RANDOLPH, NJ- Mother Nature ushered in sunny blue skies and comfortable temperatures on Saturday, Oct 17, making for a perfect Fall day to unveil the new Veterans Memorial Park on Calais Road in Randolph. Over 150 people showed up for the celebration, which was run by Township Manager Stephen Mountain, along with the Township Council, Parks Department, Senator Anthony Bucco, and local Freeholders.
“This is a great day for Randolph, a great day to celebrate this beautiful new addition to our community,” said Mayor Christine Carey. It’s amazing to see the end result after spending so many years of planning.
Carey then went on to describe how the park had come to fruition, a process that began many years ago.
“This facility is the result of great planning and community input,” Carey continued. “The planning committee decided this park was not going to just be the ideas of the people sitting around that meeting table. We really wanted extensive community input and met with over 40 different stakeholder groups, including businesses, scouts, students, athletic groups, and more to gather information.”
Councilwoman Marie Potter also spoke, explaining the time capsule that will be buried under the flagpole to be opened in the year 2045. Being that 2020 has been such an unprecedented and difficult year, the Covid-19 Pandemic was strongly represented, along with stories about the lockdown and closing of schools, face masks, toilet paper, a 2020 RHS yearbook, and many other items about our current world.
Potter then asked all in the crowd to waive, and she took a panoramic photo to include in the capsule.
The park was fully funded by the Randolph Open Space and Recreation Trust Fund, meaning there was no new tax impact on residents. Senator Bucco praised the work done by the Township Council and all the volunteers who brought the park to life.
“To our veterans and service men and women here today, thank you for your service,” said Senator Bucco. “As you look around at the beauty of this park, it is fitting that the township chose the name Veterans Community Park, where everyone will be able to come and participate in so many activities. The foresight to put this all together says a lot about the quality of the individuals who represent you here in Randolph.”
Deputy Mayor Joanne Veech, who has been advocating for a community garden for many years, shared some information on that portion of the park.
“This municipality, community garden is the largest in the state, and we are presently sold out with a waiting list,” said Deputy Mayor Veech. “This garden provides solace to many in need of a place to come and retreat from this crazy world. It brings our community together in ways that no one expected. May it be used for great intentions and be here for years to come.”
Aside from hosting the Randolph Community garden, the park also has a paved, lit walking trail around the exterior, pickle ball courts, rest room facilities and water fountains, and a bandshell with a large lawn for outdoor concerts and events. More items are coming, such as a picnic pavilion, grills, and a gazebo.
Also unveiled by members of the Randolph VFW Post 7333 was a bench dedicated to Jack Sassaman, the former VFW Post Master who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year.
“Many people in Randolph knew Jack, he was a father, a husband, a grandfather, a US Army Veteran, a patriot, a friend, and a Randolph volunteer,” said Carey. “Jack touched many lives and made a positive impact on our community.”
Current Post Master Scott Montanio spoke just before the bench was unveiled, stating “I could not be more honored to carry on Jacks torch and lead the VFW in his memory.” A gun salute was also performed by members of the VFW.”