Joe D. unveils plans for Belleville ball field upgrades; Melham excited for improvements to come

Plans to modernize two Little League baseball/softball fields and create a soccer field in Essex County Belleville Park were unveiled by County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. and various other dignitaries last week.

The project is part of the county executive’s ongoing initiative to revitalize the Essex County Parks System and provide up-to-date recreation facilities to meet the needs of the community.

“We are continually looking for ways to improve our recreation facilities and make visits to our parks more enjoyable for the public. Our parks have become the focal points in the community and residents rely on our open spaces for recreation, respite and rejuvenation. The improvements we are making in Belleville Park will enhance playing conditions and meet the long-range athletic needs of the community,” DiVincenzo said.

Belleville Mayor Michael A. Melham says he’s thrilled his town will be the beneficiaries of the project.

“I grew up playing soccer in this park; it is where I scored my first goal,” Melham said. “Essex County has been great. When we asked for a concert to be staged here in the summer, they made it happen. And then when we asked for the fields to be upgraded, they agreed to do it. It is an honor to have such a great project happen in Belleville.”

Deputy Mayor Vincent Cozzarelli and Councilman Steve Rovell were both on hand for the announcement.

So, too, was one of Belleville’s most noted senior citizens.

“A park is where children are supposed to be happy and safe and that’s what this is all about. Thank you for taking care of our children,” 95-year-old Belleville resident Eleanor Guarino, who has been a long-time advocate for the park, said.

Two existing Little League fields will be modernized with an improved underground drainage system and synthetic playing surfaces on the on the infield portions of both fields. The outfields will remain natural grass.

New fencing, covered dugouts, bleachers for spectators, pathways and landscaping will be installed. A third softball field will be replaced with a new synthetic surface soccer field that will also be lined for lacrosse. Pathways through the park and landscaping also will be updated.

Neglia Engineering, of Lyndhurst, received a professional-services contract of $130,000 to design the field improvements. Turco Golf Inc. from Pompton Lakes was awarded a publicly bid contract of $2,759,890 to perform the construction work.

The Essex County Department of Public Works will monitor the project to ensure delays are avoided. The project is being funded with grants from the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund, New Jersey Green Acres Program and the American Rescue Fund.

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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.