CALDWELL/ESSEX FELLS, NJ — In the days leading up to Memorial Day Weekend, the project to modernize the playground and tennis courts in Essex County Grover Cleveland Park, a nearly $1.2-million project to make improvements to the park's recreation facilities, was officially completed in time for families to visit during the long weekend.

In announcing the project’s completion, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. said he was grateful for the county’s partnership with the Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy, which continues to provide guidance on how the county can continually renew the park to meet the needs of the community.

"The new playground and tennis courts are upgrades that make Grover Cleveland Park an even nicer destination," said Essex County Freeholder Len Luciano.

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Caldwell Mayor Ann Dassing thanked DiVincenzo for the attention given to Grover Cleveland Park, stating that she visits often and that the upgrades “are all beautiful."

"Olmsted had a unique way of creating public parks and I think what we have accomplished here with the playground respects his original design," said Diane Mensinger, president of the Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy.

The playground equipment, originally installed in 2003, was replaced because of regular wear and tear, and so that the safest conditions were being provided for children. There are two plays areas near the Children's House: one for children ages 2-5 and one for children ages 5-12. There are climbing apparatus, slides, spinners and swings for both age groups, including handicap-accessible swings.

One new feature is a miniature zip line. The facility also has a rubberized safety surface in areas where play equipment is located, and there are now grassy areas where children can run and play. In the center of the playground is a seating area for parents to watch their children from.

PS&S Integrated Services from Newark received a $51,500 professional services contract to design the playground. Picerno-Giordano Construction from Kenilworth was awarded a $899,945 publicly bid contract to build the playground. Essex County’s Department of Public Works monitored the project to ensure delays were avoided.

The playground upgrade is being funded through the Essex County budget. Work began March 1 and was completed in three months, which is one month ahead of schedule.

The four-court tennis facility was modernized with a new surface, fencing and equipment. It was last repaved and updated in 2004. The Department of Public Works designed the project in-house and monitored the construction so delays were avoided. Sita Construction from Goshen, N.Y., was awarded a publicly bid contract of $214,750 to perform the construction.

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