Progress on a county fishing pier and park in Brick is moving along well, and is expected to be completed in November, Ocean County Freeholder John Bartlett told Brick Patch.
Motorists passing by the future park site, on the northwest corner of the Mantoloking Bridge on the Brick side, have been able to see the construction of restroom facilities, gazebos and more in recent weeks, as construction on the $1.45 million project moves forward.
Bartlett said once the project is complete, the park will include a 50-foot-long fishing and crabbing pier, two fish cleaning areas (one with running water), a modern restroom facility, a boardwalk along the bayfront, gazebos and picnic areas which will be located under the shadow of the bridge in the shade. Crews will also construct a parking lot which will be able to hold 55 cars.
"It's really going to be quite nice," said Bartlett.
The new park replaces a former pier made from the "stub" of the former Mantoloking Bridge, Bartlett said. The pier became popular since the bridge was replaced several years ago, Bartlett said, but it wasn't well-suited for fishing and crabbing, being located very high above the water. Also, those who wanted to fish there had to park in an oft-muddy parking area down the street and cross the busy lanes of Mantoloking Road to get to the pier.
When the Mantoloking Bridge, which is owned by the county, was approved for replacement in 2003, the state ordered that a portion of the old span be made into a fishing pier.
"We all thought, who the heck's going to fish off of that?" said Bartlett. But many people did, prompting the county to plan a true fishing pier and adjacent park area along the bay. Since Brick officials were already planning to turn nearby Traders Cove Marina into a park, Bartlett said county officials decided to use its land in the same vicinity for the fishing pier.
Though the striped bass run in Barnegat Bay may be coming to a close by the time the park is fully completed, chilly-weather anglers who want to fish for winter flounder in March will have a fighting chance to hook a few flatties by fishing much closer to the water line than they were ever able to at the old pier. Plus, crabbers won't need tens of feet of line – and luck that their trap won't break on the steep fall to the water – next summer.
"We think it's going to be heavily, heavily used," Bartlett said.