My name is Bill Cochrane and I am President of the South Plainfield Recreation Commission. A press release from Borough Council Candidate Kristine Keefe has recently come to our attention. In her press release Ms. Keefe states and I quote “Over the last eight years virtually nothing has been done to improve our parks and recreation program.” When this was brought to our attention at our last meeting all ten commissioners and our Director of Recreation Kevin Hughes took great exception to that statement which apparently was not based on fact.
The South Plainfield Recreation Commission is comprised of ten voting member residents of South Plainfield and one non-voting representative of the Police Athletic League. All have been appointed by both Democrat and Republican Mayors and serve at their pleasure. The majority of us have been together for a considerable number of years and take great pride in our mission.
We are not, never have been, and never will be a political organization and none of our decisions have been based on that. I have been a member for 33 years and this is the first time to my knowledge that we have responded to a political candidate’s accusation.
Our mission and purpose is to provide diverse, quality and all-inclusive facilities and programs to the residents of South Plainfield. We will not be diverted by any unsubstantiated complaint.
To Ms. Keefe and anyone else who believes the South Plainfield Recreation programs are not up to par here are the facts:
- Created the travel basketball program in 2014. We now have nine teams both boys and girls.
- Took over the junior field hockey program and brought it under recreation where the numbers keep growing.
- Improved our T-Ball program with use of our Turf Field and by including four year olds.
- Improved our Teener Ball and Ponytail programs by restructuring the age groups to better fit our children’s needs.
Programs that we created to try and give our residents more options, but were unable to sustain due to low registration numbers:
- Karate, advanced adult aerobics, fun and fitness programs ages 2-4, Speed and Agility class has since been brought back by a parent group and is supported by Recreation, Golf Camp, Summer Tennis Programs and Bowling Programs
We presently have discussed and are working on a Buddy Ball Program for our Special Needs Families.
PARK AND RECREATION IMPROVEMENTS
Shadyside Park has a new play structure and two beach volleyball courts were created in 2016.
Cotton Street Park Numerous dead trees were removed, new benches installed in 2012. An entire new play structure erected in 2006.
Walnut Street Park New benches in 2012, new play structure in 2006.
Putnam Park Repaved and put up new baskets for basketball court in 2011. Installed two new bocce ball courts in 2012.
Veterans Park redid the entire softball field with new clay and graded it. Erected new fencing and installed a temporary outfield fence so youth teams can play games.
Willow Park Created a new playground in 2016 and will be adding an all-inclusive features adjacent to existing one in 2018.
PAL/MEMORIAL FIELD New wrestling mats in 2017, new cheer mats so the various cheer programs can use the PAL without damaging the wrestling mats. A brand new state of the art basketball gym floor which has been a tremendous help to our very popular youth basketball programs. New side glass backboards which can be lowered to accommodate our younger aged children. Lights have been installed on Memorial field allowing more utilization for our programs. The brand new digital sign has been installed on Maple Avenue.
SOUTHSIDE DOG PARK A beautiful dog park created on property that had been an eyesore for years.
And we cannot forget our beautiful South Plainfield Community Pool where swimming lessons are offered, and where our, very successful Tiger Shark Swim Team calls home.
Recreation Department is an ongoing process where changes, adjustments and improvements are frequently made with citizens input and requests. All are invited to attend any of our meetings which are held on the second Tuesday of the month (except July and August) at 7:00pm. You may also visit The PAL weekdays and speak to our Director of Recreation Kevin Hughes or Nancy or Peter on his staff. The undersigned commissioners are also available to bring your concerns to our meetings.
THE SOUTH PLAINFIELD RECREATION COMMISSION
William Cochrane (President) William Ashnault
Calvin Gross (Vice President) James Olano
William DiNitzio Wendell Born
Christine Marks Tim Dziomba
Michael Alvarez Sal Severini