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Engineer: Cape May Has an Opening to Start Lafayette Park Work

Engineer: Cape May Has an Opening to Start Lafayette Park Work

By Vince Conti

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CAPE MAY – Work has stalled for years on the city’s plans for Lafayette Park. The city has been delayed by the need for an agreement between the Cape May Housing Authority, a separate entity from the city, and Jersey Central Power & Light, the utility that owns the land and was responsible for its remediation due to contamination from an old manufactured-gas plant at the location.

The city also is waiting for a final decision by the state Department of Environmental Protection on a proposed Green Acres land swap that would provide land adjacent to the park to the city for the construction of a new police station.

At the City Council meeting June 18 engineer Vince Orlando presented what he called “good news” that came from a meeting June 17 with the DEP. Orlando said there is a $500,000 loan from the DEP already approved, but the time is running out on the date by which it must be used.

Along with another $500,000 already available in a separate grant, Orlando proposed two limited projects that would show movement toward the Lafayette Park goals.

In what Orlando called Phase I the city could move on proposed nature trails at the wooded and wetland areas in the northern end of the park, a part of the park design that offers a major educational component with its proximity to the city school.

Orlando’s Phase II would involve an easterly portion of the land, to be used for a softball diamond, bocce courts and a relocated dog park.

Both phases can make use of the existing funding and are on land that is not tied up in either the JCP&L negotiations or the proposed DEP Green Acres land swap. They would also allow the city to secure the DEP loan funding before the time limit on the use of the funds ends.

Orlando said he thought construction on these phases could be underway by the end of the year.

The council asked him to continue working on bid specifications for the two phases so they can be sent out this summer.

Contact the reporter, Vince Conti, at vconti@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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