Category Archives: LVGA

Monmouth Girls Academy Launching Feasibility Study September

I’m posting this press release from the Monmouth Girls Academy because this all girl academy was rumored to be interested in obtaining the Avaya site in Lincroft and using it as their campus.

This rumor had been floated by members of the Middletown governing body when questions started being asked by members of the Lincroft Village Greens Association(LVGA) and SONIC about the Four Ponds Redevelopment housing project set to be built at the Avaya site. The intention of the rumor was to deflect criticism away from the rezoning of the property from industrial usage to high density residential.

I have been told that mayor Tony Fiore, has recently been making the rounds telling residents in the Lincroft area that the Four Ponds development won’t be built and that there is a potential commercial buyer in the background that would save the area from this housing project. I think however Fiore’s assurances are nothing more than political electioneering on his park to sure up the voter base in Lincroft.

Of course however, if you are interested in finding out more about the Monmouth Girls Academy and participating in it’s feasibility study, by all means go to their website and do so. I think the Academy is a worthy institution to support.

Local Families and Interested Individuals Invited to Participate in Feasibility Study – available at http://www.monmouthgirlsacademy.org

Rumson, NJ – (September 2011) – What do these prominent women have in common: Condoleeza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir and Carley Fiorina? Each attended an all-girls school. A number of national studies indicate a pattern of strong, successful careers for girls who attend single-sex schools, which has lead a group of local parents and educators to investigate the feasibility of opening an all-girls high school in Monmouth County.

The steering committee has engaged Wisconsin-based Meitler Consultants, a firm that specializes in school strategic planning, to study and analyze the feasibility of opening a centrally located all-girls Catholic college preparatory high school in Monmouth County, tentatively called The Monmouth Girls Academy (http://www.monmouthgirlsacademy.org).

The feasibility study will be conducted online from September 12 to 28, 2011. Families interested in participating in the study should visit: http://www.monmouthgirlsacademy.org

“The purpose of the study is to evaluate the feasibility of establishing an all-girls high school in Monmouth County and the potential impact on existing schools in the area as well as to establish open communication with all interested residents, educators and community leaders”, notes Victoria Gmelich, High School Study Steering Committee Co-Chair. “We encourage the community to participate in the study to help guide the decision-making process.”

Mairead Clifford, who also co-chairs the High School Study Steering Committee, says “from the beginning of the process, our group has sought to keep an open line of communication with the Diocese of Trenton as well as members of local Catholic, private and public school communities.”

What Does the Feasibility Study Ask?

The Monmouth Girls Academy Feasibility Study conducted by Meitler Consultants will include such questions as:

– number of girls in the family

– high school enrollment intentions

– factors/hurdles in selecting a high school

– factors/hurdles in selecting a parochial/Catholic school

– parental participation/support of an all-girls school

– open-ended questions such as why the study participant would enroll their daughter in an all-girls Catholic high school

– demographic information

Mission and Vision of the Monmouth Girls Academy

The Monmouth Girls Academy mission:

Objective is to establish a private, Catholic all-girls college preparatory high school in Monmouth County.
Academics will reflect our goal to inspire a lifelong thirst for knowledge through a rigorous, comprehensive and challenging approach to learning uniquely tailored to nurture the intellectual, spiritual, social and physical gifts of each individual.
A rigorous program which is developmentally appropriate for young women to achieve and reach their fullest potential.
To welcome students and families of different faiths and diverse backgrounds and value the uniqueness of each individual.

This all-girls high school, with an anticipated initial enrollment of 500-600 students, will serve a need currently unmet by existing parochial, private and public high schools in Monmouth County. The school would be accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges, offer academics that exceed state standards, and welcome students of all faiths. The anticipated annual tuition is $13,000, with the support of financial aid for families with demonstrated need along with some academic scholarships. The site for the school will be centrally located in Monmouth County but will be based the feasibility study results.

Statistics about All Girls Schools

– Girls who attend single-sex schools outscore their co-ed counterparts on the SAT by an average of 28 to 43 points

– Three times as many alumnae of single-sex schools plan to become engineers

– Girls’ school students spend more hours per week doing homework, attending study groups, tutoring others and working with their teachers than co-ed students

– Nearly 100% of girls’ school grads go on to college.

To learn more about the Monmouth Girls Academy and to register for the study, please go to: http://www.monmouthgirlsacademy.org.

Like and share us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Monmouth-Girls-Academy/232994200076529?sk=wall&filter=2

Christine Burke or Judy Musa, Full Circle Communications
Judy@fullcirclecommunications.net or 732-688-8079, 732-687-1556

Communications, Public Relations and Event Planning
Full Circle Communications

Phone: 732.688.8079
Fax: 732-747-5292

cburkeassociates@verizon.net
16 William Street
Red Bank NJ 07701

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Filed under Avaya, Feasibility study, Four Ponds Housing Development, Lincroft NJ, LVGA, Middletown NJ, Monmouth Girls Academy, Sonic

>Possible suitor for Avaya? Monmouth Girls Academy Said To Be Interested

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There has been talk recently that there maybe a commercial buyer interested in purchasing the controversial AVAYA site and redeveloping the property into something other than a high density housing project which would consist of 342 units.
In order to deflect residents anger away from the proposed housing project at AVAYA, members of the Township Committee have been floating rumors and innuendo to Lincroft citizens groups like SONIC and the Lincroft Village Green Association about a potential commercial buyer of the property, but they have been mum on details and wont elaborate.
Earlier today I was forwarded an email that I thought would be of interest to some in Lincroft. The email (posted below minus contact information, I can forward if interested) details a plan that would have the Monmouth Girls Academy purchasing the property and turning it into an all girls school similar to that of Christian Brothers Academy, which is also located in Lincroft:

Hi all,


You may have heard the facts by now but here is a summary for the proposed school:

  • Yes – they ARE serious about this!! The feasibility study is being funded by local parents who seem quite determined to make this happen.
  • The school would be accredited by the Middle States Association and Colleges.
  • The school will be somewhere in Lincroft – they have already checked out the Avaya property.
  • Tuition would be comparable to CBA – currently $13,000. Academics and curriculum would be comparable to CBA.
  • Like CBA – the school would NOT be a part of the Diocese of Trenton.
  • Target enrollment would be 500-600 girls.
  • Target freshman class – Sept 2013 a bit aggressive but they are hopeful:)!
  • They currently have a Steering Committee in place with various local Educators and professionals.
  • They also have a Founders Committee in place to raise funds if the study has a positive outcome.
  • Meitler Consultants hopes to complete the study by October 2011.
  • This is the first Phase in the process.

How can you help? Go to the website www.monmouthgirlsacademy.org and register so they can get an idea of just how many parents are truly interested in the school.

Also – please forward to anyone you think would be interested. I did not use any group e-mail lists so as to not abuse the system.



On the surface, I don’t think this is a viable plan. There is just too much involved to make this happen and at a cost that would easily exceed millions of dollars. First off the building is very large and sits on partial wetlands building an active campus for students would seem almost impossible at that site. But stranger things have happened.
We’ll just have to see how it plays out.

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Filed under all girls school, Avaya, Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, lincroft village green association, LVGA, Middletown, Monmouth Girls Academy, Sonic

>Middletown Update and Background Proposed Four Ponds Development Plan

>At the behest of the Township Committee, Township Administrator Tony Mercantante, posted the following letter the Middletown Township website late yesterday, the letter is an attempt to give some background information behind the history of the rezoning of the Avaya property in Lincroft that is a hot-button issue in town and ready to explode. At least three separate citizens groups are now involved and on record as being opposed to the project.

What this letter doesn’t tell residents about is how, much like the infamous “Town Center” project, the Township went to Torsevias (the owners of the property) and pitched this idea to them. The township would never have been able to rezone this property if the owners weren’t on board with it. Promises were made and palms were greased in some way to make this happen, now the Township needs to backpedal before it’s too late.

Unfortunately it may be too late for that already, money has been spent already on the project by the owners, they would want so type of reimbursement for there troubles i’m sure, which will tie this project up in the courts for years at a cost of millions of dollars to the tax payers of Middletown if it doesn’t go through.

And as usual, the Township is blaming Democrats in Trenton for inaction on the issue of COAH. They wont dare point a finger at the Governor for vetoing the COAH bill that was past by the assembly last year. If COAH was on the top of the Governor’s priority list, he would be taking the lead on this issue like he has been while bashing teachers and unions.

But don’t confuse the issues of COAH and this project, the opposition to this redevelopment is not COAH based as the Township wants you to believe. The opposition is opposed to the project based on quality of life issues and concerns such as infrastructure, traffic and the effects of having many more students enroll in area schools.

Dear Residents:

The Township Committee has asked that I provide a summary of the circumstances surrounding the proposed Four Ponds Development Plan at the former Avaya property, which is part of the Township’s state-mandated Council On Affordable Housing (“COAH”) housing plan.

The Township Committee has many concerns about this proposed project, which is why the Township is currently litigating the COAH’s revised third round rules before the New Jersey Supreme Court. Not only has the Township joined in the League of Municipality’s lawsuit, but the Township also filed its own lawsuit, which was just recently accepted by the Supreme Court. It is unclear, however, when this case will be heard, which could be anywhere from 6 months to a year, or more, from now. In the meantime, the Township is still subject to COAH’s rules, as they existed three years ago.

It is the Township’s belief that we should not be punished by these rules since, we believe there are plenty of affordable housing units, including rental units available throughout the Township. This fact is largely the basis of our legal position. Further, the Township does not have a history of exclusionary zoning that would be in violation of the original Mount Laurel doctrine. Unfortunately, this legal doctrine has evolved into something it was never intended to be, which essentially hands control of much of our zoning over to developers and in some cases the courts.

Making matters worse, the Appellate Court recently invalidated a large portion of the revised third round COAH rules that gave the Township a variety bonus credits for past performance and for allowing the creation of affordable rental housing. Without these extra credits and other mechanisms thrown out by the Court, the Township’s affordable housing obligation could grow significantly higher than it already is. Fortunately, the Township sought and secured a stay from both COAH and the Supreme Court of the Appellate Court’s ruling on this matter. Now, the Supreme Court will decide the ultimate merits of this issue, but the outcome is far from certain, which is why the Township has actively been seeking legislative action that has not been forthcoming. The legislation that has been proposed so far, in most cases would be a giant step backwards, making matters far worse. Fortunately the Governor vetoed the bill that was actually passed by the legislature since it would have increased the Township’s affordable housing obligation possibly two-fold.

As a result, the Township has been forced to zone a number of properties in a way that it would not have otherwise, only to satisfy COAH’s requirements. It is also critical in order to stem what are known as Builder’s Remedy lawsuits, which essentially strip away any local control and allows the courts to order the approval of housing developments. In fact, the Township is currently subject to a challenge by the owners of the Bamm Hollow Country Club. Specifically, since challenging our plans, they have been seeking to construct 1,200 multi-family dwellings that would include at least 240 COAH units upon their 277-acre property. They also have an application pending for 50 homes which the property is currently zoned for, which is also not actively being pursued. That application will not make this litigation go away as they are continuing to seek a development many times that size. We are currently seeking a stay before the Appellate Court in this matter in an effort to try to resolve it through sound planning without facing the prospect of 1,200 more units of housing in Lincroft. The reality of the situation is that if the Avaya property had not been zoned to allow for the development of residential housing two years ago, Bamm Hollow would likely be building 1,200 court-ordered units on its property by now.

These are the unfortunate realities currently faced by the Township until the Legislature or the Courts act appropriately to eliminate these irrational mandates that do nothing but promote poor planning and development while wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. I would note, however, that the Avaya property is still also zoned to allow for commercial development, so the Township is not impeding that from taking place should market conditions allow for it. Further, the Township has been encouraging businesses to move into the site along with seeking economic development assistance for prospective tenants from the state.

Simply put, due to legislative inaction, the Township was left with no option but to include Avaya property as part of its housing plan three years ago to allow for residential development. The reality is that the alternative would be far worse for Lincroft and the Township as a whole. We would like to encourage all residents, as many of you have in the past, to write and call Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver who should be held accountable along with the entire State Legislature for failing to act on the Governor’s proposed COAH reforms. With those reforms, there is at least a chance that this project may not have advanced to this point.

Sincerely,
Anthony P. Mercantante, P.P. AICP
Township Administrator

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Filed under Avaya, Bam Hollow, COAH, Gov. Chris Christie, Lincroft NJ, lincroft village green association, LVGA, Middletown Township Committee, Sonic, Tony Mercantante, Torsevia, Towns Center, Trenton

>SONIC Issues Statement Apposing Avaya Re-development

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The following was issued via email from the Lincroft citizens group ” Save Our Neighborhood’s Integrity & Character” aka SONIC
Thursday evening April 28th, over 100 concerned Lincroft residents packed the Sunrise Assisted Living Facility to discuss the proposed plans for the Re-development of the site formerly occupied by AVAYA. They are vehemently opposed to the proposed plan, which calls for 342 units in total, which represents a 16 % increase in the total number of homes in Lincroft.

The group was comprised of members of “Save Our Neighborhood’s Integrity & Character”, otherwise known as SONIC, who originally were organized to oppose the WFS Sports Complex, as well as members of the Lincroft Village Green Association (LVGA) and other concerned residents. They agreed to use all their available resources to actively oppose these proposed plans. The group has and will be soliciting funds from the Community, to retain an attorney and other professionals, as deemed necessary, in mounting opposition to this proposed plan.

SONIC will be informing the greater Lincroft Community about this proposed plan and will urge all concerned residents from the Lincroft area and surrounding Communities to attend the upcoming Middletown Township Planning Board meeting on Wed. May 4th, at 6:30 pm at Town Hall.

For further information as to this proposed plan, please visit the following WebSite: LincroftVillageGreen.org


To see site plan of the proposed Avaya re-development click Here

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Filed under Avaya, Four Ponds Housing Development, lincroft village green association, LVGA, Middletown Planning Board, Sonic, Town Hall

>TRT Chimes In on Monday Night’s Middletown Township Meeting

>In today’s edition of the Diane Gooch owned Two River Times, appears an article written by Ryan Fennell that does a good job at reporting what actually went on durning the Township Committee meeting in Middletown this past Monday night, November 15th.

After being duped by Scharfenberger into believing that he gave up his yearly $4000 stipen as a committee member in January and is now serving as a “volunteer” Mayor after questions arose, when it came to light that Scharfenberger had been appointed to a lucrative position in the Christie administration his last article.
Here Fennell reports, “…The initial controversy developed when a politically conservative local blog revealed shortly after the election that Scharfenberger had been appointed as the director of the Office for Planning Advocacy within the New Jersey Department of State. The office was formerly known as the Office of Smart Growth and fell within the jurisdiction of the Department of Community Affairs.

Scharfenberger was appointed to the position on August 16, and while Scharfenberger claims that his appointment was not kept secret from his constituents or campaign opponents, he also said he did not want to use the news of his appointment to the state position as an advantage for him in the campaign.

“It was made public,” Scharfenberger told The Two River Times™ last week. “It’s just that they (his campaign opponents) didn’t know about it. I’ve been out in front of various groups. It was on the (state) web site.”

No formal announcement was made, Scharfenberger said, because “I didn’t want it to appear as if I was using this position to help my re-election.”

During the Township Committee meeting Monday, Nov. 15, the committee members were asked if they knew about Scharfenberger’s appointment and all but one said that they knew about it….

This is classic Scharfenberger bullshit! If 4 out of the 5 members of theTownship Committee knew about the appointment, why the effort to keep it from the 5th member? It’s obvious that the only functions that Scharfenberger attended and made such an announcement were those that were attended by GOP party loyalists and insiders, otherwise the information of his new job would have become common knowledge around town.
After the meeting was over Fennell questioned Scharfenberger about his statement at the Lincroft Village Green Association’s Candidates Night, where Scharfenberger stated that he had given up his stipend for the year and was acting as a volunteer. It was Middletown resident Don Watson, who initially questioned Scharfenberger over this during public comments, Scharfenberger reaction was to deny he said such a thing and to immediately instruct the Clerk to note for the record that Mr. Watson’s comment was incorrect.
Unfortunately for Mr. Scharfenberger an audio recording of his statement from Candidates Night says otherwise.
When Fennel asked Scharfenberger for and explanation, Fennell reported “…Scharfenberger told The Two River Times™ that he stopped receiving his paychecks in July “more out of concern for the budget.”
More Scharfenberger Bullshit! Did he really think that $153 a week would make a that much of a difference in a budget that was already $5.5M in the hole, can he really say with a straight face that $2,000 would make a difference in a 14% municipal tax increase? I very much doubt it, he gave up his stipend because he knew that he was taking the job within the Christie administration and that the Governor had already reversed his opinion of whether elected official could hold dual offices. According to Christie it is now OK to hold dual offices with in the state as long as those who were elected served to so voluntarily. That is why Scharfenberger gave up his remaining $2000, not out of any concerns over the financial well being of the Township or worries over the budget.
The article goes on to address much of what was brought up that night, much of which is on video and posted here previously on the blog. I recommend reading the article for yourselves this way you can determine if my earlier reporting was inaccurate or biased in anyway.
Scharfenberger is the one that brought this onto himself, all he needed to do was to be honest and show a little integrity when questioned earlier by reporters when asked before the election what his current job position was. Instead he failed/refused to reveal his new position as the Director of Planning Advocacy.

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Filed under candidates night, Gerry Scharfenberger, honesty and integrity, LVGA, Office of Planning Advocacy, Ryan Fennell, Two River Times

>How Close To The Line of Fact and Fiction Does Scharfenberger Get When He Calls Himself a Volunteer?

>How close does Gerry Scharfenberger get to crossing to the line between honesty and deception when he discusses his new position as Executive Director of the Office of Planning Advocacy and how it effects his status serving as an elected official in Middletown?

Since it became common knowledge 10 days ago that Scharfenberger was appointed by Governor Christie to a $95,000 a year job, the uproar over his silence (not appointment), doesn’t seem to be going away. If anything it raises more questions after articles in both the Independent and Two River Times did little to silence his critics.

Both articles state that he is a “Volunteer” and doesn’t take a salary from the town. The Two River Times quotes him as saying, “I’m not taking a salary as Mayor. It’s a volunteer position much (like) the Landmark Commission and the Drug and Alcohol Alliance”.
Really, how is that possible? As member of the Township Committee each elected member is entitled to a $4,000 a year stipend (which Scharfenberger announced during the Lincroft Village Green Association sponsored Candidates Night, to our surprise, that he was not taking this salary). Each member of the Township Committee receives this stipend regardless if they are appointed as Mayor or not. There is no extra pay associated with the Mayor’s position and never has been, essentially every person who has served as Mayor in Middletown for the past 5 decades has done it “voluntarily” upon being chosen by others on the Committee to act as such.
To consider any elected official, whether it is as Mayor or Committee member, as a volunteer is a stretch of the word, volunteers are generally appointed and receive no compensation or they serve as a means of helping others with no expectations of reward for their humble service. Those that seek office campaign and are elected to office by voters, many go on to seek higher office or seek special favors from those in higher positions to advance their ambitions or line their pockets, much like Scharfenberger has done. To call them volunteers is a gross exaggeration of the word.
Gerry seems to be playing word games here that come very close to crossing the line between honesty and deceit. Another example of his word games is his pension status, he says he isn’t enrolled in the State pension system known as PERS but contributes to a deferred compensation 401K plan.
This I found out is true, not because he dropped out of the PERS system voluntarily, but because of the fact that as of 2008, all part time elected officials were dropped from the system and given the chance to participate in a state sponsored 401K plan to save costs.
Back in 2007, when Democrat Patrick Short proposed that elected and part-time officials in Middletown give up health and pension benefits, Scharfenberger is on record stating that he was in the township pension system and adamant that he could not get out of it as hard as he tried, he stated at the time, “Once you’re in you are in and can’t get out of it … and I tried”.
Again very close to the line between honesty and deceit, but I think I may have stumbled upon something that just may show that Scharfenberger did in fact cross that line.
In the audio clip below from the Oct. 28, 2010 LVGA Candidates Night, Scharfenberger was asked about the salaries for Township Committee people. At the time I didn’t give it much thought, I just assumed that the questioner was curious about whether or not Committee members were once again collecting stipends in 2010 after giving them up in 2009. When answering Scharfenberger went into his volunteer speech and talked about how he wasn’t taking a salary. He came across as a hero of sorts, looking out for the town with this symbolic gesture of kindness during tough economic times. He didn’t seem to care that by doing so he trashed his fellow Committee members.
In hindsight however, I’ve come to believe that this simple question was nothing more than plant from a supporter that knew Scharfenberger was appointed by Governor Christie to head up the Office of Planning Advocacy. Gerry wanted to go on record that he was in compliance with Christie’s rule that, No elected official could serve dual rolls within the State unless the position that they were elected to would be carried out voluntarily, hence the announcement that he hadn’t taken a salary all year.
In light of the two previously mentioned articles that didn’t delve into the story of Scharfenberger’s appointment like the Asbury Park Press had (the reporters chose not to question Scharfenberger over his volunteer status), I’ve spent the past few days looking over the Township Bill List and from what I’ve determined, this time Gerry just may have crossed the line into outright deception.
Here’s what I have determined:

Committee members took no salaries for most of 2009.

  1. For 2010, each Committee member earns $153.84 per week gross.
  2. The March 2010 Bills List shows $2526.66 as the salary line item. However, at that time, they were including the Mayor’s secretary in that line item. Later in the year, she is broken out separately, and her bi-weekly salary is $1,757.46.
  3. If you go back to the March payment of bills and subtract her salary ($1,757.46) from that line item ($2526.66), you get $769.20.
  4. Drum roll please . . . if you divide $769.20 by Committee members gross weekly pay ($153.84), guess what number you get . . . 5 (How many Township Committee people do we have?).
  5. Conclusion = Gerry was still taking a salary in March.
So, then we go to August. On the 10-206 payment of bills documents there is still a line item for Township Committee salaries of $2526.66, so Gerry was still taking his stipend as of Payroll for 8/6/10. However, the next bill list 10-234 for the 8/20/10 payroll, the line item goes down to $2372.82.
When broken down, remembering there is $1757.46 for the Mayor’s secretary, and you subtract her salary from the new total salary line item ($2372.82), you get $615.36 (which also happens to be the new salary line item on the November bill list where the Township Committee is now listed separately). When you divide $615.36 by that bi-weekly salary of $153.84, you get 4.
Conclusion = Gerry stopped taking his salary after the 8/6/10 payroll,which corresponds with his knowledge of his appointment by Christie to his new State job, NOT in January, as he lead those at the LVGA Candidates night and the reporters from the Independent and the Two River Times to believe and report.
Over the past few years there has been many such instances of Scharfenberger walking the tightrope between honesty and deceit, always choosing his words very carefully to maintain that balancing act. This time however, he may have gone to far by not figuring that someone other than the a reporter, who’s job it is to investigate before reporting, would take the time to do some homework and find that Gerry once again wasn’t being completely honest and crossed the line into deceitfulness.
I wonder if anyone will ask him to explain himself tonight at the Township Committee meeting?

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, bill list, candidates night, deceit, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Chris Christie, honesty and integrity, LVGA, Office of Planning Advocacy, the Independent, Two River Times

Lincroft Village Green Association Issues Statement Opposing Lincroft Sports Complex

On its website, the Lincroft Village Green Association (LVGA) posted the following statement against the proposed sports complex being planned for the West Front Street Park. They feel that the Township and Board of Education should work together and iron out a shared services agreement that would allow these artifical turf fields to be place on Board of Education property:

The Lincroft Village Green Association recognizes that the money being used for the turf field plus amenities improvements was bonded (not free grant money), which is a loan with interest that Middletown residents must pay back through our taxes. In the interests of all Middletown residents, we ask the Middletown Township Committee to reconsider the timing and use of these funds in the current poor economic climate, and to contemplate repaying the bond off without using it at this time.

We do not support the proposed amenities and features to the West Front Street Park soccer fields, but do support improving these fields for moderate use for soccer, lacrosse, or field hockey.

We believe a public forum should be held without further delay between the Middletown Township Committee and the Board of Education to reexamine shared use of existing school fields, and to consider improving the most appropriate fields for the benefit of the community as a whole (i.e. sharing of the fields by schools and community sports teams—a win-win situation). These two groups must commit to working together for the overall good of the entire Middletown community.


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Filed under artificial turf fields, Lincroft, lincroft village green association, LVGA, Middletown, sports complex