MIDDLETOWN, NJ: Middletown residents got to listen to two presentations from local agencies about their latest agendas, as well as ask about pending Middletown Township road improvement projects, during the Township Committee’s workshop meeting on Oct. 7th

The local agency presentations featured the Middletown Township Sewage Authority (or TOMSA), and one the Middletown Township Housing Authority. 

The meeting began with a discussion about a 50-foot parcel of land located in between two private homes along Wilson Avenue in Middletown’s Port Monmouth section.  Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante said the parcel is mostly wetlands and was originally designed to be used to build a street called Prescott Place.   However, the township eventually decided against such a plan, and so handed it over to two private homeowners, who will then split the property equally between them, Mercantante said. 

Sign Up for Middletown Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

“It just goes into the marsh, so this is really an excess piece of property,” he said.  “We asked all the (government agencies) to see if they had an issue with it.  There were no objections.”

Afterwards came the first presentation, by TOMSA Executive Director Ray Nierstedt.  Nierstedt said TOMSA would be working on a series of improvement projects over the next year or two to make the sewage treatment and storage systems more up-to-date. 

Nierstedt said such projects include among other things replacing the underground fuel tanks that help power the system’s circulations, upgrading the settler tanks where the treated wastewater is stored, and reinforcing some of the pipes that cross Ravines (as many of them are only loosely supported).

“Wastewater eats everything,” Nierstedt said. “Basically, the tanks that (the wastewater is) in, the steel, everything every 20 years basically has to be replaced.”

In addition, TOMSA intends to check the sewer system pipes for leaks and make any necessary repairs, and update the pump station’s alarm system, the representative said. 

According to it’s website, TOMSA’s sewer system treats 10.8 million gallons of wastewater per day, first by pumping the wastewater into tanks at it’s treatment plant in Middletown’s Belford section to sort out the water from solid particles and grease, oils, etc. - then processing it by a method called “activated sludge”, in which the water is aerated out and microorganisms eat the remaining tiny solid particles and then grow large enough to filter out; after which the water is treated a third time with chlorine before finally being pumped out through a pipe for discharge into the ocean off of Sandy Hook. 

Afterward came the second presentation, this one by Susan Thomas, Executive Director of the Middletown Housing Authority, which manages the Daniel Towers and Alice V. Tomaso Plaza apartment complexes in Oakdale Drive at Middletown’s New Monmouth section, among other housing units.

Thomas said the Alice V. Tomaso Plaza now has improved road access, re-designed landscaping, an outdoor gazebo, assigned parking spaces for all residents, and a new HVAC system at the rooftop that replaces one that has been broken for nearly ten years. The Tomaso Plaza is also scheduled to get a new roof in the Fall of 2020, Thomas said. 

“It’s a great improvement for the quality of life there,” Thomas said. “There are now tenants complaining that it’s actually too cold. We like to joke that these are the same residents who (before) said it was too hot.”

Meanwhile, Daniel Towers will soon have new showerheads and energy efficient toilets to achieve long-term energy costs savings, and over the next year will be getting a new parking lot, a new patio, assigned parking spaces for all residents, and re-designed landscaping, Thomas said.

Next came Township Committee comments.  Committeeman Rick Hibell thanked those who helped with the Middletown Day event on Sept. 28th, and Committeman Kevin Settembrino said Middletown Day, along with the recent opening of a “green pavilion” at Poricy Park were things that would help Middletown move forward. 

Committeewoman Patricia Snell said she attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Poricy Park’s Green Pavillion, and noted that the pavilion has a “living roof” that collects rainwater as opposed to a regular shingled roof, and an education kiosk that shows how that type of roof works. 

“It’s a beautiful place,” she said. “I urge you all to go (there).”

Deputy Mayor Anthony Fiore mentioned that the Middletown Township Board of Education will soon be hosting a series of forums for the upcoming strategic plan, and said he would like to attend at least one such meeting. 

“I look forward to hearing what the plans are,” Fiore said. “Obviously, our schools are very important to out community.”

Mayor Anthony Perry then mentioned that he looked forward to the River Plaza neighborhood’s upcoming improvements, such as widened sidewalks, new fencing to provide a better buffer between traffic and pedestrians, etc. - that are expected to make the area more walkable for students. 

“River Plaza will have an unbelievable transformation over the next two to three years,” he said. 

Lastly one resident, Mary O’Malley of the Locust section, asked about the latest status of road improvement projects that are due in the area.  

Mayor Perry said that he received and signed a final contract for the road project earlier that day. 

“This is the last thing I signed (before coming here),” he said. 

When O’Malley asked about how the project would work, Township Engineer Ted Maloney said the surveying will come first, then the drainage system, and then the re-paving, with the last thing happening around the spring.   When O’Malley then wondered whether the drains would be damaged over the winter, Maloney said the township would take measures to protect the drains from winter weather.