Spray Park Shows What Could Be in Red Bank
Among the ideas for rehabilitating Bellhaven includes developing a "sprayground" park for children and families.
When temperatures reached into the 90's last week in Colts Neck, families flocked to Dorbrook Park by the hundreds, packing into its sprayground, a small water park complete with sprinklers, fountains, climbing apparatuses and benches and tables for families and their children.
Could Red Bank residents enjoy something similar?
In December, the borough announced that it had received a Open Space grant for $239,000 to help rehabilitate Bellhaven, a small nature preserve on Locust Avenue that police and borough officials say has become a haven for criminal activity, a dangerous spot rarely used by the families who live so close to it on the west side of town.
Red Bank, which must match the grant, reserves the right to rehabilitate the waterfront park as it sees fit but has yet to determine not only what the best concept for the location is, but what will attract the most use by local residents. One consideration for the site: a spray park.
Though talk about Bellhaven has ranged from turning it into a simple playground, to building a small boardwalk and providing better access to the river, the idea of a spray park was developed after talks with Red Bank Parks and Recreation Department about what would get the most use.
Borough Engineer Christine Ballard said in a previous report that any park there would be welcome considering the lack of such a facility within reasonable walking distance for a significant portion of the population.
“There’s a need in that area for waterfront access for children, a way to combine both the nature of the shoreline and active recreation,” Ballard said last August.
Though the borough has noted its interest in possibly developing a sprayground at the Bellhaven site, it has not made any final determination what belongs there. Of note, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders in a memo to Red Bank following the issuance of the Open Space grant said the money should be used for improvements like a splash pad and playground.