The weather may be turning a bit chilly, but for boaters seeking a taste of fall striped bass season, a new boat ramp will be open soon, officials said.
The new ramp will be located across from the Gilford Park Yacht Club in a space that was formerly used as a baseball diamond. The ramp will provide access to Dillon’s Creek, which empties into the Toms River and ultimately Barnegat Bay.
“Unfortunately, this project is a little behind schedule,” said Township Engineer Robert Chankalian. “The contractor is not hitting his deadline, but most of the work has been completed.”
Converting a long unused township park — once a baseball diamond, now overgrown and with cracked asphalt — off Garfield Avenue into the boat ramp will allow boats up to 35-feet access to the creek that divides Toms River with Island Heights, said Chankalian.
Chankalian said the public boat ramp would accommodate powerboats and sailboats as well as kayaks and canoes, and would likely be unstaffed and not have any cost for a user to access it. The project cost about $1 million.
“Right now, you can see the docking, decking and elevated walkway is complete,” said Chankalian at a township council meeting this week. “The only thing left is paving the parking lot and [installing] the light poles.”
A new boat ramp, dock, decking and parking spaces for oversized vehicles (big enough for trucks and SUVs with boat trailers attached) have been installed.
The construction of the ramp was opposed by some members of the yacht club, whose members pay to use their facilities. The project received approval, however, largely based on the fact that the yacht club’s opposition was economic in nature rather than an environmental concern.
Chankalian said the ramp should be open to the public within the next 30 days.
Additional reporting from Catherine Galioto was included in this story.