Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. described plans to develop a new synthetic surface Little League baseball/softball field in Essex County Ivy Hill Park in Newark on Wednesday, May 26th. This is the second improvement project currently underway to modernize park facilities so they fulfill the changing needs of the community.

"Our historic Essex County Park System is a valuable resource for providing recreation opportunities for our young people. When the Ivy Hill Park Neighborhood Association requested more space because of their growing enrollment, we realized the recreation complex needed to be upgraded to meet the demand for fields," DiVincenzo said. "Installing a second synthetic surface field will help the Ivy Hill Neighborhood Association continue in its mission to improve the quality of life in the community. We are proud to have them as our partner in Ivy Hill Park," he added.

Two natural grass surface baseball/softball fields were updated in 2005 with new turf, fencing and benches. The expansion of the Ivy Hill Little League and use from other community organizations has caused wear and tear on the fields. To maximize use and provide a safe field where children can play, one of the natural turf fields will be redeveloped with a synthetic grass surface, and lighting for night play and an electronic scoreboard will be installed. In addition, pathways will be improved, landscaping in the park will be enhanced, ornamental and shade trees will be planted, and new benches and trash receptacles will be installed.

"I want to thank Joe DiVincenzo for listening to the community and doing what was needed to make this a beautiful park," Freeholder Rufus Johnson said. "I didn't expect things to move so quickly. I can't wait to see this finished," he added.

"It's always a pleasure to see things getting done that will benefit our constituents," Assemblywoman Mila Jasey said. "These improvements are well deserved and this park will be well utilized," she noted.

"We are all supportive of the County Executive and his initiatives to improve our parks," Freeholder and Newark Councilman Donald Payne, Jr. said.

"When the County upgraded the recreation facilities in the park several years ago, our Little League grew from one team to 10 teams and it helped us establish a Pop Warner football and basketball program," said Lividia Johnson of the Ivy Hill Neighborhood Association. "We appreciate the work being done because it will help the community make greater use of the park. Thank you to the County Executive, the Freeholders and the NJ Green Acres program for supporting our efforts to strengthen our community," she added.

French & Parello Associates from Wall designed the improvements as part of an existing $117,000 contract. Tec-Con from East Orange was awarded a competitively bid contract for $724,386 to perform the construction work. The Essex County Department of Public Works will monitor the project to ensure delays are avoided. The project is being funded through the Essex County Capital Budget.

Another project already underway in Essex County Ivy Hill Park will rehabilitate two park buildings and enhance landscaping in the eastern section of the park near Mount Vernon Place. Two park buildings are being completely renovated and updated with new restroom facilities. In addition, landscaping and walking paths around the park entrances on Mount Vernon Place will be beautified to complement the garden dedicated to the four students who were attacked at Mount Vernon School in 2007. The promenade linking the park buildings to the garden will be reconstructed with decorative stamped pavers, lattice work with ivy, new benches and a kiosk to hold information highlighting the different sections of the park.