Town comes together to build Capik pavilion

BY JOHN DUNPHY Staff Writer

BY JOHN DUNPHY
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.”

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