Lakewood Mayor Ray Coles responds to your ‘Ask The Mayor’ questions: Lakewood parks

The following is an ‘Ask The Mayor’ question submitted to TLS, and the Mayor’s response. Email your questions for the Mayor to [email protected].


​Hi Mr Mayor,

Thank you for your time.

Recently, I’ve been traveling to the surrounding towns to use their parks. It’s astounding to see the difference between the parks in Lakewood and the parks in the neighboring towns!

We’ve gone to the parks in Toms River last week and the play structures are updated and much safer. They include loads of ramps, slides, and are geared to literally all ages. And most significantly, instead of horrible wood chips, they use poured rubberbond, which makes for a much safer play area. I don’t think there are more than 4 public parks in all of Lakewood. They are outdated, unsafe for younger toddlers, and to be quite honest – ugly. They are not kept up well and look dated.

In such a growing town, investing in proper parks will give us proud Lakewood residents reasons to love our town. It almost seems like Lakewood has given up on retaining its country-like living. I know there’s red tape, blah blah blah, but wh can’t the township take some of the land it owns, and instead of developing – build a beautiful scenic park that we can all benefit from!

Please explain why this is not a priority for a town with so so so many children?

Response from Mayor Coles:

Good afternoon,

I agree with you that we need more parks. We are currently working on developing a large municipal park on the west side of town in the Prospect Ave Massachusetts Ave. We are always looking for areas that we can fill in smaller “pocket” type parks in existing neighborhoods.

It is true that many of our parks are older. We recognized this a couple of years ago and our Public Works Dept. is currently in the midst of updating much of the playground equipment around town. Please reach out to me with some specifics and I will have them looking into right away.

There are many more than 4 parks available for our residents. We have smaller parks located in neighborhoods as well as the larger municipal parks. Our residents can enjoy Canterbury Park, Dzio Park, Hearthstone Park, The Rev Clayton Park, Sunset Ave Park, Frank Bartolf Park & sports Complex, the North & South Beach playgrounds around Lake Carisaljo, The walking path around the Lake, the jewel of our park system, Pine Park and the John Patrick Sports Complex, which will soon be home to a new state of the art Community Center. Residents also have access to the playgrounds near Oak & Spruce Street Schools. Finally there are our 2 County Parks, Ocean County Park & Lake Shenandoah.

We are also in the process of preserving additional lands to remain in their natural state. We have already preserved a couple hundred acres along Shorrock St, and there is the Crystal Lake Preserve. We will be preserving acreage on Massachusetts Ave and a good deal of the old Public Works Complex will be put into preservation. Finally as we move along with the Smart Growth Plan in conjunction with the state, there will be a great deal more land put into permanent preservation throughout the town. The county has also chipped in, preserving part of the Dwulet Farm and some of the Theibault Property along Ridge & New Hampshire Ave.

I have to disagree with you about the rubber vs wood chips. The chips are natural and biodegradable. As they naturally get spread around the beds they are put in they will break down and return to the soil. The Rubber Chips are forever.

Thanks for reaching out.



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  1. i just have 1 ? if we relay care about the parks why is the park on 4th and Princeton ave in such bad shape and slated to come down and changed to a parking lot

  2. I walk the Lake Carasaljo path. In my opinion, it is not a “jewel of a path.”
    The path is filled with litter,as well as the lake. I hike numerous parks in Monmouth County & other areas. There is no littering. Possibly, no litter
    signs & foot patrol with a warning to the polluter.

  3. Hearthstone Park was old, but fully functional and enjoyable for a large age range of children. Unfortunately, it has been torn down and replaced with a smaller play structure. In our opinion, the new play structure is quite dangerous for small children, and it’s missing many of the fun activities that the old one had. We have also been waiting too long for the construction to be completed. There is no mulch or rubber padding put down yet and this project has started months ago! We are also still waiting for our wonderful swings for the little ones to be put in. What is taking so long and why did they ruin a good playground??

  4. For those of you complaining about litter, carry a bag and contribute to the solution. As to parks. Lakewood has a horrid tax base, and no industry to support it. I’m sure the residents aren’t willing to pay more in property taxes in order to have their parks quickly upgraded.

  5. wood chips!
    the rubber smells bad and is unnatural and annoying
    when it turns up in my washing machine.
    you dont get splinters from wood chips
    that’s just silly

  6. Rubber padding is the way to go! Look at the parks in surrounding towns and you will see the nicest ones are the ones with the rubber padding. No splintery or painful wood chips to fall on and no rubber pieces to come home in cuffs, pockets, or shoes. The rubber padding provides the best protection and the least mess.

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