Tuskegee Airmen Park
Located at the end of Richard Drive, a.k.a. Tuskegee Airmen Drive, just past the Manchester Middle School on Route 571 is the first township park to be dedicated to a select group of veterans. What started out as the renovation of the Richard Estates Playground in 2004 became Tuskegee Airmen Park, honoring a black fighter unit in the Army Air Corps that served with much merit during World War II. The park contains two basketball courts, three playground pieces for all age groups & spring-mounted airplanes, a picnic area, a stamped-concrete entryway, a stone monument and other amenities, with the park surrounded by post and rail fencing. Street parking is available adjacent to the park.
POW-MIA Memorial Park
Formerly referred to as the Johnson Avenue Field, POW-MIA Memorial Park was constructed in 2006, and is located on Johnson Avenue, one block from Route 571 at the end of Nicoletti Road. The Township decided to name the park POW-MIA Memorial Park to honor Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action from all wars, and to serve as a standing tribute to those men and women who never returned home after honorably serving their country. The park includes a fenced-in softball field with bleachers & dugouts, a basketball court, a new playground, a picnic area, a stamped-concrete reflection area with a painted stone monument, and other site amenities. A parking lot is available on-site.
Pop Warner Football Complex
What was once a densely-wooded 40-acre parcel is the home of the Hawks, the Township’s youth football league and cheerleading squads. The facility is presently comprised of a full-size football field and a practice field. The complex also includes a concession stand and restroom building, an impressive playground for children of all ages, a 100-space parking lot. Also on the site is a Cheer Barn for indoor cheer practice. Construction of the complex was completed in 2002.
Pine Lake Park & Playground
At the shoreline of Pine Lake and adjacent to Lake Drive is Pine Lake Park & Playground, home of the Splashpad, which is a water spray park. Also located in the park is an extensive playground area comprised of climbers, slides and swings for all ages. There are two covered picnic areas with a restroom building nearby. From the beach area there is a pathway that traverses the shoreline and leads across the top of the dam and into the Pike Lake Park residential community. The lake accommodates boating; canoes and kayaks can often be seen paddling across the serene vista. Off street parking is provided by a paved parking area and a sandy lot on the north end of the beach.
6th Avenue Park
In the midst of the Pine Lake Park residential community, at the the intersection of 6th Avenue with Hannibal Street is 6th Avenue Park, a modest but often used location that provides several recreational uses. There are two basketball courts, two tennis courts and a sand volleyball court. There also is a playground with swings and climbers that accommodate toddlers and older children. There is a paved area for street hockey and another for roller skating. An on-site parking lot is also at this location.
Grand Army Memorial Park
Though small in size, this 100 foot square park stands tall in its purpose: “To Perpetuate the Memory of the Grand Army of the Republic.” While not a recreation facility, Grand Army Memorial Park is both a serene and historical setting where one can just enjoy the day sitting on a bench. At this site there is a 20-foot tall masonry monument to the Grand Army; Union soldiers from the Civil War. In the center of the park are two cannons from the Civil War dated 1862. This park serves as one the sites for the Township’s Memorial Day ceremony.
Manchester Township Soccer Complex
Located off Colonial Drive South just below Route 37 is the home of the Manchester/Lakehurst Soccer Association. The Manchester Township Soccer Complex is equipped with two full-size soccer fields and an array of smaller practice fields that run parallel to the railroad tracks. Parking and restroom facilities are provided on-site. At the east end of the complex is the Summit Park Playground with two basketball courts and two tennis courts. There are several pieces of playground equipment in this area, as well as its own parking lot. Renovations to the playground are planned for the near future.
Located in downtown Whiting, this park was constructed back in the early 1930s. In 1945 it was named after local resident and soldier Raymond Bowker who was killed in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. In 1998 Bowker Field was renovated with additional facilities added. At this location there are two softball fields. There is a tennis court and a basketball court at the rear of the complex. Also in this area there is a bocce ball court and a large playground area with picnic tables. Off-street parking is provided.
Harry Wright Lake
Located in the Whiting area is the Township’s only recreational swimming facility. Harry Wright Lake was constructed approximately 60 years ago by its namesake and other Township workers. Set within a heavily wooded area are facilities and amenities that make this park an ideal place to spend a summer day. There are bathing beaches and restrooms on each side of the lake. On the low side there is a playground area for children, horseshoe pits for adults, a concession stand and a band shell and stage where the Township’s “Summer Concert Series” is held. On the high side of the lake, which hosts the Summer Camp Program, there is a floating dock in the water, sand volleyball courts and a large covered pavilion. There are several parking lots on both sides of the lake.
World War II Veterans Memorial Park
On the site of what once was the Lake Road ball field, is the crown jewel of Manchester’s park system—World War II Veterans Memorial Park. The original park, which was 10 acres, was expanded and reconstructed in 2006 and now encompasses 30 acres. The centerpiece of the park is a monument to the Veterans of the Second World War consisting of a bronze statue of a WW2 infantryman, affectionately referred to as the “Grunt,” and seven granite walls dedicated to each branch of the service. A circular stamped concrete area adorned with flagpoles provides benches for people to sit and appreciate this area of dedication and reflection. Within the wooded area of the park is a maze of walking trails and a playground with pieces resembling WW2 military equipment. Restored vehicles and equipment from the war are on display along the pathways. Between the paths is the area which will become the “Garden of Honor” with an impressive steel gazebo at its center to be installed this year. The park also includes a softball field, a soccer field, tennis and basketball courts, a picnic area and a second playground. There is also a “Flag Garden” at the park’s entrance off Lake Road. There is plenty of on-site parking. This park will remain a “work in progress” for many years to come.