CLARK, NJ – The Clark Reservoir will be dredged according to a statement released on Friday afternoon by the Union County Freeholders. State officials have committed $250K in funds toward the project.
New Jersey’s financial support comes at the same time the county is conducting a study of the area. The study is to be finished by the end of the year and is intended to give guidance to UC officials in terms of ways to improve, redevelop and manage the area according to earlier statements by the county.
“We are looking forward to making improvements at the reservoir that will enhance its use by the public, and we welcome the funding, which is perfectly timed,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.
Mayor Bonaccorso was excited about the announcement and said he looks forward to working with the county to make this project successful. “We are grateful for their (UC Freeholders) efforts on this project and their commitment to move ahead with this,” he said. “We have talked about this for several years, and I am glad they could make it happen.”
He continued, “When we sold the reservoir to the county in 2008, it was because we knew that Union County was like the big brother that could handle a project of this magnitude better than we could as a small town. “
John Victor Jacobson, a current candidate for Clark Councilman-at-Large and an advocate for the Clark Reservoir reacted to the news. “It is a step in the right direction,” he said. “They have a long way to go.”
Bonaccorso also indicated this was the start of something larger too. He advised residents not to expect an overnight change in the area. “This is not a one-year project, it is on the county’s radar, they are moving forward, but it will take time,” he said. “The money from the state is great seed money toward this huge project.”
Over the last sevearl years, Jacobson has made and circulated videos, appeared in front of the Clark Town Council, reached out to Union County Freeholders and NJ officials to appeal to them for action on the Clark Reservoir which he calls a “festering cesspool.”
Jacobson said he would love to part of the conversation about how the money gets spent and what the plan should be. “I’d like to work with the officials and professionals and share what I’ve learned in my studies over these years,” he said. “There is so much technology that can be inexpensively deployed to clean the debris and toxins out of the reservoir and to catch more of it before it enters the waters.”
County officials have referred to the Clark Reservoir as a recreational jewel. Bonaccorso sees it too and sought to reassure residents about what that might look like. “There have been ideas for passive recreational that were sketched out in the past, we can refer to them when the time comes, but be assured we are not looking to put things in residents’ backyards,” said Bonaccorso.
The Clark Reservoir was constructed in the first decade of the 20th century. The township took possession of it in the 1990s and eventually sold it to Union County in 2008. According to county officials they have “assembled a continuous greenway that links the Clark Reservoir with other parks and public lands nearby” since that time.
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