Once the site of the world’s largest mahogany plant, Carteret’s burgeoning Waterfront Park, will continue to expand. For a century, residents of this chemical coast borough could not gaze up their own waterfront because they were blocked from doing so by private industrial waterfront structures.
Last December, Mayor Dan Reiman announced the receipt of two grant awards totaling $13.25 million for public access projects along the borough’s waterfront on the Arthur Kill.
The grant awards are funded by a 2014 settlement between the State of New Jersey and Occidental Chemical Company. Diamond Shamrock Chemical Company, an Occidental subsidiary, was a pesticide company in Newark that dumped chemicals into the Passaic River. The Passaic River, along with the Arthur Kill, is a part of the Newark Bay complex, making Carteret eligible for the funding.
The first award is a $6.67 million grant to expand the Arthur Kill Walkway south from Waterfront Park to Tufts Point and north to Noe’s Creek, providing public access to once inaccessible areas.
The second grant for $6.58 million will provide funding for phases II and III of the Carteret Waterfront Marina. Phase II consists of the installation of floating docks, 190 boat slips, a wave attenuator and breakwater, and a wave screen to the existing steel pier. Additionally there will be a fuel station and a sewage removal system for boaters.
Other park improvements will include additional parking, an observation deck, benches, lights, security camera, bike racks, and emergency phone boxes. There will also be education signs to encourage ecological awareness and environmental stewardship.
Waterfront Park has been in development since 2003. Prior to that year, residents had no access to waterfront in Carteret. In the 1920’s the property was occupied by the Ichabod T. Williams Co. Mahogany Plant and the waterfront was used for unloading logs. In 1990 the Borough acquired the 17 acre area.
In 2003 the Mayor and Council opened Veterans Memorial Fishing Pier and a public parking lot. This marked the beginning of the public’s access to a waterfront area that had been dominated by water-dependent industrial companies for about a century.
A public boat ramp and public access road were installed and Waterfront Park officially opened in 2007. Other improvements followed such as a 700’ pier extension and water main and sewer main extensions.
In 2013 NJ State Police Barracks and Docks relocated to Carteret, and Phase I of the Marina was completed December 2016.
When the Arthur Kill Walkway is completed, the public will once again be able to walk along almost two miles of waterfront that had been inaccessible for so many years.
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Categories: PUBLIC SPACE
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