Middletown’s Committee Meeting Was Loud, Raucous and Uncomfortable At Times: Have Plans For Turf Fields Now Changed?N

I’ve been to plenty of Middletown Township Committee meeting over the past six years, most are sparely attended with little to no dissension among those in attendance or between those that sit on the Dias, last night was different. I haven’t seen it like that since the Township was rocked by the arrest of former Mayor Ray O’Grady, who was caught up in Operation Bid-Rig a number of years ago.

The courtroom was packed and people flowed out into the lobby, to say people were upset would be an understatement.

I am still getting my thoughts together on what transpired last night and will have more to say about it later. I saw this morning that the Asbury Park Press has an account of what happened last night online today. The article was written by reporter Kevin Penton and is somewhat accurate.

I say somewhat because you really had to be there to witness what happened yourself, it was loud, raucous and at times uncomfortable to watch.

I am posting Penton’s article below with a few pictures that I took placed in between:


MIDDLETOWN — Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger said Middletown needs to further question the firm, CMX Inc. of Manalapan, which told the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development on Friday that it intends to layoff all of its 196 employees by May 11.

Before the postponement, the committee was expected to vote on finalizing the engineering plans, and seeking permits and bids for the planned installations at Croydon Hall and West Front Street Park.

The West Front Street Park installation would not include lights or a concession stand, Scharfenberger told a standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 residents.

Many of the Lincroft residents — who have attended the public meetings at which the fields were discussed for several weeks — have said they believe those amenities would add traffic, parking congestion and noise to their neighborhood.

Committeeman Anthony P. Fiore, who participated in the meeting via a telephone connection from Orlando, Fla., said CMX’s departure only represents a “little speed bump in the road.”

“We weren’t completely blindsided,” Fiore said, referring to CMX’s notification last week.

Middletown officials had asked the company about its situation, he said.

“We were told things were status quo,” Fiore said.


A somewhat dramatic moment came when resident Allen Vrabel, standing at the podium during the public comments portion of the meeting, waved his hand towards the back of the jammed meeting room.

Before long, two people walked towards the front of the room and placed two large sets of plans on easels. Simultaneously, others handed out copies of the same plans to people sitting in the audience.

The plans show 221 parking spaces, a 200-foot-by-360-foot, multi-purpose field; a baseball field with 90-foot base paths and 225-foot foul lines; and a baseball field with 60-foot base paths and 200-foot foul lines at the current site of Trezza Field, where the Pop Warner Chargers currently play.


Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante has repeatedly said that Trezza field could not be part of the turf fields project because of wetlands concerns.

But Vrabel said that engineers hired by Lincroft residents and members of the Chargers organization, using a 2007 wetlands study by T&M Associates, were able to make the plan work at Trezza Field.

“These plans didn’t cost me $194,000, I can tell you that,” said Vrabel, who declined to say the firm that prepared the plans.

Township officials said they would study the plan.

“We are going to look at this very seriously,” Scharfenberger said. “We are going to see if this is viable.”

As I said, I’ll have more to say about what happened last night later, it was a lot to take in. But I think the Mayor and his fellow suporter may have had a change of heart last night after have their heads beaten in by Vrabel and others.

12 Comments

Filed under artificial turf fields, Asbury Park Press, Lincroft, Middletown, Middletown Township Committee, Pop Warner, Sonic, sports complex

12 responses to “Middletown’s Committee Meeting Was Loud, Raucous and Uncomfortable At Times: Have Plans For Turf Fields Now Changed?N

  1. The rumors fly that the Shadow Lake residents are behind the opposition to the upgrades at Charger Field (Trezza Field) and that flamed rumors that Freeholder John Curley was involved. Don't think there's any validity to that theory. Has anyone checked out where one committee person seems to reside and could that be the origin of this project and the stupid endeavor to cram it down the throats of the people of this township regardless of all the clear opposition to it. What does this tell you about most of these committee people???REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER !!!

  2. Anonymous,The rumors against Shadow Lake and John Curley, as much as I wish them to be true, are not from what I I know. If you haven't read my post on the subject you can do so here: http://middletownmike.blogspot.com/2010/03/john-curleylincroft-sports-complex.htmlWhich Committeeman are you alluding to? It seems to me that the most vocal committeeman in suport of WFS is Tony Fiore but he lives in Belford. Tony Mercantante the Administrator who decided to use WFS, also lives in Belford or Leonardo I believe.Pam Brightbill is from River Plaza, Massel lives in Lincroft (I think), Sean Byrnes lives down by Stevenson Park off of WFS and Gerry lives off of Kings Highway.So which one are we talking about?But yes,people should Remember in November!!

  3. Doesn't the lady live on Shadow Lake Drive.That's River Plaza !! If not I stand corrected. Have read your post and never thought John Curley was involved. Just wondered if a political favor was done to help him move so silently to Middletown.

  4. Again – you are saying to "remember in November". What exactly are you talking about? This original plan was unanimous of all committee members – and Byrnes & Fiori were the original proponents of this as they are the ones pushing the recommendations of the Master Plan steering committee that they are on.

  5. If you are talking about Brightbil, I don't know if she lives on Shadow Lake Drive or not, I'm not a stalker and really don't care to know exactly where our committee people live.And no, I don't think that any special back room deals were made with Curley. Curley caused a big stir a few years ago when he quit the Red Bank Council becuase he intended to move to Middletown. At the time he sited the higher taxes in Red Bank as his reason for moving.I wrote about it on this blog at the time.

  6. Anonymous,Get your facts straight. Yes the WFS proposal was unanimously approved by all 5 members back in October I believe, however that approval came only after Tony Mercantante broke off negotiations with the board of ed about using their fields and Nut Swamp School.Mercantante was the one that proposed and pushed WFS with the recreation advisory board.Byrnes had nothing to do with it, he was not an orginal proponent as you state, I can not say as much for Fiore. Byrnes and Short voted for WFS based on the information that Mercantante and his engineers presented to them, they were not involved in any negotiations or discussions about WFS.You can try and muddy the waters if you like but those are the facts whether you like them or not.

  7. With all due respect,Mr. Curley moved to Middletown and then resigned from the Red Bank Council and that waswithin the last year. Have you heard the word nimby? …this is what is suggested about residence…nothing sinister !!! And no one is stalking anyone….the telephone book can provide that info. Take a deep breath.

  8. John Curley announce to his fellow red bank councilmen that he was resigning from the town council in July of 2008 because he was moving to Middletown.His house at Shadow Lake was already bought and he was then running for Freeholder for the first time with his runningmate Lillian Burry.

  9. If there is not a political connection with Shadow Lake by the TC (Maasell and Brightbill live in RiverPlaza – Curly lives in ShadowLake) then the presented new plans by the residents should be approved by the township engineers. If not, something is fishy and stinks. I do not think the TC would be so blantantly dumb to think the residents would not call them out on this. They should not forget many residents have parents living in Shadow Lake and would know what was promised or not to them. There is not a legitimate reason to move a club for kids that has operated for over 40 years in the same location(there before Shadow Lake was built don't forget). Trezza field has been here longer than all the township committee members have been living in Middletown. Don't destroy our kids clubs for your political gain.

  10. I agree with everything you say.But there is nothing that you can say to me that would convince me to believe that just because John Curley lives in Shadow Lake he is in cahoots with Massel and Brightbill to shutdown the Chargers by having them move to WFS.People that I know in Shadow Lake haven't even heard a whisper about Curley or Trezza Field so I don't think the opposition started there.And Curley doesn't have that many friends and he is proving it on a daily basis down in Freehold.

  11. The rumors about John Curley were just that rumors and we should be happy he's not one of the "good ole boys" and it appears he's trying to represent the taxpayers in this county…politics be damned !! Don't count on the TC to not be "dumb". What do you call the antics so far….sure ain't the smartest clowns in this town!!Shadow government ???? No wonder this mayor needs a lawyer to whisper in his ear during meetings.Maybe the questions should be….WHY? WHY? WHY?Stinking,rotten,politics…that's WHY!!!

  12. The rumors about John Curley were just that rumors and we should be happy he's not one of the "good ole boys" and it appears he's trying to represent the taxpayers in this county…politics be damned !! Don't count on the TC to not be "dumb". What do you call the antics so far….sure ain't the smartest clowns in this town!!Shadow government ???? No wonder this mayor needs a lawyer to whisper in his ear during meetings.Maybe the questions should be….WHY? WHY? WHY?Stinking,rotten,politics…that's WHY!!!

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