Neptune Township has secured a grant for dredging, improvements, and maintenance of Wesley and Fletcher lakes.
The funds come from the National Resource Conservation Service [NRCS], a federal agency that falls under the umbrella of the United States Department of Agriculture. The agency’s purpose is to help landowners “conserve, maintain and improve their natural resources.”
Leanne Hoffmann, director of engineering and planning for Neptune Township, wrote the $1.3 million grant proposal.
Due to “acres and acres of storm water,” aging storm drains and aging infrastructure, the lakes have been a depository for silt buildup and pollution over the years, according to Patricia Lesinski, an Asbury Park resident and member of the Wesley Lake commission.
“[Wesley] Lake has been more or less neglected, though people have tried to do things here and there,” Lesinsky said.
The scope of the grant entails repairing a portion of the wall of the Ocean Grove side of Wesley Lake which has fallen in, removal of storm sediment and debris from both lakes, an inspection of the stability of the shorelines, and maintenance of the overall improvements, according to Hoffman.
Hoffmann’s goal is to get the sediment out of both of the lakes, to repair the wall at Wesley Lake and to have the lakes be “a point of destination for people and their families,” she said.
Money from the Municipal Open Space Grant Program through the Monmouth County Park System and the township’s own capital improvement fund will also be used to fund this portion of the project. The plan is to not only repair the portion of the wall that fell, but to construct a walkway behind the wall too, Hoffmann said.
The section of the wall that is in disrepair increased the cost of the repairs some due to the state’s Historic Preservation guidelines, she said.
“Because the wall itself falls in the historic district of Ocean Grove, we have to construct a concrete wall, which is much more costly,” Hoffman said.
The entire budget for the project totals just over $1.4 million. The township is responsible for 10 percent of the budget, which totals $146,200. They had originally expected to pay 25 percent, according to Hoffman.
“We did not anticipate any help from the adjoining municipalities,” Hoffman said, “understanding that the wall is our responsibility and we are not going to dredge half the lake. The township is pleased overall with the grant and anxious to move forward because this is a project that has been on the books to be completed for quite a long time.”