WESTFIELD, NJ — The town’s Recreation Department is considering the addition of turf fields in Tamaques Park, amid other possible improvements to facilities and grounds at local parks. 

During an online recreation commission meeting Tuesday, members of the recreation department discussed a wetlands delineation study which found seven acres of land between the Tamaques Park loop and Lamberts Mill Road could be used by the town. Potential uses include turfed fields, an ice rink, parking and a new park entrance.

“There is a plot of untapped land available to us the town can do something with at some point,” said Brad Rothenberg, adding that the potential improvements would be specifically for areas outside the Tamaques Park Loop. Development of the seven acres of land would happen in the distant future, as the study would need approval by the state Department of Environmental Protection, Rothenberg said.

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More immediate term and smaller improvements for Tamaques park include renovations to the pavilion in the wooded picnic area, which the department of public works, he said. Six additional picnic benches will also be purchased, as well as new grills, Rothenberg said. 

“We’re finding out how much of a resource our parks are to our town right now in this COVID climate,” said Jennifer Gilman, a member of the recreation commission. “Especially when we're relegated to outdoor events, and the pavilion is such a great example of that — a space for people to have safe socially distanced outdoor fun that's covered.”

Across town in Brightwood Park, the recreation commission is advancing an effort to mountain design bike trails, a project in conjunction with the nonprofit Jersey Off Road Bicycling Association.

Bikers are currently allowed in the park, which has trails, though recreation commission members said those trails are not safe and should be better suited to help the park’s environment.

Total trail improvements in Brightwood Park are estimated to be $305,000, according to the town's recently approved parks and recreation master plan. Volunteers for JORBA, however, have offered to bring in the group to develop those trails at no cost to the town.

“What we're talking about is [making] better improved trails,” Rothenberg said. 

Two information sessions for the public will be held at Brightwood Park regarding the trails, on Aug. 13 at 6 p.m. and Aug. 15 at 11 a.m. meeting in the parking lot of Prospect Street. Members of the public are advised to wear appropriate attire for walking through wooded areas.

Email: danieljustinhan@gmail.com | Twitter: @danieljhan_ | Instagram: @D.han

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