The Vernon Township Council on June 13 in a surprise move approved naming the park that will be home to the township’s bicycle pump track for the township’s youth. The council voted 3-2 to name the new park and pump track, the “Vernon Township Youth Memorial Park and Pump Track.”
“I think the issue is very clear that it’s a facility that’s going to be called something, and it needs a name,” Council President Patrick Rizzuto said. “I thought long and hard about this, and I think that dedicating this particular amenity to the youth of our township who will be, perhaps, using it more than anybody else.”
Councilmen Harry Shortway and Mike Furrey voted against it.
The move also came as a surprise to a group of people who came to the meeting asking the park to be named in honor of Jason Rinker, who died in a motorcycle accident on Jan. 12, 2021.
According to his mother, Sally Rinker, the pump track was his idea and he had offered to build it for free. Jason Rinker operated a bike shop, Ridetopia, in Vernon for 15 years.
He was a longtime biker who reportedly won every downhill race he entered.
“Many feel his memory should be attached to that pump track,” Sally Rinker said.
The pump track park is located on Black Creek Drive, the ownership of which has recently been called into question.
Mayor Howard Burrell said it may be impossible to find a simple transfer document that says the township owns Black Creek Drive, but he found municipal resolutions and communications in which the township repeatedly declared ownership of Black Creek Drive. He said the township also has taken actions – snow plowing, purchasing 11 acres of land along the road, and establishing a DPW temporary storage facility there. One of the township’s pump stations for the sewer system is also on Black Creek Drive.
Burrell also confirmed that the town received a violation notice from the Upper Delaware Conservation District on the pump track site. He said the combination of winter weather and recent hard rains resulted in some portions of the silt fence to need repair or replacement, and unless construction would resume soon, the soil could be temporarily stabilized by planting grass.
Construction was expected to resume last week, and Burrell said repairs would be made to the silt fence.
Burrell denied reports that the town received a violation from the Conservation District on the adjacent town center walking and biking trail.
“The inspector advised that what he observed was what he expected at an active construction site after the types of heavy rains that have been experienced in this area over the past two weeks,” Burrell said.
He also denied reports that the township was in violation of Department of Environmental Protection laws by installing drainage pipes to divert underground streams.
“These drainage pipes are being installed to address the eroded ditches that have occurred over the years from stormwater runoff from the area between the Town Center Walking & Biking Trail and Route 94,” Burrell said. “And no DEP approval is required for installing drainage pipes for this purpose.”