CLARK, NJ — A study on the Clark Reservoir will be completed by the end of the year, according to County Officials, the first step in a potential renewal of the area.
The $94,500 study, done by CME Associates, will examine potential restorative measures for the reservoir, provide concepts for improvements and features, as well as potential areas for land acquisition. No field work will be conducted as part of the study, or field testing of environmental permitting.
“It's a potential jewel for recreation,” Freeholder Chris Hudak said of the area in an interview with TAPinto Clark. “But before we can start doing hiking trails or other things on the property we want to bring in an expert who has the opportunity to study it and come up with good alternatives for the Freeholder Board.”
The reservoir, formerly owned by Clark and sold to become part of the Union County Parks System in 2008 for $1, has drawn scrutiny from community activists, saying the area has fallen into a state of disrepair.
“[The reservoir] is a festering cesspool of neglect,” John Victor Jacobson, a candidate for the Clark Town Council told TAPinto Clark. Jacobson, an ardent advocate for the reservoir, has made numerous online videos claiming toxic gases and pollution has been rife in the area.
“It's just not a healthy environment for the thousands of people that live here and the tens of thousands of animals that live here too,” he said in one video, alleging environmental hazards in the area.
County officials disagree the area has been neglected. Hudak stated that the reservoir had encroachment issues, which he described as an “obstruction” to the project. The scope of the project would be extensive as well, he explained.
“This isn't just fixing a small part of a pocket park somewhere,” he said. “This is going to be a pretty lengthy process to evaluate the reservoir and determine what's feasible.”
Once the study is completed it will be reviewed by county engineers for a final report to be reviewed by the Freeholders, who will then review the findings, Hudak said.
“It is going to be quite a process,” he said. “But it's the first step in a long journey that will end in a real resource for Union County in terms of the environment and recreation.”
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