UC Freeholders Approve Agreements on Clark's Oak Ridge Park and More


ELIZABETH, NJ—An amended shared services agreement with the Union County Improvement Authority and a use and maintenance agreement with Union County College, both having to do with the Oak Ridge Park Project, were unanimously approved by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Thursday.

According to Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen of Springfield, the agreements would further county efforts to provide a field, locker room facilities and “other amenities” for Union County College sports teams that have outgrown their current facilities adjacent to the Cranford campus of the college.

Clark Mayor Sal Bonaccorso explained that Union County has been talking about this for a couple of years.   According to Bonaccorso, County Officials are diligent about keeping local government in the loop and he was sure he would be hearing from them soon.  

Sign Up for E-News

During initial discussions with Union County a couple of years ago, Bonaccorso said the plan was to build a soccer field across the road from the Clark pool, not on the Oak Ridge side near residents.   Bonaccorso does not know the intention of the most current plans and if they reflect those earlier conversations.  

As far as what the mayor thought of the proposed addition to Oak Ridge Park, Bonaccorso held off on giving an opinion.  “I would like to see the plans and such before I give a comment.   I want to understand the full details of the project, it wouldn’t be fair for me to talk about the pros or cons without having a meeting first to see what is planned,” said Bonaccorso.

Oak Ridge Park in Clark is a former county golf course that is being converted to a number of other uses.

During the meeting, Garwood activist Bruce Paterson wanted to know why the college could not use facilities authorized two years ago at Rahway Park, on which, he said, the county and Rahway spent $5 or $6 million.

Another project, which the county is supporting—the proposed Mind and Body Complex in Roselle—drew the ire of Roselle resident Anthony Esposito at Thursday’s freeholder meeting.

Esposito, a 36-year resident of the borough, noted that Union County has pledged to guarantee bonds to help pay for the complex.

He reported that the average property tax bill in Roselle is $9,531, whereas the median income in the borough is only $44,375, adding that having residents pay 25 percent of their median income for taxes was “crushing the town.”

The resident noted that there are 450 abandoned homes in the borough and 1500 homes are in “some type of foreclosure.”

Esposito also said that the borough’s net municipal debt is $36 million and its debt cap only is $46 million. Thus, the borough, which is borrowing $5 to $10 million per year, cannot bond the Mind and Body Complex itself and it has asked the county to pledge its guarantee on bonds on the facility, with the borough leasing it back from the county.

Paterson asked the freeholders to stop “sitting on $46 million in surplus” and allot $100 of each of it as relief to each county homeowner, which would only total about $18 million.

Esposito also said that he could not see how the current Roselle Borough Council could bind future councils to a future bond agreement and lease of the proposed facility, and, if future governing bodies decided not to uphold the borough’s lease agreement, other communities in Union County, “could be left holding the bag.”

This recreation center, Esposito added, would only be six blocks from Warinanco Park, where the county just spent $7 million to renovate and upgrade the county park’s sports complex.

Lack of sports facilities and playing time for youth soccer leagues in Rahway was complained about by Robert Macaluso, who is an official with that city’s youth soccer leagues.

Macaluso said there is not enough playing time for his teams to play at Rahway River Park and the Madison Avenue Park they have been told to use so prone to flooding that many referees will not allow games to be played there. He asked why a turf field could not be installed at the Madison Avenue Park.

The Rahway soccer official added his teams only want use of Rahway River Park facilities for 10 Sundays in the spring and 10 Sundays in the fall. He also said preference for use of the park is given to the “Colonia Soccer League,” which is not based in Union County.

However, Union County Director of Parks and Recreation Ronald Zuber responded that the “Colonial Soccer League” to which Zuber was referring was based in Elizabeth and most of its members were from that city.

Zuber added that the Rahway River Park facilities are shared with many other groups, including a women’s rugby team, and he and his department have been working with Macaluso to improve facilities and access to Rahway groups.

On a more positive note, Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, Freeholder Vice Chairman Sergio Granados and Bergen presented a resolution to Edward Chrystal, who grew up in Springfield and now lives in Scotch Plains, for his promotion to brigadier general of the New Jersey National Guard.

Freeholder resolutions also were presented:

  • Congratulating Marilyn Davis, who served in the administrations of former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and former President Barack Obama, for receiving the Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award from the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey.
  • Wishing Ellen Dotto well on her retirement as secretary of the boards and executive director of college relations for Union County College.
  • Honoring Pat Scott, a former employee in the Cornerstone Unit of Runnells Hospital on her retirement from service to the county.

The board also adopted a resolution supporting former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “We Are Still In” effort by more than 1200 officials around the United States supporting the Paris accords on climate change and condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the agreement and the harm the group believes it will cause to the world’s environment.

Additionally, they voted in favor of a resolution condemning the American Health Care Act and urging United States Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker to continue their opposition to the proposal and its harm to Medicaid recipients.

According to Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, under the proposal at it now stands, 14 million people would lose their healthcare benefits under Medicaid.















TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Sat, March 17, 5:30 PM

St. Francis Episcopal Church, Dunellen

St. Patrick's Day Annual Dinner

Food & Drink

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Maple Sugar Sunday


Sun, March 18, 3:00 PM

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield

Crescent Concerts Presents Annual Festival of ...

Arts & Entertainment

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

2018 Union County Teen Arts Festival

March 17, 2018

CRANFORD, NJ - Union County Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados and Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski attend the 2018 Union County Teen Arts Festival at Union County College in Cranford. The Union County Teen Arts Festival is an annual two-day celebration of the arts sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders through the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs in the Department of ...


March 17, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2018 – Despite her rhetoric, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, failed Wednesday to deliver on her promise to make schools safer for our children.

The two-term congressperson was one of only 10 representatives that voted “nay” Wednesday afternoon on the STOP School Violence Act of 2018.

The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a ...

Bayonne Police: Second Teen Arrested for Recent School Threats

March 14, 2018

BAYONNE, NJ - A second teen was charged for last week's social media school shooting threats.

According to Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, police arrested a local 13-year-old for false public alarm and making terroristic threats after detectives determined the student was responsible for a SnapChat involving a Bayonne private school.

Davis said police determined the teen made a ...

Celebrando el Mes de la Historia de la Mujer

March 16, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Estimados Plainfield,

Yo fui criado por dos mujeres poderosas e generosas, y me pasaron principios y valores que me han guiado durante mi vida entera. Mi mama persiguió la oportunidad y busco una manera de proveer para su familia. Ella dejo la isla de Barbados para poder trabajar en los hogares de los Estados Unidos, creando e allanando un camino para que sus hijos lo ...

Innovador Plainfield

Estimados Plainfield,


El crecimiento requiere evolución, la evolución implica cambio, y el cambio conduce a la innovación. Plainfield está evolucionando. Nos estamos adaptando para cumplir con los requisitos del renacimiento que está formando el futuro. No podemos esperar cambio positivo y sostenible si continuamos con el mismo ritmo de las ...

Distrito escolar de Plainfield anuncia ganadores de Feria de las Ciencias

PLAINFIELD, NJ - La Oficina de Tecnología, Ciencias e Instrucción de las Escuelas Públicas de Plainfield anunció a los ganadores de la Feria de Ciencias 2018, en una recepción celebrada el jueves 1 de marzo de 2018 en la Escuela Primaria Clinton.

Veintiocho de los 178 estudiantes en grados 4-12 recibieron los máximos honores después de presentar ...

Rapps Pharmacy: What You Need To Know About The Flu

There seems to be no end in sight for the current flu season which has touched every part of the country, and right here in New Jersey.  Rapps Pharmacy, an independent, full service, and locally owned Plainfield neighborhood pharmacy, offers these tips:  

As influenza virus activity increases and is likely to continue circulating for upcoming weeks, the Centers for Disease Control ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)


Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...