BERKELEY – It’s not just naming a park after a politician, it’s naming it after a politician who helped create the park, as well as countless acres of other parks and open space in the county.
Berkeley Island County Park will be renamed the John C. Bartlett Jr. County Park at Berkeley Island, county officials said. It sits on a 25-acre peninsula that juts into Barnegat Bay and Cedar Creek. It’s located at 399 Brennan Concourse in Berkeley.
Built in 1982, back when Bartlett was new to being a Freeholder, it was starting to show its age. And that was before Superstorm Sandy hit it. The park was devastated. More than five years and $8 million later, the county re-opened the park in May. Bartlett was on hand to re-open the park, similar to how he was there when it opened.
“In many ways, it’s been my baby,” he said at the time. He was seen playing on the playground ropes and dodging through the water park to avoid getting wet.
The new park sports a splash park, fishing pier, picnic area, living shoreline, a pavilion, and of course, its amazing view.
“This park, amongst all of our county parks, is one of the most near and dear to John,” said Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little in a statement. “This park is representative of all of the effort and Freeholder Bartlett’s staunch commitment to providing residents and visitors with the very best park facilities and open space. There is no more fitting way to honor our colleague and our friend.”
Two months ago, Bartlett announced he was not running for re-election due to health reasons. He will have served 39 years as a freeholder. During his tenure, he has been a vocal proponent of preserving natural resources, and overseen the park system grow to 27 different sites, including golf courses, dog parks, and other facilities.
Freeholder Virginia E. Haines noted that Freeholder Bartlett is a man of his word.
“He wanted this park to be redeveloped and he wanted it to better and stronger than it was before,” Haines said. “He made certain all of that happened and now it will stand as a testimonial to his hard work and dedication to Ocean County.”