By Paul Goldfinger
On Wednesday, Mr. Wayne Rode, Director of the Neptune Township Public Works Department, announced that he will see to it that the Firemen’s Park gazebo, which had been destroyed by vandals this past Sunday, will be replaced.
Mr. Rode had received a call last Sunday morning from the police regarding the trashing of the gazebo. He immediately dispatched one of his men, George Reid, to go to the Grove and inspect the wreckage. Mr. Reid determined that the gazebo could not be salvaged and was unsafe. Workers were called in on overtime and quickly removed the debris to a land fill.
Mr. Rode was not a member of the department when the gazebo was installed by public works. He checked with some of his department veterans and learned that Home Depot had “reached out to the township and offered it.” There is no official file on this in Mr. Rode’s office. No one could verify the rumor that the gazebo had been placed in honor of someone’s memory. There was no plaque.
Mr. Rode was especially upset that this destruction was at the expense of the school kids who assemble at the corner of Main Avenue and New Jersey Avenue to wait for the bus with their parents. He said, “That got me upset the most.” The gazebo had offered protection from rain and snow as well as a place where the children could huddle together from the cold. Mr. Rode vowed that “one way or another, it will be replaced.”
Currently Mr. Rode is conferring with township officials regarding how to finance a replacement, including making an insurance claim. He said, “I’m optimistic that we can make it happen.”