Berkeley Shores Homeowners Civic Association President Fred Bekarian wanted to spruce up the entrance to this Bayville waterfront community close to Barnegat Bay.
"All we had was a beaten-up bush and a tree," he said.
So he turned to association member Ken Gerb and asked him to come up with a more nautical approach for the center island on Veeder Lane, which many consider the gateway to Berkeley Shores.
"I said, 'Come up with an idea for the island,' " Bekarian said during a break under sunny skies yesterday.
He got one.
"This is my thinking," Gerb said. "This is the gateway to Berkeley Shores. Berkeley Shores is a waterfront community. What better way to say waterfront than with a waterfront design?"
Bekarian, Gerb, Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr., Township Council President James J. Byrnes, association members, public works and recreation department employees spent most of their Saturday working on the project.
They cut and pounded decorative pilings into the sand. Public works employees bulldozed soil onto a section to make space for roses, lilies and grasses. Recreation department employees cut the pilings into different lengths.
The pilings were donated by Thomas Wright, who owns the Cedar Creek Marina.
"They were pieces of pilings from when he did his dockhouse," Bekarian said. "He even came and delivered them."
A battered 16-foot rowboat with peeling royal blue paint from Trixie's Marina - once a birthday gift to Byrnes - now sits in the center.
"You gonna angle the boat a little?" Byrnes asked Gerb.
"I hadn't planned to," Gerb replied.
Bekarian and Gerb eventually hope to have a decorative lighthouse that lights up placed on the 70-by-30-foot island, along with the township flag and Berkeley shores flag.
More sand will be also be trucked in, Gerb said.
"It's going to look like sand dunes," he said. "It's going to look like you are at the shore."
Work on the project will continue into next week and next weekend. The total cost will run between $2,500 and $3,000, Bekarian said.
"It's been excellent cooperation and support we got from the town and the mayor and council," he said.