Playground and Tennis Courts to be Modernized; 52-Space Parking Area to be Created

ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO ANNOUNCES $2 MILLION IN UPGRADES COMING TO ESSEX COUNTY VERONA PARK

10/5/17

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced on Wednesday, October 4th that two projects totaling $2 million will be undertaken to modernize the playground and tennis courts and create additional parking in Essex County Verona Park. The improvements are part of the County Executive’s ongoing initiative to revitalize the historic Essex County Parks System and ensure parks facilities continue to meet the needs of the community.

“An ongoing priority of my administration has been to provide the most up-to-date recreation facilities throughout our historic Parks System. This ensures our children, families and residents have modern and safe places to play and relax, and our open spaces continue to provide opportunities for exercise and respite as well as contribute to our residents’ quality of life,” DiVincenzo said.

“When I think about Verona Park, I reminisce about the time I spent here growing up. The park as we know it today is nothing like the park I remember from years ago,” said Assemblywoman Sheila Y. Oliver. “County Executive, you have totally transformed the historic Verona Park and brought it up to the 21st century,” she added.

“We are the oldest, largest park system in New Jersey and our County Executive never stops thinking about what he can do to make the system even better and now we can look forward to these newest improvements to Verona Park. This park is very popular and heavily utilized and I thank the County Executive for continuing to make the Essex County Park System better than ever,” said Freeholder Patricia Sebold.

“The County Executive and his team never cease to amaze me with these projects. These improvements are great for the community, our children and our families and I know they will thoroughly enjoy these enhancements once completed,” said Freeholder Leonard Luciano.

The first project includes updating the playground by removing the existing equipment and rubberized safety surface and installing new apparatus and rubberized surfaces. The playground has been redesigned and incorporates the topography of the land in the play area. Slides and other features have been built into hills so children do not have to climb ladders to reach the top of the slide; they just walk to the top of the hill. There is a large climbing structure in the center of the play area and apparatus for children ages 2-5 and 5-12. The last time the playground was updated was in 2003 when a rubberized safety surface was first installed. The equipment needed to be replaced, having become worn and outdated from the amount of use the playground receives.

Arterial Design Studio from Montclair received a $49,500 contract to redesign the playground. APS Contracting from Paterson was awarded a publicly bid contract for $1,384,505 to perform the construction work. The Essex County Department of Public Works is monitoring the project to ensure delays are avoided. The improvements are being funded with grants from the NJ Green Acres program and the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund. Work started in September and it scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

“We are excited about this opportunity to work in Essex County again and bring a new and exciting playground design to Verona Park,” said Arterial Studio Director of Operations James Ribaudo.

“It is my honor to work for Essex County again. Thank you to County Executive DiVincenzo for giving us this opportunity,” said APS Contracting President Steve Savreski.

“This project will look really nice when it is completed with addition parking and improved play areas. Thank you for this opportunity and we look forward to beginning work on this great project,” said Sita Construction Co., Inc. Vice President Sandra Carretero.

The second project includes modernizing the tennis court and creating an additional 52 spaces for cars in a new parking area. The three tennis court surfaces will be milled and equipment removed, and then a new asphalt surface and netting will be installed. The last time the tennis courts were updated was in 2004; it was necessary to replace the playing surface because of age and wear and tear. A paved parking area will be created adjacent to the tennis courts. Verona Park is a popular destination and finding available parking always has been difficult. Creating the additional spaces will address some of the demand for parking.

The updates to the tennis courts and design of the parking area were performed in-house by the Essex County Department of Public Works, which is also monitoring the project to ensure delays are avoided. Sita Construction from Goshen, N.Y., was awarded a publicly bid contract for $582,165 to perform the construction work. The upgrades are being funded with a grant from the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017.

“We take great pride in this park here in Verona and I, along with my wife and the Verona Park Conservancy are heavily invested in keeping this park in great shape for the community to enjoy,” said Verona Mayor Kevin Ryan. “Thank you County Executive DiVincenzo for all that you have done for us here in Verona Park,” he added.

“I want to thank the County Executive and his team for all the support we have received here in Verona Park and we know the community will love these wonderful improvements,” said Charles Heyer from the Verona Park Conservancy. “The Verona Park Conservancy is behind you and we love this park and will continue to work with you to support it,” he added.