Wednesday, May 21, 2008

NEW JERSEY NEWS: Arboretum Considers $142000 Deer Fence

Erecting a deer fence completely around the 22-acre Shaw Arboretum at Holmdel Park may not be neighbor-friendly or cost-efficient, members of the Monmouth County Board of Recreation Commissioners said at their meeting at Tatum Park on Monday night.

The project will cost at least $142,000 based on bids that have been received, but the board is not expected to take action until its June 9 meeting.

The proposal was spurred by increasing amounts of damage caused by deer to expensive specimen trees donated to the arboretum local arborists, said Bruce A. Gollnick, assistant director of the parks.

"We're not interested in putting up fences. We don't like it," Gollnick said. "Fences cost money, they cause problems, they need repairs."

A handful of residents have communicated concerns about the placement of a 10-foot-high fence near their properties, though board Chairman Edward Loud said he believes that issue has been exaggerated.

"If I wasn't looking for it, I wouldn't see it," Loud said of the proposed fence.

But other commissioners pushed for more study of the matter.

"Is it necessary to encapsulate the entire area and spend that kind of money?" Commissioner N. Britt Raynor asked, while fellow board member Michael G. Harmon said such fences tend to corral creatures — not only deer — that enter the fenced property at gate openings but can't escape.

"I'm not sure that fencing in 22 acres is not overreaching," Harmon said. "I also think we do what we can to be good neighbors. I don't think somebody who lives right next to the property should need to get in their car and drive all the way around to an entry point. We also push the deer onto nearby properties if we use the fence."

The $142,000 price was the lower of two bids opened last Friday. It was submitted by Accent Fence Inc. of Egg Harbor City; the other bid was a $202,000 offer from National Fence Systems Inc. of Woodbridge.

The fence would stretch about 1,650 feet. The park system in 2003 spent more than $180,000 to fence the 52-acre Deep Cut Gardens in Middletown.

The arboretum is named for David C. Shaw, former superintendent of the Shade Tree Commission. According to the Monmouth County government Web site, the arboretum was started in 1963 with plantings of crab apples, cherries and hollies, and the area now contains nearly 3,000 trees and shrubs.

Park system officials said future donations of materials could be withheld if steps aren't taken to protect the existing stock.


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