Field opening and celebration is Saturday in Belleville

BELLEVILLE – June 17, 2021 – An estimated 2,000 people, music, games and plenty of hot dogs will be on hand at 10 a.m. Saturday, when the entire community is invited to cut the ribbon for the opening of a $3 million sports complex.

The Belleville Board of Education is creating a fun-filled, family-focused party on Saturday to mark the completion of a major renovation of Clearman Field, at Union Avenue and Holmes Street.  The field services School No. 8, at 183 Union Ave., during the school day. Afterward, it is home to some of the school district’s sports programs, as well as open to the entire community based on availability.

“We could not be more excited about what has been created at Clearman Field,” said Schools Superintendent Richard D. Tomko. “We replaced dilapidated fields that consistently flooded with a professional-grade complex, featuring artificial turf, lighting and proper drainage. The new Clearman Field will be enjoyed by generations of Belleville residents.”

Clearman Field, on three acres, had its unofficial opening on June 5, when the Belleville High School softball team played the inaugural game. Other sports teams have also tried out the field, as it is designed to accommodate softball, soccer and lacrosse. It will also be the ideal venue to host moving-up exercises for School No. 8 as well as nearby Belleville Middle School, 279 Washington Ave.

As part of the sweeping project, school officials installed new restrooms and a new sound system, while also refurbishing the field houses for the boys’ and girls’ athletic programs. There is also an asphalt running/walking track.

To mark the big moment on Saturday, school officials are inviting athletes from throughout the grades at the Belleville Public Schools, as well as Class of ’21 graduates at Belleville High School, to cut a gigantic ribbon stretching through the bleachers. There will be ceremonial “first pitches” on the mound, with honorees representing the various generations in town.

After the speeches and photos with local dignitaries on the mound, including Board of Education PresidentChristine Lamparello, the party begins.

A DJ will be playing dance music, an ice cream truck will roll in, the burgers and dogs will be thrown on the grill and a bunch of games will be played on the new field. There will be sack races, base running, and six-foot inflatable soccer balls to kick around, as everyone munches on popcorn, cotton candy and watermelon. And you can’t have a great event without great swag, which is why school staff will be handing our water bottles, beach balls and other mementos from the big celebration.

School officials expressed their appreciation to the Essex County Improvement Authority, which was able to fund the project through low-interest bonds. Work began in October 2020.

“We will be out there until 1 p.m. on Saturday, so I hope you join in the fun,” Tomko said. “We’ve all spent many months apart because of the pandemic, so this is really the perfect time for everyone in Belleville to come together and celebrate this new amenity for all to enjoy!”

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.