NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The borough of New Providence is in the beginning stages of renovating each of the town’s recreational facilities.
The first phase of a multi-year upgrade began on Aug. 1, when Hillview Park, home to the New Providence youth soccer and PAL baseball organizations, was closed to begin refurbishment.
Two brand-new turf baseball infields with sideline safety fencing, along with a new grass outfield and irrigational upgrades, are being installed at the park.
Construction is expected to be completed in the next few weeks, however the park will not officially reopen until the Spring to give the natural grass time to mature
“The project is on schedule and on budget,” Borough Councilman Jim Madden said. “The work should be complete during mid-October. The field will not be open until the spring. The condition of the grass is the most remarkable improvement. The borough has committed to actively maintaining the grass once the implementation is complete.”
Madden said this is only the beginning stages of a complete site by site renovation of the Borough’s active and passive recreation areas.
“The Borough Council has a Capital Improvement Committee which is led by Councilman Bob Robinson and includes Councilman Rob Munoz, and Borough Administrator, Doug Marvin,” Madden said. “We are a very effective committee and we work very well together. We’ve all been able to contribute our ideas to the targeted projects which will result in thorough approaches and sound plans. Our goal is to do one renovation project a year and work within our financial constraints while trying to make the most improvement possible.”
While he sees the upgrades as essential projects to a growing community, Madden said there are conflicts that must be resolved before starting a project of this magnitude.
Because of the limited amount of practice and game space available, many organizations have seen their time on the fields limited. The PAL football league, Chiefs and Rebels Lacrosse and NP Soccer Club organizations alternate home weekends during the spring and fall at New Providence High School’s Lieder Field, which is the only synthetic turf field in town
Madden said the current construction schedule is put in place to accommodate as many organizations as possible. Renovations do not begin until after all the spring/summer seasons are complete, around Aug. 1, and the town has been working with all parties involved to ensure business is run as normal.
“When you close a field it does present a scheduling challenge,” Madden said. “We are in talks with other property owners nearby. We certainly don’t want to cancel anything when we renovate the fields.”
Next year’s project is scheduled to take place at Lincoln Park. The current plans are to move the one of the two baseball fields closer to the VFW building, which will allow for the outfield of both fields to be used as a soccer field without cutting into the baseball skin infields. A new playground, basketball courts and a bathroom facility are also being contemplated within the concept plans being evaluated.
“Everything that we’re doing in renovations, we will solicit input from neighbors who live nearby, along with the folks who are involved with the activities and the organizations themselves,” Madden said. “We’ll review their input on how we can best utilize the space for the specific programs that will be there.”