Archive for November 2010

Town comes together to build Capik pavilion


Staff Writer

JOHN DUNPHY A 24-by-24-foot pavilion is nearly complete at the entrance of the Julian L. Capik Nature Preserve, Bordentown Avenue, Sayreville, after volunteers assembled the majority of the project Sunday.JOHN DUNPHY A 24-by-24-foot pavilion is nearly complete at the entrance of the Julian L. Capik Nature Preserve, Bordentown Avenue, Sayreville, after volunteers assembled the majority of the project Sunday. SAYREVILLE — So, you want to meet some friends at the Julian L. Capik Nature Preserve.

But where will you tell them to meet you? By a tree? Which one?

Just a few months ago, this might have been a typical problem for friends looking to meet for an afternoon of hiking or biking the trails of the 471-acre Bordentown Avenue destination. Though cleanup efforts had been under way for over a year to revitalize the once unkempt preserve, there wasn’t much by way of landmarks for friends to hook up prior to heading in.

That’s changing. In ongoing efforts by the borough to improve the preserve, a 40-space parking lot was built recently at its entrance, trails have been cleared, and thousands of trees have been planted.

The most recent improvement should also make meeting up and relaxing with friends easier. Volunteers including borough officials, firefighters and others came out Sunday to help build a covered 24-by-24-foot pavilion near the preserve’s entrance. The pavilion, according to borough Business Administrator Jeffry Bertrand, will provide “shelter, rest and a meeting place for hikers and other park patrons.”

The entire project has been funded through a $5,000 donation from the Sayreville-Old Bridge Rotary Club and is receiving help from Robert Downey General Contractors, Washington Road.

Bob Downey, owner of the construction company, said that as a member of the borough’s environmental commission he had been made aware of the restoration work being done at the preserve.

“I grew up in Sayreville,” he said. “I knew they wanted to do the project, so I decided to help.”

All of Downey’s manpower and equipment used for the project was at no cost to the borough, Bertrand said. For a private customer interested in having a similar pavilion built, the total cost would range from $20,000 to $25,000, Downey said.

Nearly a dozen volunteer firefighters from the Melrose Firehouse were also on hand Sunday to help muscle the pavilion into place. A&L Provisions, a local food services provider on Bordentown Avenue, donated hot dogs and hamburgers for the workers. Bertrand, who also helped put together the structure, brought soda and water.

“You can really liken it to an old-fashioned barn-raising,” he said. “The whole town is putting this together for the benefit of the community.”

Councilman Stanley Drwal said the pavilion is just one more piece in making the preserve a place for people to enjoy nature in the borough.

“It’s going to make it look more like a park and not an industrial area,” he said.

“That will draw more people that want to use it as a park and deter those who think of it as something other than a nature preserve.”

Touch-ups to the structure, such as adding shingles to the roof, still need to be done, but the near completion of the pavilion comes just in time for a special field day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, when the public can view the ongoing improvements at Capik.

Bertrand said that to have so many people give up their Sunday to build something for the people of Sayreville was a real testament to the borough’s character.

“We were exhausted by the end of the day, but we really had a lot of fun,” he added.

Drwal said the preserve’s new unofficial meeting place is another example of what can be done through volunteerism and hard work.

“Anytime you can get something done through volunteer work and donations, I don’t think you can beat that,” he said. “When you have something good in town, it’s going to draw a lot of good people.”

Trio of entrepreneurs get leadership awards

Chamber of Commerce cites 3 for contributions to their communities
BY SUE M. MORGAN Staff Writer

Staff Writer

OLD BRIDGE — Three civic-minded entrepreneurs have been recognized for their successes and their contributions to the communities they serve.

Robert Downey, a general contractor, Sayreville; Neil Kerman, owner and operator of Summer Hill Nursing Rehabilitation Center, Old Bridge; and Richard Lerner, owner of Allcare Medical, which has four locations, including South Amboy and Old Bridge, were named the 2004 Business Leaders of the Year by the Old Bridge-Sayreville-South Amboy Chamber of Commerce during its Oct. 27 dinner, held at the Grand Marquis, here.

An honoree from each of the three municipalities served by the chamber are chosen annually from a group of nominations submitted by organization members, according to the chamber.

Honorees are selected based upon how much they give back to the municipalities where they operate their businesses, how they function cooperatively with other entrepreneurs in those communities, and how they relate to and manage their employees, said Beverly Messinger, a member of the chamber’s board of trustees.

Altogether, about 200 business owners, local dignitaries, and guests attended the 12th annual event. The membership of the chamber includes more than 150 businesses within Old Bridge, Sayreville and South Amboy.

“The chamber itself is growing,” said Messinger, of South River-based Digit Payroll Corp. “We’re always looking for new members.”

Each honoree received a plaque from the chamber and a proclamation from the governing body of the municipality where they work. Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski (D-19), Sayreville Mayor Kennedy O’Brien, and Old Bridge Mayor Jim Phillips recognized the honorees from their towns.

Downey, a Sayreville native, is president of Robert Downey General Contractor, which specializing in building new homes and additions.

A 1984 graduate of Sayreville War Memorial High School, Downey worked in the construction industry with his father on weekends and during the summer from the time he was a young teen.

Home-building is a “creative process,” Downey said in a chamber press release.

“I enjoy going from design on paper to the finished product — from old to new — helping people achieve their dreams and needs,” he said.

Downey, a member of Sayreville’s Environmental Commission, recently built his company’s new office building at 515 Washington Road. He expects to redevelop other properties he owns in the borough as well, according to the press release.

Kerman, a New York City resident, employs more than 140 people at Summer Hill, located on Old Matawan Road in Old Bridge. Some of those employees have been on the home’s payroll for more than 25 of the 32 years that Kerman has owned and operated the facility, according to the press release.

Summer Hill is known for its free health care screenings and community involvement. Kerman lectures and consults throughout the country on various nursing home and rehabilitation topics.

Kerman, a weekly newspaper columnist for The Jewish State, is renowned for designing individualized activity and recreation programs to benefit the elderly, according to the chamber.

Kerman and his wife, Barbara, a social worker, are involved in numerous charities and community organizations as well.

Lerner, of Edison, bought Allcare Medical, a home medical equipment company based in Old Bridge, in 1995, according to the press release.

The company now provides home medical equipment and supplies to patients residing throughout New Jersey and in the Philadelphia area.

Under Lerner’s ownership, the payroll has grown from 10 employees to 110 employees among the four locations, according to the chamber.

Allcare has provided financial support to not-for-profit organizations, area hospitals and nursing homes and other health care-related businesses, according to the chamber.

The son of a Union-based pharmacist, Lerner is a graduate of Cook College, part of Rutgers University in New Brunswick.