Playtime priorities for borough kids

Photo by Lisa Pezzolla
Rendering by General Recreation, Inc./ Washington School playground as it is now (top) and how it will look in future.


By Ron Leir

Children in this borough can expect to be having a swinging time by next spring and summer.
That’s because North Arlington will be replacing park and playground equipment at least a decade or more old with what Mayor Peter Massa and Borough Administrator Terence Wall describe as new state of the art play equipment.
The borough will be tapping Bergen County’s Open Space Trust Fund for half the cost of the project, they said.
Councilman Joseph Bianchi, in charge of parks and recreation, estimated that the new equipment would run around $214,000.
“We have paid into the (open space) fund for a long time and I am very pleased that we can now access some of that money to help improve recreation for youngsters and lessen the cost to taxpayers,” Bianchi said.
“These upgrades of our recreational facilities will be welcome quality of life improvements to our community,” he added.
Applying the open space funding to make life more enjoyable for borough youngsters was determined to be “the most appropriate place to invest,” the mayor said.
Two municipal parks off Schuyler Ave. – Zadroga Park north of Carrie Road and Allan Park between Stratford Place and Vanderbilt Place – are due for play facelifts.
Additionally, parking facilities at Allan Park will be restructured to provide better access to residents.
Playgrounds at Washington School, on High St. between Albert and Biltmore Sts.; Jefferson School, at Hedden Terrace and Prospect Ave.; and Roosevelt School, at Canterbury Ave. and Webster St., will see makeovers.

Jefferson School playground (top) will get new equipment.



Roosevelt School play area (top) will benefit from improved facilities (bottom).


All of these play areas “get used routinely and all need maintenance and repair,” Massa said.
The new play equipment “will be accessible for children of all abilities” and will include such playground staples as swings, slides, climbing equipment, chutes and ladders, according to Wall.
Bid specifications for the project are expected to be completed within a month, Wall said.
Wall said the borough is also reviewing the possibility of installing a spray park at Macaluso Park, at Riverside Ave. and Eagle St.
“This is the proposed location due to availability of space and proximity to water,” Wall said.
In other recreation developments, the borough has posted on its web site an announcement that environmental testing of post-flooding soil conditions at the borough Little League field at Hendel Ave., high school football field and Riverside Park soccer and baseball fields show that these playing surfaces “pose no risk to children.”
The soil studies were conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Birdsall Services Group, an engineering firm retained by the borough.
At the Little League field, Birdsall found below-risk levels of fecal coliform bacteria in the soil which the engineers attributed to goose droppings on the field. Birdsall believes that those levels will drop over time and that the borough can expedite that process by applying lime to the field.
At all sites, EPA reported that levels of contaminants such as dioxin and PCBs were “all below levels of concern.”
“Based on the analysis, the EPA does not plan to do further sampling and deems that cleanup actions are not warranted at this time,” the borough’s announcement said.
Also: North Arlington continues to anticipate the county’s completion improvements to its portion of Riverside Park.
This project is to provide a better drainage system that will more efficiently protect the condition of the ball fields on the site and thereby give North Arlington kids more playing opportunities there.
Two facing girls’ softball fields, a multi-purpose field suitable for soccer and football, and 6-lane track, plus a new baseball diamond geared for Babe Ruth and/or high school play, are projected.
The county has talked about turf fields and a synthetic track; lighting for the fields is uncertain.
New bathroom facilities and improved pedestrian walkways through the park are also on the improvement list.

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