By Wilson Conde

Middletown residents got to learn about the latest updates on the flood control system being built around Port Monmouth, a newly introduced Styrofoam recycling program, and a resolution to begin improvements to Normandy Park, during the Middletown Township Committee’s Dec. 2nd meeting. 

Normandy Park is located on the corner of Dwight Road and Normandy Road, near Thompson Middle School and Nut Swamp Elementary School; and park improvements in the area entail replacing the turf fields there, among other things.

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These park improvements are to be financed by issuing about $4.89 million in bonds, and the project is expected to cost $5.145 million, according to the meeting agenda.

According to the Township Committee Dec 2nd meeting’s agenda, the Styrofoam recycling program will be managed by a Pennsylvania-based company called Foam Cycle LLC, which won a contract for $76,600 to run the program.   Foam Cycle LLC is a company that recycles Styrofoam by removing air from the Styrofoam packages in order to make it more compact and dense, a process known as “densification”.  

According to the company’s website, the resulting product of this process, called Ingot, is then sold to a company called Better Frame, which uses the Ingot as raw material to make picture frame. Companies like Better Frame then typically buy ingot for amounts ranging from $200 to $500, which is often significantly more than what most recycled metals are valued at.  

For more information on Foam Cycle LLC and it’s Styrofoam recycling program, visit the at https://www.foamcycle.com/.

According to a document summarizing the Port Monmouth Flood Control Project, that project consists of two phases. The first phase entails an extended pier and a reinforced beach and dune; while the second phase entails levees, special flood gates to hold back tides, floodwalls to hold back storm surges, pumping stations, and gates to close roads during major coastal storms. The first phase was completed in 2016; whereas the second phase has been underway for the past two years, is about half-way finished, and is scheduled to be fully completed in 2022.

For more information on the Port Monmouth Flood Control Project, visit https://www.middletownnj.org/525/Port-Monmouth-Flood-Control-Project, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s webpage for the project at https://www.nan.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Projects-in-New-Jersey/Port-Monmouth/

According to the Middletown Township Committee’s Dec. 2nd meeting agenda, the ordinance regarding the flood control program, which the committee passed during the meeting, involved two contracts that cover the construction of various parts of the flood control system that have not yet been completed. 

More specifically, it entailed the Township granting easements of various Township-owned properties and land parcels throughout Port Monmouth to the Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agency that’s overseeing the project, so they could use these areas to build the flood control system, the agenda said.

Following the Township Committee’s vote to approve these measures while voting on other routine matters, as well as a Middletown resident thanking the committee members for their support of the proposed Normandy Park improvements, some of the committee members issued their comments, many of which were about the meeting’s agenda items. 

The first to comment was Committeeman Rick Hibell, who said he was glad that Normandy Park would be getting an upgrade.  Afterward came comments from Deputy Mayor Tony Fiore, who said he was viewing the Normandy Park improvement proposal from a parental perspective. 

“As a volunteer with young children who do athletics, I know how important (park maintenance and improvements are),” he said. “Thank you to all those in the community for your support (of this plan). 

After this, Mayor Perry thanked Township Administration staff members for their role in helping organize the financing of the Normandy Park improvement proposal, as well as for structuring the project’s financing in a way that will not directly impact taxpayers, as the open space trust fund will help pay for these improvements. 

Mayor Perry also said he’s very glad that Middletown Township will now start its Styrofoam recycling program in partnership with Foam Cycle that will allow Middletown residents to deposit their Styrofoam for recycling into special bins located in three areas - one in Kanes Lane, another in the train station, and one in Port Monmouth.   Mayor Perry also said he’s proud that Middletown Township will the first town in the state to have such a program. 

“Middletown Township will the first town in the state where we can recycle styrofoam,” Mayor Perry said. “No other municipality can lay that claim.”