CLARK, NJ — The Oak Ridge Park Athletic Field opened officially Monday after a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Union County Freeholders, the Union County Improvement Authority, Union County College and members of the Clark Recreation Department.
The field features an eight-lane Olympic running track, soccer and lacrosse field, field house with lockers and concession, bleachers, press box and track and field facilities.
According to county officials, the field will be used by Union County College teams and athletes for soccer and lacrosse games, track and field meets and practices. The facility is also open through the County Parks Department to the public, schools and organizations for the same usage.
“The College’s athletic teams have struggled without a home field for many years. Frankly, it’s a social justice issue when poorer community college students don’t have the decent and safe facilities that wealthier college students take for granted,’’ said Union County College President Margaret McMenamin in a statement.
“So we are pleased to partner with the county on this endeavor. Our soccer, lacrosse, and track athletes need to compete on a modern, safe, state-of-the-art field. This includes our nationally recognized women’s soccer team that finished the 2018 season ranked third in the nation at the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament.”
The 12-acre site can be used for Division I athletic competitions and is considered to be the best in the county, according to officials. The complex also includes lighting for night competition, bleachers for up to 800 fans, a press box, an underground storm water detention area and provides scenic views of the park and the Watchung mountains.
Developers constructed a dedicated entrance to the field at the intersection of Woodland Road and Oak Ridge Road. It leads into the parking lot which contains 120 spaces for use by field-goers. The lot also has its own exit from the park across from the Clark Pool.
“This magnificent facility now takes its place as one of the top-notch recreational fields in the state,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella, in the release. “Union County is highly regarded for its award-winning parks system, and the Oak Ridge Park Athletic Field is a great new attraction for our residents and student-athletes to enjoy.”