UNION COUNTY, NJ — The county will distribute about $1.1 million in open space grants to municipalities for planting trees and funding resources for children’s recreation, including fields, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts.

Grants will total $1,036,786.04 for the Kids Recreation Trust and $102,250 for the Greening Union County program, officials said. Funding will come from the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, which has distributed nearly $18.7 million to kids' recreation projects and over $1.5 million to plant trees since it was created, officials said.

“Since first established in 2000, the Open Space Trust Fund has enabled Union County residents of all ages to enjoy continued improvements in public recreation resources and local treescapes, in addition to historic preservation projects,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “The Freeholder Board is very proud to carry on this mission as the Trust Fund attains its 20th year of service to the public.”

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The county will pay for at least 544 trees with the municipalities matching the number of trees provided by the county, officials said.

At Thursday's online freeholders meeting, mayors from across the county spoke in pre-recorded videos — a departure from the freeholders' annual tradition of meeting in person with large checks.

“Never has the need for outdoor activities been more important than right now,” said Union Township Michele Delisfort, noting the restrictions which the pandemic has required be placed on indoor activities.

The complete list of grants awarded to each town are as follows, according to the county:

2020 Kids Recreation Trust Grants:

  • Berkeley Heights: $50,000 (Installation of a new play area at the new municipal complex 29 Park Avenue and to resurface tennis courts and bleacher pad at Columbia Middle School Softball field. As part of the Columbia project, PAL will add gates to dugout fencing.)       
  • Clark: $16,029 (Nelson and Dolan Girls Softball fields and facilities improvements and Senior Fitness Center floor replacement.)
  • Cranford: $65,000 (Renovation of the indoor tennis court, upgrades to the Memorial and Centennial Avenue Pool, and resurfacing of basketball courts at the Adams, Buchanan, and Johnson parks.)
  • Elizabeth: $115,000 (ADA compliant improvements to the Kellogg Park playground.)
  • Fanwood: $40,000 (Master Plans to improve Forest Road Park.)
  • Garwood: $3,362 (Garwood Sports and Recreation Complex deep clean of the turf field and for the purchase of field hockey goals.)
  • Kenilworth: $75,000 (Removal and remediation of asbestos tile in the recreation building and for removal of tennis courts.)
  • Linden: $70,000 (Dr. Martin Luther King Park tennis court reconstruction.)
  • Mountainside: $30,000 (Playground upgrades, renovations at the Deerfield softball and baseball fields.)
  • New Providence: $40,000 (modifications to the walking path surrounding the Recreational Complex.)
  • Plainfield: $90,000 (Rushmore Park, installation of new lighting at basketball courts)
  • Rahway: $25,645 (Howard Field basketball court milling, resurfacing, color coating, relining, and adding ADA access.)
  • Roselle: $75,000 (Grove Street Park phase II of improvements, new toddler playground compliant with State of New Jersey safety requirements.)       
  • Roselle Park: $50,000 (Hawthorne Detention Basin recreational improvements, including installation and improvement of soccer fields and walking paths.)
  • Scotch Plains: $65,000 (Scotch Hills Country Club safety netting improvements to protect the historic Shady Rest clubhouse from errant golf shots.)
  • Springfield: $40,000 (Playground equipment installation, fencing repairs, and accessibility improvements.)
  • Summit: $59,250 (Soldiers Memorial Field basketball court improvements.)
  • Union: $75,000 (Hoover Park equipment updates and improvement and Volunteer Park fitness path.)                                                  
  • Westfield: $52,500 (Edison School Field upgrades, Tamaques Park recreation equipment and an ADA study of municipal parks.)

2020 Greening Union County grants:

  • Berkeley Heights: $2,000 (4 trees)
  • Cranford: $4,500 (25 trees)
  • Elizabeth: $19,000 (75 trees)
  • Garwood: $5,000 (32.5 trees)
  • Linden: $10,000 (34 trees)
  • New Providence: $2,500 (TBD trees)
  • Rahway: $4,500 (15 trees)
  • Roselle: $5,000 (35 trees)          
  • Roselle Park: $10,000 (25 trees)
  • Scotch Plains: $3,750 (12.5 trees)
  • Springfield: $6,000 (20 trees)
  • Summit: $10,000 (125 trees)                              
  • Union: $10,000 (41 trees)                                                                                        
  • Westfield: $10,000 (100 trees)