Solar Project, Park Among Projects Underway In Berkeley

The bulkheading is keeping Holly Park Beach from eroding further. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  BERKELEY – A professional sign marking Holly Park Beach stands in the middle of the reconstruction, as a handmade sign stating “Save Holly Park Beach” leans against it. This shows one of several projects under construction in town right now.

  Holly Park, at the end of Main Street, overlooks the Barnegat Bay in a small coastal neighborhood. Seaside Park can be seen in the distance. This was a community recreation site where families could go.

  Nature had other ideas. Superstorm Sandy demolished the small Holly Park Beach Club building. The roof was deposited in a swamp a mile away. The cement footprint of the building remained for more than a decade.

  The beach itself suffered erosion, and the bulkheading was shredded and overrun with water. The town fought with the State Department of Environmental Protection. The point of contention was that the town wanted to rebuild the park up to the old bulkheading. The DEP wanted the land to be as natural as possible – which meant making the eroded shoreline be the new border.

Locals fought hard to restore the beach to its former glory. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  The town had been successful in getting a Green Acres grant for $130,000 to develop the park years ago, which frustrated officials when the DEP – which oversees the Green Acres funding – denied their plan for the park.

  Township officials took the DEP to court and also added the property to the town’s open space inventory.

  Business Administrator John Camera said that bulkheading will stabilize the land.

  “There are plans going forward to develop it as a passive recreation park but no bids have been put out for that work yet,” he said.

Solar Field

  Another project underway is the solar farm across from the municipal building on Pinewald-Keswick Road in Bayville. Officials expect it to be online some time in April.

  The township’s municipal landfill hadn’t been used in half a century but it was never properly capped. Now, a company capped the landfill, and is building a solar field over it.

  It costs millions of dollars to cap a landfill. Today, a public-private partnership will take on that responsibility. A business will spend the money to do all the work and then reap the benefit of installing solar energy collectors.

The solar project is expected to bring a cost savings to Berkeley residents. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  The residents are expected to benefit as well. By providing 10 megawatts of less expensive electricity, residents are predicted to save about $6.4 million over the 20-year life of the project, according to township figures.

  CS Energy and Luminace closed the landfill without costing taxpayers.

Bike Path

  A walkway/bike path around Veterans Park is also in the works, but the town wants more funding first.

  In 2023, the township applied for a grant from the State Department of Community Affairs for $125,000. The state awarded $81,000.

  Business Administrator Camera said that the town received a grant for the path in Veterans Park, but it was insufficient to do the job. “We applied again this year and are hopeful that we will get additional money.”

A walking or bike trail is planned for Veterans Park. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  Veterans Park hosts numerous special events throughout the year, and officials have wanted to have a designated trail for patrons to use so that they are not on the road.