July 4, 2014 at 7:27 PM
WEST ORANGE, NJ - On July 2, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Verona Park Boathouse renovations.
In a press conference at the Boathouse, DiVIncenzo noted, “The center room of the Verona Park Boathouse was such an under-utilized area because it was so dark and isolated. Adding new windows and installing the French doors brings more light into the room and makes that section of the building more inviting and available for additional activities.”
He continued, “Essex County Verona Park is such a beautiful destination and we are proud to have partnered with Aramark to enhance the Boathouse so it can be better used by the public,” he added.
The improvements were well received by local elected officials and members of the community.
“On behalf of Verona, we’d like to thank the County Executive for what he’s done in Verona Park and in all the parks throughout the county. The upgrades make us all proud,” said Verona Councilman Frank Sapienza, who attended the press event with Verona Town Manager Joseph Martin.
Said Verona Park Conservancy President James McGregor, "We are tremendously happy that this building was renovated. It will make visits to the park much more enjoyable for the public. We appreciate the attention the County has given to make Verona Park such a beautiful place and the way they have stood behind us through the years.”
According to Essex County publicist Anthony Puglisi, "The boathouse is divided into three sections: A large meeting room on the southern end of the building, the central part of the building that is used for events and kitchen area on the northern side of the building from where a private concession operates. This project provided a comprehensive facelift to the central part of the building to make is more attractive for special events and have it available as a seating area for the concession."
Upgrades included the installation of several new French doors; development of a new patio and seating area, new windows, flooring, walls, painting, light fixtures, furniture, HVAC system and fireplace. In addition the roof was repaired and outside area landscaped. Work was announced to begin in April and was completed in less than 10 weeks.
Along with Boathouse food vendor Aramark, who commissioned the design improvements with T+ Associates, Unity Construction was awarded a publicly bid contract for $433,310 to perform the construction work. The Essex County Department of Public Works monitored the project through completion. The project was funded through the Essex County Capital Budget.
Several other improvements to the Verona Park Boathouse had already been completed in 2014, including renovations of the restroom facilities in the boathouse and inclusion of a comfort station in the park. A $1,000,000 pathway lighting project and dock repair was completed in 2012.
In 2008, a five-station fitness course, landscaping upgrades and improvements to the Verona Lake Dam were completed and in 2004, a Children’s Garden with an amphitheater was created, along with modernization of the tennis courts, construction of a restroom near the playground, and enhancement of the park entrances.
Also during DiVincenzo's administration, the Verona Park Lake dredging project was completed and a rubberized safety surface was installed in the Verona Park playground in 2003.