Carteret, NJ – Mayor Reiman joined with Councilwoman Naples this week to announce that the Borough has qualified for $73k in N.J. D.E.P. funding for the remediation of 35 Cooke Avenue.
“35 Cooke,” now officially designated a redevelopment area by the Carteret Redevelopment Agency, was previously owned by the Dashmesh Dunbar, who purchased it in 2000 intending to construct a temple. The project was never completed, and an abandoned girder structure remained on the property for several years until the Borough condemned it in 2007.
Last year the Borough announced that the site would be reserved for either public or private development. Mayor Reiman has stated that current plans are still being negotiated, and that proposals include a residential development and a private school. According to the Mayor, 35 Cooke Avenue would be an advantageous location for any of the proposals, with its immediate access to the Washington Avenue transit area, the Borough Library, Civic Center Park, and the town’s pending fitness center.
The New Jersey D.E.P. has awarded Carteret $73,000 to cap the “Historic Fill” used at the site. Specifically, the grant will fund a Preliminary Assessment followed by the Site Investigation and Remedial Investigation of soil and groundwater quality. These studies are expected to justify the capping of the site with whatever pavement and structures will coincide with its development. This is not an uncommon means of remediation in New Jersey;
“Use of the proposed building slab and asphalt pavement as caps, or Engineering Controls, is consistent with DEP-approved methodology for redevelopment,” according to Lawra Dodge, of Excel Environmental Resources, Inc, “as long as the caps are protective. In this case, they certainly will be, since the entire property will be covered with either concrete building slab, asphalt pavement, concrete sidewalks or clean soil-covered landscape areas.”
Excel Environmental Resources has provided Carteret with its consulting services since 2006, and has assisted with many of its Brownfields remediation studies, and in obtaining much of the subsequent funding it has received. In its own study, Excel determined that the Historic Fill at 35 Cooke Avenue contained minor concentrations of various hydrocarbons and metals. According to Excel, “capping” as a means of containing such residual contamination is protective of human health and the environment, since the physical components of the site development act as the actual cap. It is therefore cost effective as well.
“Much of the redevelopment throughout New Jersey could not be conducted were it not for these studies,” Mayor Reiman said, “and the remediation funding that allows us to – in this case literally – pave the way for revitalization. This is a big step forward for the redevelopment of 35 Cooke Avenue, which sat dormant for nearly a decade, but which will be an asset to Carteret in the near future.”
“Excel has been instrumental in allowing many of our projects to begin,” Councilwoman Naples added. “Their studies have enabled us to recycle dormant properties and re-establish them as a useful part of our cityscape. We’re also grateful to the N.J. D.E.P., for funding this necessary remediation, and recognizing the potential of 35 Cooke Avenue.”