ROXBURY, NJ – Officially opening a new softball complex in Landing on Thursday, Roxbury officials demonstrated how a gem can be made of three diamonds.

Roxbury Mayor Jim Rilee said town officials often refer to Horseshoe Lake Park in Succasunna as the “jewel” of Morris County parks. Standing under the lights on the spotless new infield, flanked by eager, young softball players, parents and local officials, the mayor said Roxbury has doubled its stash of glittering treasures.

“Now we have two crown jewels in Roxbury Township,” said Rilee. “Our recreation is second to none.”

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It was a beautiful night for a ribbon-cutting at the 16-acre park on Landing Road. After the ceremony, Roxbury Rebels softball players and their Mount Olive opponents inaugurated the $3.5 million site with its first game while youngsters scurried into its new playground, dubbed Lakeside Park by students at Nixon Elementary School.

Particularly proud was Roxbury Councilman Fred Hall, who spearheaded much of the work leading to the park’s creation. He said the $3.5 million park, which was first conceived about a decade ago, was finally completed only about two hours before Thursday’s 6 p.m. ceremony.

Homage was paid to former Rebels coach Michael Corrente, of Succasunna, who died in November 2014, at 43, from cancer. Corrente’s wife, Daniele, his daughters, Carly, 12, and Kayla, 16, and his 14-year-old son, Michael were honored at the event. Carly threw a ceremonial first pitch and the family found out that a scoreboard, donated by the Rebels, bears Corrente’s name.

“He loved coaching and being a part of softball,” said Daniele Corrente, holding a bouquet of flowers she’d been given.

Roxbury Recreation Director Dave Stierli could be found excitedly describing the new park’s modern attributes, including lights that can be turned on and off from a smartphone or computer. He said the fields include irrigation systems and the scoreboard bearing Corrente’s name is operated with a remote control from a dugout.

Stierli also noted the site includes a 1.5-mile walking path around the perimeter. There is a centrally located snack bar building and the fields, one at 210 feet, another at 250 feet and a third at 315 feet, are sized to accommodate all levels of softball, including “grandmasters” teams made of men 46 and older.

With the opening of Landing Park, Roxbury is probably going to repurpose the current softball fields at Horseshoe Lake, said Stierli. 

The new playground should help keep occupied the younger siblings of softball players.