As we on Lower Township Council navigated through the COVID-19 waters, we learned many things that impacted the programs and projects that we want to advance on behalf of our residents over the next year. Of course, our paramount focus is always on ensuring that spending is done thoughtfully and that the projects and programs we advance are in the best interests of our residents. But two of our specific takeaways from the pandemic were on the importance of the mental and physical health of our residents and instilling healthy habits into their lives. It revealed to us that open-air outdoor activities will be preferred by many of our residents and may be the only type of activities that some will be able to do for the foreseeable future. With that, we focused on a few projects that will provide more opportunities for residents of all ages to exercise, relax, and otherwise enjoy Lower Township.
The first was to continue improving our Delaware Bay beach amenities. The Delaware Bay beach is a gem of Lower Township and it continues to become more popular every season. With its increased popularity, we wanted to ensure that all residents were able to access it in a safe and enjoyable manner and from as close to home as possible. As such, we will continue to improve the access points by widening and strengthening the paths from the streets to the beach areas and construct fencing along those pathways. These improvements will be completed to 13 beach access points before the 2021 beach season, which will bring the total number of beach access points that were improved by Lower Township over the past couple of years to 48. These improvements will also include increasing the number of ADA-compliant access points and increasing the number of benches street-ends to allow our residents to enjoy the best sunrises and sunsets that can be seen anywhere.
We also re-prioritized improvements that were being made to three of the Township’s parks, which allowed the Township to complete these improvements with mostly outside funding – we now anticipate approximately 80% of the improvements to be completed with funding from State grants and Open Space Funds.
The Township plans to make significant improvements to three Township parks; namely, Clem Mulligan Park, Jonathan Hoffman Park, and Rotary Park. The improvements to Mulligan Park in the Villas will include completely new playground areas: new playground equipment for children ages 2-5, a separate playground area with new equipment for children ages 6-12, and a new swing set that will be located between the two playground areas. The Township will also resurface the basketball courts, construct a new hockey rink with clear rink boards and construct a new general use utility field that can be used for sports, activities, picnics, and games. A new walking path will be constructed around the perimeter of the entire park, which will be lighted for evening use as well. Finally, we will include enhanced security features to ensure that the entire park can be monitored by our police department through surveillance cameras.
The improvements to Jonathan Hoffman and Rotary Parks will include all ADA-compliant playground resurfacing and fully upgraded playground equipment and swings, which will also be ADA-compliant. There will be a new picnic area, shaded area, and painted games on the playground surface. Finally, it will include an adult fitness park that will attract new users to our parks, make exercise fun, and improve the health of our residents.
We are excited about these additions to our Township and the opportunities they will provide to our residents to enjoy and develop healthier lifestyle habits. We hope you enjoy them!
We wish you all the best and thank you for your support,
Mayor Frank Sippel
Deputy Mayor Dave Perry
Councilman Tom Conrad
Councilman Kevin Coombs
Councilman Roland Roy, Jr.
Ordered and paid for by Friends of Sippel, Perry and Coombs P.O. Box 231 Villas, NJ 08251.