TRENTON, NJ (November 29, 2018)(CNBNewsnet)--A massive 200- acre sports complex has been proposed in the Pinelands of Jackson. The project called Trophy Park, would be built outside of the Pinelands Reserve on much of the wooded land along the shore of Prospertown Lake that was once owned by the late Stanley Switlik. The park would also be right next to the Prospertown Wildlife Management Area. This is critical forest area that drains into the Barnegat Bay. Trophy Park would feature 23 full sized athletic fields, a 400,000 square foot indoor sports facility, and more. Sky Blue FC is a partner in this project. Governor Phil Murphy is also a co- owner of the Sky Blue FC soccer club. This is the second massive sports complex proposal in Jackson. A 150-acre project, proposed by Cardinale Enterprises in June, sits on Monmouth Road adjacent to Six Flags Great Adventure.
“An environmentally sensitive area in the Pines is being threatened by a massive sprawl project. The project would destroy 200-acres in the Pinelands next to a state-owned wildlife management area.The project site is outside protected areas of the pines but is still critical Pineland forest. Trophy Park will cause more traffic, more runoff and sprawl in the area. There are also plenty of alternative sites on existing developed land for this sports complex to be built that would not cause as much environmental damage,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We spent all these years fighting the Six Flags parking lot and saved 150 acres, now we are facing two massive development proposals that will cause twice as much damage. The only thing green about Trophy Park will be the AstroTurf in the indoor arena.”
The proposed location of Trophy Park will be south of Great Adventure, built along the banks of Prospertown Lake and Prospertown Wildlife Management Area. Due to the site’s environmentally sensitive ecosystems such as important wetlands and habitats of threatened and endangered species, the park will need to apply for several permits from the Department of Environmental Protection such as wetlands permits, stormwater permits, and more.
“Trophy Park would be adjacent to environmentally sensitive wildlife management areas that is state property. The wildlife area property is also part of a major greenway in the middle of the Pinelands that connects to Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area to Brendan Byrnes state forest. The location site has endangered and threatened species like the corn and pine snake and sensitive wetlands. Since the site is in an environmentally sensitive area, the project will need to get approvals and permits from the DEP. The park will need stream encroachment, flood hazard, wetlands, and stormwater permits,” said Tittel. “This is the first time where a company owned by a siting governor has to apply to their own state agency for permits. This raises serious concerns because the DEP is part of the Murphy Administration.”
Trophy Park would include 3 restaurants, a 16,000 square foot retail building, a dual branded hotel (2 conjoined 98 room hotels), 18 court multi-sport arena, team dining hall/restaurant , team hotel reception area, 7 multi-sport athletic fields, 16 baseball/softball fields, 15 batting cages, 60 team hotel suites, snack stands/announcer booths, and Sky Blue Headquarters /Soccer Stadium with associated parking. According their website, Trophy Park could host 2000 athletes per week and expect nearly one million visitors per year.
“The massive sports complex and hotel would bring more cars and more people into the environmentally-sensitive area. This means more roads and sewers as well as much more construction. The deforestation from this project alone would undo any good that came from our settlement with Six Flags over their proposed parking lot. We worked to save close to 10,000 trees in the Pinelands and now they are trying to cut down 10 times that amount. This will cause more runoff especially in the Barnegat Bay,” said Tittel. “There are plenty of other developed areas where this massive sports complex could be built without causing so much environmental damage. If we want to help redevelop the cities, this project would be a great opportunity for brownfield sites in Camden, Kearny, or even in Trenton.”
This is the second massive sports complex proposal in Jackson. A 150-acre project, proposed by Cardinale Enterprises in June, sits on Monmouth Road adjacent to Six Flags Great Adventure.
“We’re already fighting against the competing 135-acre Hotel and Sports Dome in Jackson that would destroy the Pinelands, now we have to fight against Murphy’s Xanadu Project in the Pines! The Pinelands has endangered species, C1 streams and important ecosystems that must be protected. Murphy should get a red card for prosing this damaging complex. This project will destroy even more important Pinelands habitat and cause pollution in our waterways,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We have been fighting to protect the Pinelands against development for over 40 years and we will keep on fighting to protect it!"
On December 3, 2018, at the Jackson Municipal Building, 95 West Veterans Highway, Jackson, NJ, the Township of Jackson Planning Board will hold a review hearing for the application of Trophy Park, Inc., at which time and place all interested parties will be given an opportunity to be heard. Said meeting will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the main meeting room of the Township Municipal Complex.
source New Jersey Sierra Club