I have just finished reading your story of Dec. 4, "Home Depot Planned for Vacant Food-town," and I am very angry about it. There are too many home improvement stores on a 1-mile stretch of road already in this area. There is no need for another one.
As a resident of Brick, I can tell you that there has been at least one area that has been totally overlooked around here. We have many of every kind of business: drugstores, groceries, discount stores, sports stores, electronic stores. We have every kind of doctor, hospital, medical facility and every other kind of place you can think of. We have many baseball fields, soccer fields, football fields, parks, even a local bowling alley. What we don’t have enough of, however, is ice rinks.
Brick has four hockey teams, varsity and junior varsity, for both Brick and Brick Memorial. Add to that the Brick Hockey Club, the recreation leagues sponsored by the Ocean Ice Palace, the clinics for skating held there year-round, the hockey summer leagues, summer hockey camp, practices and games for all aforementioned teams, and the other teams that use our rink as a local rink, not to mention very scarce open-skate time and birthday parties on ice, and you can start to get the picture.
We have kids practicing during the wee hours of the morning, and I am frequently at the rink until midnight because of a hockey game that doesn’t start until after 10 p.m. On open skating nights, the rink is so packed you can hardly skate. The parking lot is so crowded due to the overflow from the gym next door, you have a hard time finding parking.
I think it is unfair to the children of Brick that there are so many other sports fields and only one hockey rink. Brick has the best hockey programs going just about anywhere in New Jersey. This will not continue to be the case for long since Red Bank now has a two-rink ice arena. Middletown North and South, as well as Rumson-Fair Haven, now have hockey teams that will get the ice time and training they need to compete, while the Brick Memorial junior varsity will get a few minutes of the varsity ice time a week to practice, due to the inability of the rink to have enough time to schedule everyone’s practices, and the junior varsity team will be lucky to get six games for the season.
These are our future varsity players. We cannot compete with other teams without practice or enough ice time. I know there were plans to build a twin ice rink in Brick in the past, but it never materialized. Why? When do these athletes, who work so hard off the ice to stay in shape because they don’t get enough ice time to practice on ice, get their fair share of ice?
Since we can support so many football fields, baseball fields and soccer fields, can’t we have at least two ice rinks in this town?
I urge all residents of Brick to contact the mayor’s office and tell them no to the Home Depot proposal. Ask why we can’t have another ice rink there instead. It won’t add to the congestion here, it will reduce some of it on Chambers Bridge Road, and it will be much more tolerable next to St. Thomas Christian Academy, since it will be quiet all day while school is in session, unlike Home Depot, which will probably open at 6 a.m. Please tell the mayor, enough is enough.
If having a Home Depot a half-mile closer is really going to help traffic, then so be it, but I can’t see it. It will probably make traffic worse, when people from Belmar, Point Pleasant, Lakewood and Howell start coming to this Home Depot.
Please help our kids; they need another ice rink before we need another Home Depot. Wall Township has at least two ice rinks, and they are both doing very well.