New play surface; possible park do-over

Photo by Ron Leir Thomas J. Albino Memorial Park could be in line for a makeover if Lyndhurst can snag county Open Space funding.
Photo by Ron Leir
Thomas J. Albino Memorial Park could be in line for a makeover if Lyndhurst
can snag county Open Space funding.

One municipal playground is due for a partial facelift and another may be in line for a full makeover.

Lyndhurst has been awarded a $63,038 Bergen County Open Space matching grant – requiring a dollarfor- dollar local match – for the Town Hall Park Safety Surface Project.

And the township is applying for a $45,000 Open Space matching grant to help upgrade to the Thomas J. Albino Memorial Park at Orient Way and Valley Brook Ave. The deadline for that application’s submission is Sept. 3 and the township Board of Commissioners voted last Tuesday to authorize applying for the county funds. If it is successful in landing the money, Lyndhurst would have to put up an equal amount to do the project.

For the Town Hall park project, township grants consultant Dave Biunno of GLD Associates, Summit, said the safety surface for the kiddie playground that fronts along Court Ave. was originally installed “eight or nine” years ago and is now “deteriorating” due to “drainage issues.”

At the same time, Biunno said, safety standards set by the state Department of Community Affairs, in line with guidelines by the American Society for Testing and Materials, have changed and, to conform to those new design standards, the existing surfaces for the Town Hall playground “must be replaced.”

Total cost projected for the job, which will involve installation of a “paved in-place rubberized surface with edging” plus adjustments to the drainage system, is $126,000, of which half will be covered by the Open Space Grant, he said.

Given that the job will have to be bid out before a contract can be awarded – all of which can take several months – Biunno said the work will probably not start until spring 2016. Once begun, the job should be completed within a month or so, he said.

Under terms of the county grant, “the use of this County Trust Fund grant towards this approved park project must be completed by or about July 15, 2017….”

Meanwhile, Biunno said the township will likely not be notified until next year whether the county will be awarding it funding for the proposed Albino Park improvements which are projected to cost $90,000.

Biunno said the park – dedicated to a Lyndhurst police officer killed in the line of duty on Aug. 5, 1947, while serving an eviction notice – “has fallen into disrepair” and the few play structures are “outdated.”

A few swings, a small jungle gym and a solitary play horse, along with a picnic table whose concrete footings are exposed, would be replaced by new play apparatus, Biunno said.

“Honestly, it’s an eyesore, particularly as a sort of gateway to the commercial district along Valley Brook Ave.,” he added.

So the township plan is to revamp the park by installing a series of new play apparatus, safety surface, benches, landscaping, site clearance and a drainage system, along with a new plaque to properly honor the fallen officer, he said.

Biunno said the township expects to learn by March or April 2016 about the disposition of its grant application.

If it is successful in winning funding, after the project is bid out and awarded, work should start by fall 2016 and should be done within four to five months, he said.

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