NUTLEY, NJ - One of the busiest and most underappreciated entities in the Township of Nutley is The Department of Parks and Public Property. The scope of their duties is staggering with a wide-array of responsibilities to help keep residents active and the town beautiful.
The department offers diverse, year-round recreation programs within its facilities for children, adults and senior citizens. Activities are supervised and age-appropriate, all while enhancing physical, social and cultural growth of residents.
"Our Parks and Recreation Department offers over 125 programs covering the entire spectrum of our population, from toddlers to senior citizens and everyone in between," said Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci, Director of Parks and Public Property.
Countless seasonal trips and special events are open to all residents. They include ski trips, fishing contests, holiday concerts, movies under the stars, kid's night out, ice shows, basketball tournaments and wrestling tournaments.
There has certainly been tremendous growth in the number of offerings, as well as facility and field improvements, since Tucci became director in 2000. Many of these programs and events are funded through nominal participation fees, which others are funded by the department.
"Registration fees are minimal and only intended to cover the actual cost of the programs," Tucci added.
A variety of senior citizen activities, clubs, events and trips are held throughout the year, with transportation provided free for most programs. Activities include art, aerobics, bingo, wellness, project healthy bones, self-help, Tai Chi, yoga, meditation and nutrition.
Senior clubs include Tuesday Club, Senior Service Club and Old Guard Club. A free bus service providing transportation for senior shopping brings them to Shoprite, various stores on Franklin Avenue and other areas of interest within town.
Nutley’s had an active Shade Tree Program since 1912. Shade Tree is responsible for the maintenance and care of over 10,000 street and park trees. The department, which has been especially busy due to several major winter storms, consists of four full-time employees who are qualified to trim, remove and plant trees, among other tasks.
Nutley has been Tree City USA Approved since 1988. The Living Memorial Tree Planting Program has benefited the parks system since 1992, adding over 1,100 trees of various. It continues to be a popular program, so much so, that a Bench Dedication Program was also launched a few years ago.
In addition to trees, department crews also care for and maintain nine public parks, twelve baseball and softball fields, four soccer fields, as well as public buildings on a daily basis. With spring sports and outdoor activities on the horizon, crews are ramping up efforts to prepare over 100 acres of recreational land for seasonal use.
As if that isn't enough, the department also sponsors a number of charitable endeavors, including a twelve-year partnership with American Cancer Society's Relay For Life.
“Relay For Life is a spectacular display of how our community continuously comes together to fight for a cause we truly believe in," said Tucci.
This year's Relay takes place Friday, May 18 at DeMuro Park. And with nearly $1.2 million raised since 2007, the outlook for 2018 fundraising efforts is very positive.
"This promises to be our biggest year yet, with the help of our community,” Tucci added.
Nutley Parks and Recreation also includes a dramatic arts program that recently put on Elf Jr and will perform Shrek Jr. this Spring.
Just another day's work for The Department of Parks and Public Property.
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