Lakehurst Seeks To Upgrade Playground

Lake Horicon has a playground with equipment that is about 15 years old, and the borough hopes to receive a $33,000 grant to pay for upgrades to the park. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

LAKEHURST – Lake Horicon, a centerpiece in the little borough of Lakehurst, has a 15 year-old playground that borough officials are hoping to upgrade.

“…The community is in need of some new playground equipment at Lake Horicon. Some of the equipment is just unsafe for the children to use and need to be replaced,” Mayor Harry Robbins told The Manchester Times.

Already a focal point of community events, the lakeside park could become even better with new playground equipment, officials said.

The borough has applied for a Community Development Block Grant for $33,000 for new playground equipment. The grant was due to the county on February 10.

If the project gets approved, borough clerk Bernadette Dugan said, the project will likely go out to bid late summer. The approvals usually roll in around August, she added.

(Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

“Lake Horicon park has long been the area for Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day services with the park being expanded in the late 1980s and 1990s,” Dugan told The Manchester Times.

“The pieces to be replaced is the original piece and is approximately 15 years old,” Lakehurst public works director Dave Winton said. “We are still looking at which equipment works best in the space.”

The playground equipment now sits under a shaded area surrounded by park benches.

The borough has benefitted from CDBGs in the past. Dugan said in 2013, the grant was used to replace curb and sidewalk on the west side of Orchard Street. Two years later, another grant replaced the curb and sidewalk on the east side of Orchard Street, “as this is the route to school for many students,” she said.

Federally, CDBGs are provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Municipalities not eligible for grants or loans directly through HUD can apply through the state.

Photo by Catherine Galioto

The NJ Recovery and Reinvestment web page said CDBGs can be used for “public facilities, community revitalization, housing rehabilitation and innovative development leveraging private investments.”

While urban areas get money directly from the federal government, other municipalities must go through a competitive bid process. “Applications that meet the basic requirements of the program will be scored based on municipal distress, readiness to proceed, balance ratio (the remaining balance of grant awards received in a funding category over a three-year period and including all open grants), and past performance,” the program website said.

“The Lakehurst Revitalization Association will also be contributing to the playground as part of their ‘give back to Lakehurst program,’” Mayor Harry Robbins told The Manchester Times. “Lakehurst is also applying for a DOT grant to do curb and sidewalks and road restoration. My plan is to install curb and sidewalk where there is none first. And move on from there. I am a true believer of safety first. And the safety of our children is priority one.”