A grant of $600,000 for the Traders Cove Marina park project was included in a slew of Green Acres grants announced Wednesday by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
"It's the maximum amount that we could've gotten by Green Acres," said Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis.
The matching grant will help defray costs for the project, which will eventually turn the former derelict marina into a public, bayfront park and township marina.
Acropolis said in all, the park has received $9 million in grant funding, including $2.5 million in Green Acres grants.
Last week, the township council voted in favor of soliciting bids for several aspects of the project. Township officials have said the park is in the second phase of construction, which includes the installation of utilities, construction of parking areas, installation of curbing and sidewalks, construction of a maintenance building, construction of a retaining wall and the installation of playground equipment.
"It's going to be the best waterfront park anywhere in Ocean County, and one of the best in the state," said Acropolis. "I think the taxpayers are being rewarded and will have a state-of-the-art park they'll be able to use."
The township also received $36,900 from the DEP's Division of Forestry to pay for tree plantings at the site. A development plan calls for nearly 200 trees to be planted at Traders Cove including evergreens, shade trees and street trees.
The grant funding will also provide a trail link to Brick's portion of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, which is located near the southwest side of park site.
"Right now that whole area is inaccessible," said Acropolis. "It has no parking and no walkable trail."
The plan is to put in a connection to the refuge trail, including kiosks explaining wildlife and local plants. Acropolis said the trail would be similar to those at Cattus Island County Park in Toms River and several of the parks located on Long Beach Island.
The park is expected to be open for spring 2013, township Business Administrator Scott Pezarras told Brick Patch last week. The upgraded marina portion of the site should be completed for the 2014 boating season, he said.
The project has experienced delays over the past year as political wrangling took its toll on a previous timetable.
Acropolis has placed blame on the Democrat-controlled township council, which at its first meeting in 2012 scrapped plans for a splash park at the site. The canceled splash park plan also included restrooms and plumbing infrastructure.
Council President John Ducey has said the cancellation of the $600,000 splash park contract allowed the council the save taxpayers' money and apply grant funding toward the eventual installation of the restroom facilities.