The west side of Lake Lenape Park in the Pinelands of Atlantic County is about to get a major refit, with Atlantic County and the Atlantic County Improvement Authority coming together to build a bathhouse and extend the number of camping sites along the water’s edge.
The nearly 2,000 acre park is in the pinelands, which means there are additional hurdles to build or develop the area. The only bathroom at the site is at the boathouse at the southern end to the park and visitors to the 18-site campground in the northern section of the park rely on port-a-potties. Still, the $17-a-night sites are in demand throughout the April-November season, and the county’s parks department has been looking to extend camping options for some time.
In fact, a plan to extend sewer, water and electricity lines out to the campsite area in the north of the park was part of plans formed two decades ago, said Glen Mawby, director of facilities management for the county. The county had the necessary permits for that work, but it needed to get additional sign-off from state agency the Pinelands Commission in order to build a bathhouse by the campground, which will include showers and bathrooms.
Along with the bathhouse, the county plans to add a further 16 campsites and build Adirondack-style lean-tos on some of the sites to provide additional weather protection. “From our discussions with our parks division, the (camp) sites that they have now are full during the whole season, and they wanted to increase the capacity so they could accommodate more,” said Mawby.
Construction company Jersey Construction submitted the lowest bid – $807,180 – for the work to extend the utility lines, said John Lamey, Atlantic County Improvement Authority. A second contract for the bathhouse construction and lean-tos will be put out to bid in the next month, Mawby said.
“The reason we’re doing it is because of the heavy demand on the site now and the fact that there’s no bathroom facilities close to the campsite,” Mawby said, noting that county residents as well as outside visitors use the park.