County Planning Parks and Visitors Center for Lake Shenandoah

by Shmuel Binder. Manasquan resevoir has long been a Lakewood favorite for those quick close day trips that keep the younger kids busy during bein hazmanim and the summer season.

It looks like, Lakewood has more to look forward to though as a new attraction is in the works. The County is appropriating $2.3 million to park upgrades around the county. A portion of that money will transform the bait and tackle shop at Lake Shenandoah into a visitor’s center. Mike Mangum, Director of the County Parks and Recreation Department, tells The Lakewood Scoop that architects are now at work designing the project. “The plan is to include some nature related exhibits and programs in teh building when we are finished,” he explains.

The structure has been through a few incarnations as a bait and tackle, canoe and boat rental, and most recently, a concession shop. However the previous owner of that business decided to retire and the County had no additional bidders to take over the use of the structure. “We realized it would better serve the public to go in a different direction” Mangum says, of the decision to take use of the structure back and use it for County provided services.

Planned programs for the new visitor center could include: historical informational programs about the parks, and educational programing to explain how the local water system works. “The public may take great interest in learning about the Metedencock River or other waterways which support the water supply to Brick, Lakewood, and effect surrounding areas as well,” Mangum adds.

Other portions of the money under this ordinance will go toward long term maintenance needs for the Cox House in Barnegat, and repairs of the Mantaloking fishing pier.

While the summer season is upon us, it’ll be a while before the new attraction comes to fruition. Final plans should be finished in about a month, but the project then heads out to bid and construction will commence following that. Until then County residents can continue to enjoy the attractions of our parks system as it is with some new perhaps to look forward to next summer.

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