The following was compiled using archived information from Save Barnegat Bay and a recent release provided by Brick Township; photos courtesy Brick Township
BRICK – Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis was joined by a crowd of citizens, elected officials, environmental activists and government agency officials here as he cut the ribbon officially opening the Traders Cove Marina and Park at a special ceremony on Thursday, May 23rd.
Traders Cove, an 11.5-acre property located on the northern side of Mantoloking Road just west of the Mantoloking Bridge, was formerly a private marina that was purchased by the township in 2005 to halt the development of high-density condominiums. It is adjacent to Ocean County’s Mantoloking Bridge County Park and multiuse pier.
“Today is truly an historic day in the history of Brick Township. Today, we celebrate a community effort to create one of the best public parks at the Jersey Shore,” he said. “Trader’s Cove will provide citizens with a place to enjoy access to the Barnegat Bay for generations to come.”
A plan to develop condominiums on the Trader’s Cove property was announced in 2003. Mayor Acropolis immediately voiced his opposition and a grass-roots effort to stop the development began, resulting in the governing body unanimously overturning an approval by the township zoning board that would have allowed 52 condominiums on the site in May 2004. That same month, local environmental advocacy and education organization Save Barnegat Bay unveiled a vision of the cove to be transformed into a public park including such amenities as public boardwalks, gazebos, a canoe and kayak launch, a facility for marine science education/nautical museum/or a community sailing center and more. The following year, Mayor Acropolis led the successful negotiations that allowed Brick Township to acquire the property.
“It seems hard to believe but there were officials who supported the development of high-density condominiums on the site. Thankfully, thousands of citizens raised their voices,” said the mayor during the recent ribbon-cutting event. “Their voices were heard. Without their vocal opposition and their advocacy for preservation, we may not be standing here today.”
Mayor Acropolis thanked Councilmen Joseph Sangiovanni and Domenick Brando for their consistent support of the project and thanked former governing body members who provided crucial support of the park.
In 2008, after winning his bid for re-election, the mayor began the redevelopment of the site. One of the administration’s top priorities was seeking grant funding to offset the costs of the project for local taxpayers. Brick Township has received nearly $9,000,000 in grants to help fund the acquisition and development of Trader’s Cove.
Today, Trader’s Cove has new bulkheads, a public boat ramp, a travel lift, a walking path, picnic benches, parking facilities, landscaping and a new ADA-compliant playground.
“Trader’s Cove is a perfect place to go to launch your boat, personal watercraft or even kayaks. It is a great place to bring the children to enjoy the new playground. Or, if you prefer, it can be a place to sit on a bench and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Barnegat Bay,” said Mayor Acropolis.
Future development will include floating docks, transient boat slips, and a resource building.
“We had hoped to have all of our floating docks and boat slips ready for the start of this season. Unfortunately, Sandy changed those plans,” continued the mayor. “The crews did an outstanding job after the storm getting Trader’s Cove to where it is today when they basically had to start over. I thank them for their hard work.”
Trader’s Cove was included in the United States Department of the Interior’s America’s Great Outdoors Fifty State Report. The report highlighted conservation projects throughout the United States that “aim to reconnect Americans to the natural world through parks, trails, and rivers and to conserve and restore working lands and wildlife habitat” and that the projects included will “create jobs through travel, tourism, and outdoor activities.” You can learn more about the report at www.americasgreatoutdoors.gov.
Trader’s Cove also provides easy access to the recently reopened F and T Coves that are under the management of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Mayor Acropolis and Mr. Sangiovanni were vocal advocates for the reopening of the coves.
“The coves are extremely popular among boaters. We are glad that they have been reopened and we urge all citizens to treat the coves and the waters of the Barnegat Bay with nothing but the utmost respect,” said Mayor Acropolis. “Trader’s Cove is a short distance away and is available for boaters’ needs.”
For information about boat slips and ramp fees, please call Trader’s Cove at (732) 920-7373