TRENTON, NJ – Devoe Lake will be receiving a $2.5 million grant though the Department of Environmental Protection according to a press release issued by Senator Linda R. Greenstein and Assemblymen Wayne P. DeAngelo and Daniel R. Benson yesterday.
The grant money will be used by to improve the water quality of the lake as well as alleviate flooding issues. The borough would also like to improve the aesthetic appeal of the lake by adding lighting and landscaping to possibly open up the lake for recreational use.
“This is a significant investment by the DEP in Devoe Lake,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “The Borough of Spotswood has sought funding for dredging the lake that will assist in the management of storm events. This is more than just an aesthetic improvement – it will benefit the surrounding areas at risk for flooding.”
“The local long-term goal of remediation and restoration of the lake and surrounding land will alleviate many concerns, including regional flooding,” said Assemblyman DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This DEP support will go a long way toward restoring Devoe Lake to become the centerpiece of Spotswood that the community is looking to create. Ultimately, the residents of Spotswood will greatly reap the benefits of this investment.”
“This is great news for Spotswood,” said Assemblyman Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Devoe Lake has been a central part of this community for generations. An opportunity to clean it up and improve its surroundings has been the long-term goal for the municipality and its residents. This funding will put Spotswood one step closer to creating the open, family-friendly environment they’d hoped for.”
Back in 1913, the borough was considered a summer vacation destination thanks to the opening of a health camp along the shores of Spotswood Lake. Today, Spotswood Lake is of course known as Devoe Lake and was actually purchased in 1930 from the U.S. Tobacco Co. for $500. Soon afterwards the lake was improved via a Works Process Administration Project, which was a part of President Roosevelt's New Deal that was created to form more jobs for Americans.
The 38-acre lake has fallen on hard times with large amounts of sediment accumulating on the bottom, making for flooding concerns during major storms. It is also considered by many borough residents to be an eyesore.
Improving the conditions of Devoe Lake has been on the mind of Spotswood Mayor Ed Seely for years, speaking about the issue many times during his campaign run in the fall of 2016, during his time as a borough councilman and in an interview last November where he talked about wanting to revitalize Devoe Lake, turning it into an area where the borough could hold family-friendly events.
“For a number of months, we at the borough have been seeking financial assistance with the dredging and revitalization of Devoe Lake,” said Seely. “We reached out to Senator Greenstein, together with Assemblymen Benson and DeAngelo, for direction and possible assistance with this project. I am excited to say that they sought funds from the state and Spotswood has been awarded a $2.5 million grant dedicated to the lake. This could not have been achieved without their help, and, as a borough, we are extremely thankful.”
“This is great news for Spotswood and for the surrounding municipalities,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “Spotswood will see the return of a great gathering spot for its residents. Additionally, since Devoe Lake is where the Manalapan Brook meets up with the Matchaponix Brook and forms the South River, the work to be done on the lake will help a much broader area.”
On May 3, Seely held a lakeside meeting to discuss possible strategies and potential funding options for restoring Devoe Lake.
Joining Seely for the spring meeting were Senator Linda Greenstein, Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, Assemblyman Dan Benson, Spotswood OEM Coordinator and Councilman Jose Rivera, Spotswood Borough Business Administrator Dawn McDonald, Spotswood Public Works Director John Mayor and Middlesex County OEM Deputy Coordinator John Ferguson. Representatives from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Land Use and Local Government Assistance were on hand as well.
"It's not just for the people that live there," Seely said of Devoe Lake. "It's for the borough."