Some of the Heritage Square property already has tenants but some ground level units and second floor offices are still available. Zangari said the property is listed on as 510 Route 9.

The Central Ocean Business Association was one of the organizers of the fundraiser. Under the acronym COBA, President John Crisafulli said the group now has 130 members throughout South Toms River, Beachwood, Pine Beach, Ocean Gate, Berkeley, and Lacey. They meet a few times a month, and dues are just $100 a year.

The dinosaur looks out over Route 9, day or night. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

The fundraiser had a number of sponsors. The food and dessert sponsors were Buon Appetito, Conca D’Oro Ristorante, Diesel’s Subs and Wraps, Market Fresh Supermarket, Oh What a Bagel, Schiano’s Pizza, Senza Cucina, and Tony’s Pizza.

The beverage sponsors were the Berkeley Township Republican Organization, Silverton Buy Rite Liquors, and Spirits Unlimited.

The corporate sponsors, donating $100 or more, were the Berkeley Township Republican Organization, Buckelew Family Foundation, Carole Mack, Central Ocean Business Association, Gilmore & Monahan, Gregory McGuckin, Jack Sahradnik, John Hill Agency, Robert Hutchins, and Shady Rest restaurant.