CALDWELL/ESSEX FELLS, NJ — Nearly $1.2 million in improvements will be made to modernize the Essex County Grover Cleveland Park playground and tennis courts.
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. announced his improvement plans on Friday morning, stating that Grover Cleveland Park is a popular site for families and children, and that the playground and tennis courts need to be replaced due to regular wear and tear. Modernizing the county’s recreation facilities is part of an ongoing initiative to keep Essex County parks up to date and able to meet the needs of residents, he said.
"No matter where in Essex County you go, no matter what neighborhood, our residents have access to beautiful county parks," said New Jersey Senator and Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz. “It's a testament to the county executive and how he continually works with the community.”
Essex County Freeholder Patricia Sebold, a Livingston resident, said she never gets tired of coming to local parks and “watching them get better and better.” Freeholder Len Luciano, a West Caldwell resident, said that the Grover Cleveland Park project is another example of the great job DiVincenzo is doing.
"I want to thank Joe DiVincenzo and his team for working with us and helping us get the things we want in the park done," said Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy President Diane Mensinger. “It's a great partnership.”
The playground equipment, originally installed in 2003, is being replaced because of regular wear and tear, and so that the safest conditions can be provide for children. There will be 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. A new feature is a miniature zip line. The facility will have a rubberized safety surface in areas where play equipment is located.
There are also grassy areas where children can run and play. In the center of the playground is a seating area from where parents can watch their children.
PS&S Integrated Services from Newark received a $51,500 professional services contract to design the playground. Picerno-Giordano Construction from Kenilworth was awarded an $899,945 publicly bid contract to build the playground. The Department of Public Works will monitor the project to ensure delays are avoided.
The playground upgrade is being funded through the Essex County budget. Work began on March 1 and is scheduled to be completed by July 1 so that local children have a full summer to play in the new facility.
The four-court tennis facility is being 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 will monitor the construction so delays are avoided. Sita Construction from Goshen, NY, was awarded a publicly bid contract of $214,750 to perform the construction. It is scheduled to be completed by September 2018.
The revitalization of Essex County Grover Cleveland Park has been an ongoing project.
In 2013, handicap accessibility was improved with the creation of ADA-compliant parking spaces in the Buttonwood Road lot, installation of handicap accessible tables in the picnic area, repairing walking paths to meet ADA guidelines, installation of signage and making various landscaping upgrades.
In 2012, the banks, spillway and weirs of Pine Brook, as it passes through Essex County Grover Cleveland Park, were upgraded as part of a $722,653 project.
In 2006, an $825,000 facelift included installing an aeration system in the pond and planting landscaping around the pond edge, renovating the skate house and updating the baseball/softball field with new decorative lights, bleachers, benches and fencing.
In 2004, $800,000 was invested to make improvements to the Children's House and renovate the tennis courts.
In 2003, an $850,000 project included a makeover for the playground with modern equipment and a rubberized safety surface and the repaving of walking paths and the parking lot. Also in 2003, the Runnymede Road Bridge was reconstructed.
Pictured above, holding artists' renderings of the playground and tennis courts with the county executive are:
(From left) Chief of Staff Phil Alagia; Nina Vera from Picerno-Giordano Construction; Deputy Parks Director Kate Hartwyk; Freeholders Patricia Sebold and Len Luciano; Craig Cartmell from PS&S Integrated Services; Diane Mensinger, Caroline Mescia, Loren Betros and Claudia Kolster from the Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy; NJ State Senator and Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz; Mike O'Donnell from the Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy and Parks Director Dan Salvante.