ORTLEY BEACH - Some residents in Ortley Beach say that they are tired of looking at an empty lot in their community and want a public park to be built in the space.

People who want the park picketed in front of the Ocean County Utilities Authority Thursday. The OCUA owns the land.

“This is the beginning until we come to reality and have them turn over some of the property,” says protester Mike Wymbs.

Residents have been asking for the OCUA to turn over some of the property and build a park for about 10 years.

“As the permanent residents increase we need something people can use year round,” says Ortley Beach resident Paul Jeffrey.

The OCUA says that there is currently no plans to build a park. They say they bought the land, use it, lease it, and sometimes need it for emergencies. They say that it is industrial land.

“I can’t make it any plainer to you after 10 years,” says OCUA Chairman John Parker. “We cannot let that property go.”

Residents say that since their taxes fund the authority, the land belongs to everyone. They stress that the authority can keep the land and use it when it is needed, but want a park built as well.

The OCAU tells News 12 New Jersey that they will take the request for a park under advisement, but did not set a meeting for the issue.

Supporters of the park say that they are ready to show up to the OCUA’s next public meeting to keep up the pressure.