edgemont parkThe Township of Montclair has announced that the dredging of the pond at Edgemont Park and the construction of a new retaining wall around the pond will begin on or about Monday, March 4, weather permitting.

The plan to fix the pond has been years in the making, but a failure to find a contractor and narrow down a proposed plan, as well as determine whether the soil in the pond is contaminated, has left the project in limbo.

The town has now selected GMP Contracting of South Plainfield for the work.

Tom Nussbaum, of the Friends of Edgemont Park conservancy group, said at a town council meeting in January that the group is working on a master plan for the park, and that they have gotten volunteers to paint and repair benches and cut overgrowth near the stream, as well as plant tulips near the playground.  He also said that Friends of Edgemont Park gained 501c3 status as a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization.

“Once the master plan’s in place,” Nussbaum said, “we can raise money and have a planting plan so that we know what trees are going to go where and we can raise money to purchase trees and plant them.”

After next week’s construction begins, the parking lot off Valley Road will be closed to traffic at various times and some park paths may be blocked. The ball fields, however, will continue to be accessible at all times.

The construction time for this project is highly dependent on weather conditions, says the Township, but it is expected to last 4-6 months–longer, if the weather is wetter than usual.

The inspector for this project is Mike Disko, Jr. from M. Disko Associates consulting engineers. If the inspector is not on site, the Township is asking residents who live near the park to not approach the contractor but immediately call the Montclair Engineering Bureau at 973-509-5711. The inspector will contact those residents by phone and/or return to the job site within a short time.

6 replies on “Work to Begin on Edgemont Park Pond”

  1. Having spent much time reviewing the issues surrounding this project, I am appaled that the Council is going forward with a plan that does NOT include full dredging and removal of the contaminated sediment.

    Under TWO separate analyses the sediment has been reported, by professional testing companies, as CONTAMINATED and not usable as residential or non-residential fill.

    THe town has tried to get Montclair State University, as well as others, to take the fill. They wouldn’t be fooled. The sediment is required to be disposed of properly. This is expensive.

    It is my understanding that since disposing of it properly would exceed the budget, which was arbitrarily set at $800K, the town will only do a small portion, if any, of the dredging. Rather, the money will be spent on a nice wall, and a parking area.

    It is my understanding that “at some time in the future” we’ll go back and remove the contamination properly.

    So instead of doing it right now, we’re going to pay much more to do it right in the future.

    The sediment is contaminated. It is dangerous. In a few years it might become more contaminated, since the contaminating water sources are still pouring into the pond. Indeed it might reach the level of “Hazardous” which would require even more expense to remediate.

  2. Cary, parks are not a good mix with pumping stations and high rise buildings. They get in the way of development. You should know this by now.

    My impression had been that you supported this investment in Edgemont Park, even it had never been properly budgeted and it would the town further in debt.

    I have to agree with you for speaking up about the halfway measures that the Town Council is taking, that will do no more than put the town’s money in contractors’ pockets without getting the job done.

    Dredging Edgemont Pond partially will not do anything. There needs to be a thorough and open analysis of the full extent of the contamination and the sources of the contamination. Without completely dredging the contaminated soil out of the pond and stopping the sources of contamination, the Town Council will be throwing good money after bad.

    A number of people have repeatedly called for the environmental report to be made public. There is a public health concern here that affects families and children. The Town Council has an obligation to make this report public and to say clearly how it will address the health issues. Withholding this information could create liabilities for the town in the future.

    There was also an oil spill that ended up in the pond not so long ago. Did the town clean this up? Did it locate the source of the oil spill and take measures?

  3. There are a lot of questions to ask regarding this project. The questions involve competence.

    The project was granted a Green Acres Grant. It will not impose debt on the Town.

    Yet after a bond ordinance, which the grant will pay off, was approved $500K was issued in short term notes towards the project. The project hadn’t even gone out to bid yet we were issuing debt to pay for it? What did the money go for.

    The project went out to bid before ANY testing was done. This makes no sense. I was told the contractor would “assume” some dollar amount for clean up. Huh?

    The engineering firm we hired posed significant questions, including the fact that one of their staff, who was let go, was accused and plead guilty to kickbacks. He was sentenced to prison a year ago. Now this firm will provide engineering overview.

    Questions abound.

    As to spills and contamination, there are MANY. They just aren’t talked about.

    I can give you the environmental report. All three of them. I obtained them via OPRA.

  4. Thanks, Cary. The talk about the bond and the grant have been confusing to follow: Why take out a bond if there is a grant? Has the grant been indeed been granted? Will it cover all the costs of the project? Will it cover the interest on the bond?

    But more importantly, why are the Town Council and the Town Manager in such a hurry, and in such a hurry to do things wrong? This simply does not make sense. If they proceed as they do now, it will just be a waste of money.

    The contamination is a serious issue, both the presently contaminated soil and the ongoing sources of contamination. One gets the feeling that the Town Council and the Town Manager are more interested in the developers/contractors than they are with the town and its people.

    It is good you have the environmental reports. Hopefully they will be put on the Internet (by the Town Council) and addressed by the Town Council.

    The health issues and the resulting vulnerability to the town for liability will not go away by closing our eyes.

    The Friends of Edgemont Pond are really contributing a lot to the town through their volunteer efforts. The deserve to be praised for this. At the same time, one hopes they are not seeing this only as a discussion on putting a nice temporary nice shine on the surface of the park. Hopefully they are also advocating for a full clean-up and an end to the sources of pollution.

  5. The way grants work is the town puts up the money, usually via a short term note, and when the project is complete the grant is actually given and used to pay off the note.

    The green acres money for Edgemont was given a long time ago. It was obtained by the former town manager, Joe Hartnett. For ONE YEAR the current town manager couldn’t “find” the grant.

    There’s strange things going on. Sometimes it looks like one of those shell games.

  6. Unless you’re legally prohibited from doing so, Cary, I think you should post those reports that you obtained via OPRA onto your Google Drive or similar shared-drive and post a URL for all of us to access those documents.

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