BELMAR, NJ — An old gazebo is starting a new life — as the centerpiece of the small park at Fifth Avenue and D Street in Belmar.

For two years, the small wooden structure was situated several blocks away at the children’s playground at Eighth Avenue and C Street, overlooking Silver Lake. But it became an easy target of vandals, and the extensively damaged structure was eventually pulled from the park last year, destined for the garbage dump.

That’s until Public Works employees Rod McCann and Sean Connelly stepped in and decided to make the gazebo’s restoration their “winter recycling project.”

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“When we removed (the gazebo) from the playground, it was not in good shape,” said Public Works Director Michael Campbell. “Rather than throw it away, Rod and Sean wanted to do something … to give back to the parks.”

Since then, both men have been spending their lunch hour, as well as coming in early and staying late, to work on the project until the decorative structure — clean, white and like-new — was recently transported to its new home.

Located in the triangular-shaped ‘pocket park’ bound by River Road, Fifth Avenue and D Street, the site was chosen by the Mayor Mark Walsifer because it is nicely shaded and is situated along a popular walking route to Main Street by residents in the area, Campbell said.

And this week, Sal Circelli of Public Works placed the finishing touches on the project —installing a paver walkway lined with solar lights leading up to the gazebo and planting greenery around it.

By the way, Campbell said, the pavers are also recycled — made available by a local contractor who had no use for 20 pallets of the decorative stone that came from a house under reconstruction.. “All we had to do is pick them up,” he added, saying the borough is finding other places for the remaining pavers as well.

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