A $1.4 million project to dredge Wesley and Fletcher Lakes, which both border Ocean Grove, and replace retaining walls is scheduled to take place next year. A walkway along the new bulkhead at Wesley Lake is also expected to be part of the project.
It’s been a long time coming, said Neptune Township Committeeman Randy Bishop.
“(Neptune officials) have been working on wall restoration wall for more than a decade and the dredging for longer than that,” Bishop said.
He praised the Wesley Lake and Fletcher Lake Commissions, township officials, and residents for helping to bring this project about.
“This is actually dredging that is significant and long overdue,” he said.
Neptune Chief Financial Officer Michael Bascom said that the township will have to see how far the grant money goes and there might have to be some trade-offs between the amount of dredging versus wall repairs.
“At some point we may have to adjust the dredging to match the funds or look for other municipalities to share to cost.
Right now, Asbury Park and Bradley Beach have committed no money toward the project.
The major $1.2 million grant will come from National Resource Conservation Service [NRCS], a federal agency administered by U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The money will fund the dredging of both lakes, inspecting shoreline stability, and repair a portion of a concrete retaining wall that was severely damaged and partially collapsed during Superstorm Sandy on the eastern end of the lake in ocean Grove.
Neptune will pay 10 percent of the cost, or about $146,200 with money coming from the Monmouth County Open Space Grant Program and the township’s capital improvement fund.
Bascom said some money for wall improvements was already budgeted.
Michael J. Brantley, chairman of the Wesley Lake Commission, said the township took bids for the reconstruction of 400 linear feet of retaining wall along the southerly side of Wesley Lake. The low base bid was $1.2 million.
“We are looking at our funding sources, including the NRCS grant, to determine if we can proceed with the 400 linear feet or re-bid the project at 300 linear feet,” he said.
Included in the grant application to the NRCS was funding for wall improvements at Fletcher Lake and removing storm-related silt in both Wesley Lake and Fletcher Lake, Brantley said.
“It is estimated that 45,000 cubic yards of silt will be removed and that that project is still to be bid,” he said.
Brantley said he is unsure where the removed silt will be deposited but there are at least two nearby sites available, including the old Neptune landfill.
Pictured above is Wesley Lake as seen from Lake Avenue in Ocean Grove. File photo.