PATERSON, NJ - The Passaic County Board of County Commissioners have announced the awards of $3,255,475 in grants to county municipalities and non-profits through the Open Space, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

Included in this is $75,000 to the Friends of Paterson Parks from improvements to the playground at Roberto Clemente Park and $125,000 to Paterson Habitat for Humanity earmarked for work at Clinton Street Park. 

“Due to the impacts of the pandemic on programming funds and construction, this current round of grants represents two years’ worth of funding to support beautification, restoration and improvements to many of our local parks and historic sites,” stated Commissioner Director Pat Lepore. “These projects will continue to support open space and recreational needs that have been a critical element of the quality of life to local residents, but also, support tourism and revenue to our individual municipalities, and stimulus to the economy through construction and implementation activities.”

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Also speaking to the adjusted distribution of funds was Commissioner Assad Akhter who is also a Paterson resident. 

"This pandemic has made clear how important parks and open space are to our personal well-being and sense of community,” Akhter said. “We hope residents throughout Passaic County will be able to enjoy these beautiful green spaces as pandemic restrictions are eased."

At a press conference held at Roberto Clemente Park on Wednesday, Mayor Andre Sayegh, joined by 5th Ward Councilman, County Commissioner Terry Duffy, and Murat Baycora, Chairman of the Friends of Paterson Parks, welcomed the award saying it was part of an ongoing initiative to improve the space that sites in the “heart of the city.”

The funding, he said, will make the playground more accessible to children with special needs, similar to an ongoing initiative at Lou Costello Park, and represents the early success of the Friends of Paterson Parks which made this their first application.

“This is a start, there’s more to come,” Velez said. “Paterson is being transformed little by little.”

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