A baseball field and tennis and basketball courts in Essex County Riverbank Park will receive a facelift as part of a more than $2 million renovation of the park in the city's Ironbound neighborhood.
"The Ironbound in Newark is one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the state with limited open space for recreation. Providing the most up-to-date facilities is important to promote community health and provide places for residents to play," said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo said.
"Children and organized teams will be able to maximize use of the baseball field with a new synthetic grass surface and installing modern surfaces will ensure the basketball and tennis courts are able to meet the public's needs," he said.
The baseball field will be upgraded with a synthetic grass surface and new fencing and foul poles, creating a fenced in bullpen to maximize safety and updating the dugouts. The tennis and basketball courts will be resurfaced and repainted, and new equipment will be installed.
"This is becoming a habit - coming to our parks and announcing improvements that the County Executive and Freeholders are making. We applaud them for taking the lead and doing what is right for our residents," Newark East Ward Councilman Augusto Amador said.
"I have spent my whole life coming to this park. I know that our children will utilize these facilities," Neil Mitgard from the Ironbound Little League and Down Neck Sports Group said.
"The Ironbound is one of the most densely populated areas in the state and that makes this project even more important. People will appreciate the work being done here and are looking forward to it," said Freeholder Robert Mercado, who represents Newark on the board.
"Upgrading the baseball field along with the tennis and basketball courts will allow children today to enjoy the park just like I did when I was there age," Sheriff Armando Fontoura said.
State Sen. and Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz praised DiVincenzo for listening to the needs of the community and doing what is necessary to meet those needs.
"The County Executive recognizes that parks are part of social justice that provide equity and fairness," Ruiz said.
Mott McDonald of Islen was awarded a professional services contract for $69,800 to design the improvements in Riverbank Park.
The Landtek Group, Inc. from Amityville, N.Y., was awarded a publicly-bid contract for $2,060,190 to perform the construction work.
The Essex County Department of Public Works is monitoring the project, which is being funded through the Essex County Capital Budget and with a grant from the Community Development Block Grant program. It is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2018.