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Aquatics Center Supporters Want to Reverse Sewer Decision

Online petition drive focused on Berkeley Heights decision blocking connection.

Hoping to reinvigorate the stalled application for a new center on Warren's Emerson Lane, more than 800 people have signed on to an online effort in support of the .

The effort has been directed at Berkeley Heights Mayor Joseph Bruno and the Town Council, which , which was . The center's application in still pending at the Planning Board.

BAC has regrouped after the Berkeley Heights vote, launching the Back the BAC website, which includes information about the center and an advocacy link that generates emails to the Berkeley Heights council expressing the sender's support for the project. 

According to a statement issued by the center, "hundreds of site visitors from Berkeley Heights and throughout New Jersey sent e-mails of support for the project" within hours of its launch. 

“I knew that we had a lot of supporters for the project, but even I wasn’t expecting the number of e-mails of support that we generated,” Jim Wood, founder and head of the BAC, said. “I’m both ecstatic and moved by the show of community support.  We hope that this helps in our effort to develop a state-of-the-art facility that will provide significantly greater opportunities for BAC’s current and future swimmers as well as the community-at-large.”

The center is touting its history in the community, and notes the success of its swim teams, which boast several members participating in the U.S. Olympic swim team tryouts (Jillian Altenburger, 22 of Mendham; Lauren Ross, 20 of Westfield; and Paul Nolle, 20, of Murray Hill).  

The press release notes the BAC's sewer discharge need is 4,920 gallons of flow per day, a fraction of the township's 1.4 million gallons per day capacity. 

"While the WTSA and Berkeley Heights have granted BAC concept and engineering approvals for the necessary sewer connections, Berkeley Heights belatedly refused to permit the connections on the purported grounds that the Township wants to preserve its excess capacity," the release said. "However, these concerns simply do not ring true as BAC’s request constitutes only about 0.3% of Berkeley Heights’ available sewer capacity."

bigwill August 30, 2012 at 09:43 PM
No one is against the Aquatic Center, just it's location in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The Berkeley Aquatic Center had many other locations it could have purchased and already have been in construction. Those other locations were more suitable to a commercial venture such as BAC. They need to find a new location.
CB April 12, 2013 at 11:41 PM
It is not in a residential area but next to a residential area in land that is approved for a commercial recreation facility that it is. The land is located directly off of route 78 with the only access to the facility from Hillcrest. Anyone with common sense would use route 78 and Hillcrest as the only roads to get to the facility. Go to BacktheBAC.org to get the true facts regarding the project so that you can make an educated decision at the vote on May 7th.

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