2016: New Parks, Locals’ Fame Among Jackson Milestones

Jackson Mayor Michael Reina (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

JACKSON – 2016 saw a new spray park in the township park system, some locals earning a shot in the limelight, and new laws to protect residents’ quality of life. Here are some highlights:


Residents demand the township require vendors to list the streets they plan to canvas.

Councilman Robert Nixon was named council president; Kenneth Bressi was named vice president.

New Board of Education members Scott Sargent, Vicki Grasso and John Burnetsky were sworn in.

Great Adventure welcomed a Siberian Tiger cub and an African lion cub to its safari.

Jackson Memorial High School won funds to purchase a driving simulator, which is used in the sophomore driver’s ed class.

JMHS students and staff bid long-time band director Bud McCormick a fond farewell.

Gianna Isabella (Photo courtesy of FOX-TV)


The Board of Education talked about piloting active shooter preparedness—ALICE training—at Goetz Middle School.

Mayor Michael Reina hosts the Missing Man Table with Rolling Thunder at the municipal building.

American Idol Gianna Isabella is given a send-off at JMHS.

Jackson schools joined Sustainable Jersey, a “nonprofit organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support and reward schools as they pursue sustainability programs.”


Councilman Scott Martin wanted a rent control ordinance amended to protect residents from being priced out of their homes.

Residents complained of increased texts from real estate agents.

The council honored Jackson’s teachers of the year.

Jackson’s amendment allowing a mixture of native and non-native grasses in solar arrays does not apply to Great Adventure’s solar array application, but raises eyebrows.

Taxpayers saw a slight increase in the school taxes, an average of $71 per household.

Bud McCormick (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)


After nearly 30 hours of testimony, the planning board approved Great Adventure’s application for solar arrays.

The township outlawed puppy mills.

Taxpayers saw an increase in the municipal taxes, an average of $27.69.

The no-knock application became available online on the township’s website, jacksontwpnj.net.

The township awarded a solar photovoltaic system to HESP solar. The system will be built at the Legler landfill site.

The school administration said PARCC opt-outs skewed test scores.

Council approved rules and regulations for the new spray park in the justice complex.


The spray park had a delayed opening.

The township council passed a resolution that “restricts cooperation” of the township’s police department with any neighborhood watch group outside the township’s jurisdiction. The resolution came in response to complaints about Lakewood’s Civilian Safety Watch (LCSW) crossing into Jackson.

The Board of Education assured residents it’s not privatizing its school bus fleet.


A superior court judge ruled in favor of MIB Properties LLC, agreeing it could build a funeral home and banquet hall at Cooks Bridge Road and Manhattan Street.

The spray park opened June 18 on weekends.


Shady Oak Mobile Home Park is finally getting a clean-up, and a provisional license.

State road projects were stalled when Gov. Christie’s 23-cent-per-gallon tax hike didn’t go through.

The decision to allow a funeral home at Cooks Bridge Road and Manhattan Street was appealed.

Johnson Lane residents threaten to sue the township over a zoning change that none of them knew about.


Owners of vacant or abandoned properties must now register with the township.

The township filed a complaint with the Department of Justice and NJ Division of Civil Rights over claims of blockbusting. The state won’t investigate the claims, it’s later reported.

The township banned engine breaking in town.

The Jackson Spray Park was a big story in 2016. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)


Jackson schools were back in session with updated curriculum and new safety projects.

Mixed Martial Arts fighter B.J. Young remained undefeated in his class, and was eyeing the pros when interviewed in September.

Councilmen Kenneth Bressi, Robert Nixon and Barry Calogero would make history by being the first set of candidates, since Jackson switched to a council form of government, to run unopposed in a general election.

Former Committeeman and mayor Neil O’Connell, who died, was remembered from the dais by current council members.


Mayor Michael Reina held a ceremony honoring SFC E. Larry St. Laurent by co-naming Jackson Drive after him.

The school district looked to enter a shared services agreement with the township to lease two bays at DPW.


Thomas Colucci and Michael Walsh were elected to the Board of Education. Sitting president Sharon Dey lost her seat.

Councilman Barry Calogero alone voted against the agreement with the Fair Share Housing Center to build 657 affordable housing units in six separate developments, and 20 percent set aside requirement in RG-2 and RG-3 zones.

A Superior Court judge will decide if Jackson Township’s solar array ordinances are lawful. That trial is set for December 19 in Ocean County’s Superior Court by Judge Marlene Lynch Ford.

State projects on East Veterans Highway and Jackson Mills were no longer delayed after the state passed its 23-cent-per-gallon tax increase.


The Board of Education recognized two nurses and a security officer for saving the life of a staff member using an AED.

Residents again asked Council to invest in a better sound system, and video record council meetings.