Sports

Union County Freeholders Approve Agreements on Oak Ridge Park Recreation Facilities, But Some Residents Object to Recreation Project Expansions

442a17fc12f8a69c2472_UCNJ.jpg
Union County Freeholders Approve Agreements on Oak Ridge Park Recreation Facilities, But Some Residents Object to Recreation Project Expansions Credits: ucnj.org
d78f0fb98f5f45e30994_IMG_1236.jpg
Union County Freeholder Vice Chairman Sergio Granados congratulates Brigadier General Edward Chrystal on his promotion Credits: Bob Faszczewski
442a17fc12f8a69c2472_UCNJ.jpg

ELIZABETH, NJ—An amended shared services agreement with the Union County Improvement Authority and a use and maintenance agreement with Union County College, both having to do with the Oak Ridge Park Project, were unanimously approved by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Thursday.

According to Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen of Springfield, the agreements would further county efforts to provide a field, locker room facilities and “other amenities” for Union County College sports teams that have outgrown their current facilities adjacent to the Cranford campus of the college.

Oak Ridge Park in Clark is a former county golf course that is being converted to a number of other uses.

Sign Up for E-News

However, Garwood activist Bruce Paterson wanted to know why the college could not use facilities authorized two years ago at Rahway Park, on which, he said, the county and Rahway spent $5 or $6 million.

Another project, which the county is supporting—the proposed Mind and Body Complex in Roselle—drew the ire of Roselle resident Anthony Esposito at Thursday’s freeholder meeting.

Esposito, a 36-year resident of the borough, noted that Union County has pledged to guarantee bonds to help pay for the complex.

He reported that the average property tax bill in Roselle is $9,531, whereas the median income in the borough is only $44,375, adding that having residents pay 25 percent of their median income for taxes was “crushing the town.”

The resident noted that there are 450 abandoned homes in the borough and 1500 homes are in “some type of foreclosure.”

Esposito also said that the borough’s net municipal debt is $36 million and its debt cap only is $46 million. Thus, the borough, which is borrowing $5 to $10 million per year, cannot bond the Mind and Body Complex itself and it has asked the county to pledge its guarantee on bonds on the facility, with the borough leasing it back from the county.

Paterson asked the freeholders to stop “sitting on $46 million in surplus” and allot $100 of each of it as relief to each county homeowner, which would only total about $18 million.

Esposito also said that he could not see how the current Roselle Borough Council could bind future councils to a future bond agreement and lease of the proposed facility, and, if future governing bodies decided not to uphold the borough’s lease agreement, other communities in Union County, “could be left holding the bag.”

This recreation center, Esposito added, would only be six blocks from Warinanco Park, where the county just spent $7 million to renovate and upgrade the county park’s sports complex.

However, lack of sports facilities and playing time for youth soccer leagues in Rahway was complained about by Robert Macaluso, who is an official with that city’s youth soccer leagues.

Macaluso said there is not enough playing time for his teams to play at Rahway River Park and the Madison Avenue Park they have been told to use so prone to flooding that many referees will not allow games to be played there. He asked why a turf field could not be installed at the Madison Avenue Park.

The Rahway soccer official added his teams only want use of Rahway River Park facilities for 10 Sundays in the spring and 10 Sundays in the fall. He also said preference for use of the park is given to the “Colonia Soccer League,” which is not based in Union County.

However, Union County Director of Parks and Recreation Ronald Zuber responded that the “Colonial Soccer League” to which Zuber was referring was based in Elizabeth and most of its members were from that city.

Zuber added that the Rahway River Park facilities are shared with many other groups, including a women’s rugby team, and he and his department have been working with Macaluso to improve facilities and access to Rahway groups.

On a more positive note, Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, Freeholder Vice Chairman Sergio Granados and Bergen presented a resolution to Edward Chrystal, who grew up in Springfield and now lives in Scotch Plains, for his promotion to brigadier general of the New Jersey National Guard.

Freeholder resolutions also were presented:

  • Congratulating Marilyn Davis, who served in the administrations of former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and former President Barack Obama, for receiving the Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award from the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey.
  • Wishing Ellen Dotto well on her retirement as secretary of the boards and executive director of college relations for Union County College.
  • Honoring Pat Scott, a former employee in the Cornerstone Unit of Runnells Hospital on her retirement from service to the county.

The board also adopted a resolution supporting former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “We Are Still In” effort by more than 1200 officials around the United States supporting the Paris accords on climate change and condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the agreement and the harm the group believes it will cause to the world’s environment.

Additionally, they voted in favor of a resolution condemning the American Health Care Act and urging United States Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker to continue their opposition to the proposal and its harm to Medicaid recipients.

According to Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, under the proposal at it now stands, 14 million people would lose their healthcare benefits under Medicaid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

t

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Elizabeth

Upcoming Events

Fri, February 23, 8:30 AM

Honor Ridge Academy, Clark

Workshop for Parents & Educators: Reducing ...

Education Giving Back

Carousel_image_9c2bb78674ccc6c956e3_2018_st_pats_flyer

Fri, February 23, 12:00 PM

Roselle Park

St. Patrick's Day Party

Fri, February 23, 3:30 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Teen Advisory Board (TAB) Meeting

Arts & Entertainment Education

Union County Freeholders Partner in Two Upcoming Hiring Events

February 17, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders have announced two hiring event opportunities coming up with Griswold Home Care of Union County and the United Airlines “Summer Assist” youth program.

The first event is with Griswold Home Care of Union County. They are a privately owned, non-medical home care company and are looking for Certified Home Health Aides ...

“Hidden in Plain Sight” - A Presentation Centered Around a Teen’s Bedroom 

ROSELLE, NJ - Elizabeth Parents, grandparents, caregivers, when it comes to your children and drugs, do you know where to look? Do you know what you are looking for? You may be surprised at what is "Hidden in Plain Sight."

The Roselle Everett Hatcher Prevention Coalition and Prevention Links invite all parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers and other adults from the city of ...

At Westfield High School, Student Says ‘It’s Almost Normal to Juul Here’

February 16, 2018

Editor’s note: This story about the rise in teen e-cigarette use, written by Westfield High School student Greta Frontero, originally ran in the Jan. 8 edition of WHS student newspaper Hi’s Eye.

WESTFIELD, NJ — A 12th-grade Westfield High School female said she doesn’t bring her Juul to school, but will use someone else’s if the opportunity ...

Indictment Handed Down in Millburn Carjacking

February 21, 2018

TRENTON, NJ – An indictment was handed down in the November carjacking in Millburn where a 13-year old girl was allegedly grabbed by the neck and the suspect threatened to kill her. 

The 11-count state grand jury indictment charges Ahmed Anthony, 30, of Newark with conspiracy, carjacking, robbery and making terroristic threats among other charges. The conspiracy in the first-degree ...

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

February 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Reminder: Free Wellness Program for Union County Military Women

February 22, 2018

All Union County women with military service – veterans, active duty and reserve – are invited to join “Boots 2 Heels,” a free event designed to foster wellness and connect women with resources and guidance for empowerment. Boots 2 Heels will be held on Saturday, February 24 at the Westfield Armory, located at 500 Rahway Avenue in Westfield.

The event is free but ...