County freeholders join Lacey rail trail talk

Published in the Asbury Park Press 2/27/03

LACEY -- When Ocean County Freeholder Director John C. Bartlett Jr. and Freeholder James F. Lacey come to the Township Committee meeting tonight to discuss the proposal for a 14-mile rail trail from Barnegat to South Toms River, their efforts will be part salesmanship, part politics.

Bartlett emphasized that the freeholders are not coming to the meeting to dictate a course of action.
"The railroad right of way is owned by Lacey Township," Bartlett said. "And what they do with it is their business. The county would like them to dedicate a portion of it, or the entire -- we would be happy with the entire trail. But it is not our business to tell them what to do. That is a local decision." About 3 miles of the right of way is in the township.

In a roller coaster ride of a meeting on Feb. 13, the committee voted three times on what to do with the sandy, wooded path that was the Central Railroad of New Jersey line in the 19th century. The rail line hasn't been used in more than 50 years. The committee's final decision at the Feb. 13th meeting was to keep al