RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph community came together on a very special day to celebrate Kiwanis Park's Ribbon Cutting Ceremony as well as to honor the life and tremendous work of Randolph Kiwanis Club founder, Paul Kull. The Kiwanis Club, Township Council members, Parks and Recreation Director Russ Newman are just some of the many people who joined together to introduce the town to its newly renovated playground and dedicate a bench in Kull's name.
"For me the playground development was a really great example of team work. We were able to accomplish something in a relatively quick amount of time. Each group worked together. Individually we wouldn't have been able to accomplish this," said Newman.
Reconstruction started in July of 2014. The previous existing equipment was very old and not up to current codes. New swings, tire swings, a multifunction unit with a slide and some climbers, jungle gym and monkey bars were all installed.
So many different groups contributed in making the park renovations a success: Fernbrook K-Kids, the Key Club, the Kiwanis Club, and a neighborhood group led by Kimberly Trella was put together. All helped with fundraising efforts and donations. The Township Council also gave its support to the project.
"The park looks awesome. We are often reminded of the many life assets that we have in this town and when we speak of our parks we generally speak in terms of Brundage, Freedom, Heistein, Randolph Park but tonight we are reminded of the importance and the value of one of our small neighborhood parks with this revitalization. The importance of it in terms of providing a safe haven for not only the youth but the families in general of this surrounding area," said Mayor John Loveys.
Councilman Roman Hirniak thanked three groups for their contributions and cooperation; the Kiwanis Club, Randolph residents and the Township Council including Township Manager Stephen Mountain and Newman.
"I live here in this community and today we have gotten together to take advantage of another example of why it is that Randolph is indeed where life is worth living. It's my sincere hope as I make my way through this portion of the township on my travels that every time I pass by here I hear noises like that, children having fun. I see parents keeping an eye on children and of course what I'm sure will be the occasional scraped knee," said Councilman Hirniak.
Hirniak referred to the young blonde headed child who already began indulging herself atop the playground slide. The little girl also happened to be Paul Kull's great granddaughter.
The second reason to celebrate was to reveal the bench dedicated to Paul Kull. The town's Tree and Bench Dedication Program has existed for 12 years. Developed through the Park's Advisory Committee, the program was made to honor those who have made an impact in Randolph, and helps to keep their memory alive.
"For some people community service is an obligation imposed after you get in trouble. Our Kiwanis Club sees things a little bit differently. We volunteer to service the community because we like making things better, especially when it comes to helping children. Paul Kull, who passed away recently, was a working Kiwanis member. Paul and his family lived in Shongum, but he always thought Kiwanis Park was an opportunity to make this part of the community a better place to raise kids. He worked right here with us over 30 years ago. Paul would be very pleased to see the renovated and renewed Kiwanis Park that we have today and he would want us to keep up the good work and move on with whatever comes next," said Kiwanis Club member, John Huston.
Kull is remembered for his wide range volunteering. He was seen picking up roadside trash on Clean Community Day and being outside of A&P in the December cold as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. He managed the club's biggest fundraiser, the Morristown Craft Market. Kull was president and the last active founding member from over 40 years ago. He developed several versions of long range plans over the years that directed the club's money.
One of Paul's sons, Ryan Kull, also said a few words about his father.
"Paul Kull wore many hats while he was here, father, husband, business owner, employee, community activist, Kiwanis Club founder and a family man. What I recall best about my dad was his role as my father. I think about him often. I continue to admire him and miss him every day. He was the ultimate family man and his strong belief and family ties continue to keep the Kull family together and grounded to this day," said Ryan Kull.
The Kull family moved to Randolph in 1969 in Shongum Lake. Some of Ryan's fondest memories of his father were during the wintertime when he helped shovel out snow to flood it and resurface into a well sized hockey rink where Ryan learned how to play.
The ceremony was a delightful success. All who attended were moved by the hard work of those involved and praised the life of a true town hero. Mayor Loveys cut the ribbon and opened the park to the town with Key Club and K-Club kids.
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