UNION, NJ – The county-run John S. Zimmerman Recreational Area, located on Morris Avenue near Lehigh Avenue, recently received some much-needed renovations and updating, including the planting of about 135 evergreen trees along the Morris Avenue border.

But by July 4, it was clear most of the trees were dead or dying.  And then one day last week they were all removed. 

At the June 19 ribbon cutting ceremony, county officials said in addition to the trees, improvements to the county park included a new walking trail around the perimeter (3/4 of a mile) of the park and field improvements such as new bleachers and bench seating. 

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The trees, Emerald Green Arborvitae, were donated by the Christmas Tree Shops according to a county press release that day.

About the removal of the trees, Sebastian D’Elia, Union County Communications Director, said the trees were in poor condition when they were received.  “Unfortunately, the 100 trees we removed were donated and at the time of the donation were not in the best condition.”  D'Elia said they had hoped to “nurture the trees to good health, but it did not work out, and we had to remove them.”

D'Elia said the county will revisit the issue “in the near future or if not, following the settlement of nearby construction impacting the park.”