By Ron Leir
Now that the warm weather has arrived, communities in the region are focused on recreation opportunities for youths and North Arlington is no exception.
The borough made use of a 50% matching grant of nearly $65,000 from the Bergen County Open Space Trust Fund to upgrade two municipal play areas – Allan Park and Zadroga Park – and three public school playgrounds at Jefferson, Roosevelt and Washington Elementary Schools. The borough applied roughly the same amount of capital cash toward the project.
Those spaces are the beneficiaries of new “wood chips with carpet” play surfaces replacing asphalt, and new play equipment deemed appropriate and safe for younger children.
And the borough’s Board of Education is busy assembling a new bleachers for the Vikings football field on Passaic Ave. off Hedden Terrace. Landsite Construction Co., of Roselle Park, was awarded the contract as the lowest bidder for $328,800.
Schools Supt. Oliver Stringham said the district hopes to have the job completed by September.
The old bleachers, along with the field and track, locker rooms and concessions stand facilities, were deluged by Hurricane Irene last fall and the school board has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for $68,263 in storm damage reimbursement costs, including $41,766 to replace or repair athletic equipment.
“We’re hoping to do a new fieldhouse next year,” Stringham said, while a new field and track, however, “we’re still exploring.”
Elsewhere, Kearny will hold a ribbon-cutting June 5 at 6 p.m. for the newly renovated Brighton Ave. playground and parking lot, between Bergen and Wilson Aves., formerly known as the Shade Tree Nursery Park, in the First Ward.
The town contracted with Rich Picerno Builders, of Kenilworth, to do the work for $257,601 and received a Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund grant of $200,000 to help offset the cost, according to Kearny CFO Shuaib Firozvi.
As of last week, Firozvi said that the contract was still open because of some open “punch-list” items for the contractor to complete.
In Belleville, the township secured rubber safety surfacing for its Mary St. Park at Emmet St. and for the “Pistol Range” play area at Joralemon St. and Hoover Ave. from Rubberecycle, Inc., of Lakewood. The Recreation Center at Joralemon St. and Garden Ave. is also scheduled for similar work later this month. The rubberized carpet replaces mulch surfaces. The township financed the safety improvements through a bond for nearly $100,000.
Additionally, the township has awarded a $589,000 contract to Stonebridge Development LLC, of Watchung, to rebuild the Friendly House recreation facility at Florence Ave. and Frederick St. Belleville received bids for the job on April 20 and the Watchung firm was deemed to be the lowest responsible bidder.
On May 22, the governing body voted to transfer $185,000 from a portion of the fiscal 2010 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) account reserved for the Essex County Track & Field Project to help pay for the Friendly House construction.
Interim Township Manager Kevin Esposito said that before the job can start, Belleville needs approval of the CDBG transfer from the Essex County Board of Freeholders but no opposition is expected.
“We hope to begin building by late summer or early fall,” Esposito said. The job should take no more than six months to complete, he added.
Plans call for construction of a one-story, 20-foot-tall, 4,250 square foot structure with concrete floor, bathrooms and office which, according to Esposito, will be used as a “multi-purpose” facility for recreational use and as a new location for the township’s nursery/day care program, which currently is housed at the Recreation Center.
In Harrison, the federal government has committed funding for a “trip-safe” resurfacing of the rubberized matting at the playgrounds at the Harrison Housing Authority’s Harrison Gardens and Kingsland Court sites. Design and engineering specifications have already been done and the job should be bid out shortly for completion by late July, according to HHA Interim Executive Director Zinnerford Smith.
Some months ago, Harrison completed installation of lights at its Little League field on Harrison Ave. and a resurfacing of its soccer court on Frank Rodgers Blvd. South.
In Nutley, the Township Commission in late April contracted with Dakota Excavating, of Hackensack, for an upgraded softball field at Owens Park at the east end of Park Ave. near River Road. The $1.28 million project is being funded by a Green Acres allocation.