MONTCLAIR/GLEN RIDGE, NJ - On Friday, August 28 at 11 a.m., Glen Ridge and Montclair leaders will gather for a ribbon cutting ceremony to announce the opening of the newly renovated synthetic turf surface at George Washington Field, located on Baldwin Street. 

The multi-use field suited for baseball, softball, field hockey, lacrosse and soccer has been reconstructed through a shared service agreement between Glen Ridge and Montclair with financing from the Essex County Recreation & Open Space Trust Fund.

Essex County Executive DiVincenzo, who announced the dual township grant award in October 2014, will join the local leaders for this event marking the installation of the first CoolPlay system in New Jersey which features a cork top layer for heat reduction.

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DiVincenzo and the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund Advisory Board announced on October 14, 2014 that $3.3 million in grants were awarded to Essex County’s 22 municipalities. Each municipality received a $150,000 grant to be used for park development, open space acquisition or historic preservation. Since Montclair and Glen Ridge share Washington Field, they were able to combine resources for the renovations.

The combined total of $300,000 grant was awarded for improvement with a requirement that Montclair and Glen Ridge add the additional funding from other funding sources to offset the costs.

“Our Open Space Local Aid Program is our opportunity to reach out into the community and assist with local improvement projects. I am pleased that our municipalities have stepped forward to take advantage of our Local Aid Program to fund projects that will benefit the community and improve our residents’ quality of life,” DiVincenzo said in the October release.

The Open Space Trust fund was established in November of 1998 through a voter-approved referendum. Consequently, the Open Space Trust Fund Advisory Board was established to oversee the fund and allocate money to develop the Essex County Open Space Master Plan for the County’s historic Park System, to hire park maintenance workers, to provide matching funds for a number of Green Acres grants received by various park conservancies to revitalize the Essex County Park System and for the Open Space Local Aid Program.

The October 2014 announcement earmarked the fourth time funds from the Open Space Trust Fund had become available for community projects and the second time grants were provided. The first two rounds of matching grants were awarded in 2004 and 2006. In 2009 and 2014, the awards did not have to be matched.

For the 2014 cycle, only projects on municipal-owned property were eligible and Montclair and Glen Ridge officials were required to submit a written proposal and make an oral presentation to the Board.