CNBNEWS Op-Ed: Catholic School Closings Result From Church Being Paper Tiger
Camden County Weekly News-released 1-11-11

Update on Fort Nassau, A Quick Thinking 11-Year-Old, Freeholders Coming to Brooklawn



By Bill Cleary


UPDATE ON FORT NASSAU-In November we received a Tip about the poor condition of the Fort Nassau Rds_newsPlayground, Johnson Blvd., across from Martins Lake, Gloucester City.  We paid a visit to the site and just like the Tipster said the condition of the park was in shambles. At the time we reached out to several City officials to see if there were any plans to fix up the playground or to demolish it. Unfortunately we never received a response. Just recently we tried again and were able to interview City Councilman Nick Marchese (2nd Ward-D).  Fort Nassau and the Martins Lake playground are in his district.



CNBNews: Because of the poor condition of the Fort I would think the City would be concerned that a child will get hurt while playing there. Also we recently discovered that the wood that was used to build it contains hazardous chemicals.  Why isn’t the City acting faster on addressing this problem?


Marchese: Because of your reporting we (meaning mayor and council) have discussed the playground recently.  When we first came into office (2007) some parts of the Fort were removed and the remaining wood was stained. New equipment was erected. We thought about tearing it down but a lot of people donated their time to build it. We didn’t want to upset them. In my opinion all we did in 2007 was put a “bandaid” on it. 



I think now it should come down. It is a hazard. Not everyone on council may agree with me, but you are right, something has to be done.


CNBNews: There was close to $100,000 raised to build the Fort. Much of the material and the labor was donated. How much money was left over from the donations received in 1999? 


Marchese: There was about $11,000 in the account. I am not sure of the exact amount but it was around $11,000 left over in the account. We spent $4,000 on it in 2007. We still have about $7,000. I don’t have the figures in front of me but these numbers are pretty close.



Marchese: I am working on plans to build a new playground on a vacant lot owned by the City. The site is on Park Avenue near the Highland Park School and across from Miller Lake.  It is going to be named after a child who lived in that area who is deceased. The City has $115,000 for this purpose.  We are going to use the playground equipment from St. Mary’s Grammar School. The parish gave it to the City. We had to spend $15,000 to have it dismantled since the City’s insurance company specifies it be done by a certified contractor. That equipment is 12 years old. We had trouble getting some of the parts that were missing since they are no longer made.


Once the plans are finished for the new park there will be a formal announcement made.  


Marchese- Housing Officer Joe Stecklair will be attending the Planning Board’s meetings in the future. There was some confusion on whether he should be at these meetings. There have been times when questions have been raised that could only be answered by Joe. He receives $5,000 a year extra to attend the meetings, so he is being compensated for his time.


Note: Marchese is a member of the Planning Board.  


Quick thinking by 11-year-old Justin Ellis resulted in the capture of the TD Bank robber on Wednesday, Jan. 11. Authorities said Justin was getting out of school saw the suspect, Steven Hill, and watched Hill make his escape. When police responded, the child was able to direct them to Hill, who was found with the cash and the note, still wearing clothes stained by the dye pack. 


Justin’s parents are Gary and Cindy Ellis. Grandparents are Tom and Joann Gurick and Linda Merrill. 


Great to see such a young man getting involved in his community. Sad to say in today’s world most adults would not want to step-up like Justin did on Wednesday. ~Bill Cleary


Brooklawn residents invited to meet with the Camden County Freeholders at a Town Meeting on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 6:30pm at the Brooklawn Community Center, 101 North 2nd Street. This is the time to discuss any problems you might have with the Board members. At 7pm the Board’s monthly meeting will be held 

which you are also invited to attend. 1-866-CAMDEN County.


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