LITTLE FALLS, N.J. - The Little Falls Recreation Department is currently renovating its building and fields. The project began recently and is slated to be finished by early September.

 According to John Pace, Director of Recreation for the Township of Little Falls, testing for the planned upgrades at the Recreation Center, located at 160 Paterson Ave., began on June 15 and are being done to the entire complex. The upgrades consist of a new air-conditioning system inside the gymnasium, a new PA system inside and outside the building, and new turf fields. 

 "We're redoing the whole complex," Pace explained, adding the installation of a regulation-sized turf football field, soccer fields and two baseball fields, including an additional youth-level soccer field, is in the works. The new fields will also have bleachers.

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 Tyler Passero, Assistant Director of Recreation, said the two new baseball fields feature a size of 60/90 for one field and 36/60 for the other field. 

"Off to the side will be another youth soccer field separate from the two soccer fields and the football field," he explained. "In the outfield of the small 36/60 baseball field, there will be a clinic-style soccer field as well."

 Passero also said that the gymnasium will contain four new speakers installed in each corner of the room and will be Bluetooth enabled. The gym will have wireless microphone capabilities, including a wired microphone and headset for Zumba classes.

 'When the turf field is finished, it will have the same outside sound system similar to the one at the Tank Park on Wilmore Road," he added.

 Additionally, there will be a digitally-controlled outside message sign in the parking lot area.

 "Right now it's church-style," Passero further added. "This new digital sign will easily send messages out for snow closures or emergency notifications, as it will be controlled remotely."

Mayor James Damiano said he is thrilled that despite the recent global and local issues being faced due to COVID-19, the projects at the Little Falls Sports and Recreation Complex are moving "full steam ahead."

 "The long, overdue addition of air-conditioning to the Recreation Center will provide our residents comfort while playing and watching sports, and utilizing the center for activities, as well as provide an additional location for a cooling center should the need arise on hot summer days," Damiano explained.  "The only upgrade left to make indoors will be the floors."

Pace said a new four-garage storage shed for much-needed storage space is also being constructed. Other upgrades include the addition of two Pickleball courts and resurfacing the tennis courts. 

 "We can use as much storage space as much as possible now," Pace added. "That area of storage will be in the back of the Recreation Building. Pickleball has grown in popularity in recent years so many enthusiasts will be able to come by and play here."  

Damiano also said the addition of new Pickleball courts and the refinishing of the current tennis courts, which are in need of repair, will add a further, competitive sport for residents of all ages.

"I am extremely excited that these upgrades will bring Little Falls into the 21st Century and provide residents of all ages with a state-of-the-art facility that can utilized for all sorts of events." Damiano added.

All new fencing will also be installed around the entire complex. Pace also added that shade structuring for the benches will also be installed down by the new Pickleball Courts and Tennis Courts. In addition, the walkways will be renovated, with the installation of pavers and sidewalks. The outskirts of the turf field will be different from the turf material for aesthetic purposes. The Recreation Center building will also be repainted as well, along with new signage all over the entire facility.

Damiano noted that the turf fields will "eliminate the water issues that have long faced Little Falls fields."

Council President Anthony Sgobba also commented on the renovations.

"The entire council is encouraged by the installation of turf field," he said. "It will have multiple uses for many, different recreational activities."

Pace said he was hopeful that everything will be completed by early September and feels confident about the results of the renovations.

 'Weather permitting, I'm confident that they'll try to reach that goal for first week of September. When everyone comes to play and participate in our programs, they're going to like what they see.”