Irvington, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that the Essex County Irvington Park Playground received a complete overhaul with new play apparatus and a rubberized safety surface on Friday, September 30th. The old playground was more than 14 years old and needed to be replaced because of regular wear and tear. Providing up-do-date recreation facilities is part of the County Executive’s ongoing initiative to continue the revitalization of the Essex County Parks System.

“The playground is one of the focal points of Irvington Park and is where children play and socialize. This was one of the oldest playgrounds in our Parks System and the tremendous use by the community warranted us replacing it with modern equipment and a safety surface,” DiVincenzo said.

“This new playground is just the tip of the iceberg of what the County has done for the Township of Irvington. Under the leadership of Joe DiVincenzo, they have partnered with us to transform our community and improve our residents’ quality of life. I know our children will benefit from this facility,” Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss said.

“The playground looks beautiful and we really appreciate the attention that the County Executive is giving to Irvington Park. The kids will really enjoy this,” Irvington Councilwoman and President of the Irvington Park Conservancy Sandra Jones said.

“My late husband was dedicated to keeping children safe and providing them with places to play and grow. Thank you, Joe, for keeping Bilal’s dream alive with this playground. I know he would be proud,” said Baseemah Beasley, wife of the late Bilal Beasley, who served as an Irvington Councilman and Essex County Freeholder.

The Irvington Park Playground received a complete makeover. The main climbing apparatus will have a train theme. In addition, there will be swings, a hollow log for children to climb on and crawl through, a rock climbing feature, cargo net climber, a spinning feature and a mister for water play. Apparatus will be arranged in sections that are age-appropriate for children ages 2 to 5 years and 6 to 12 years. In front of the D. Bilal Beasley Community Center will be a picnic area and stroller parking area. Whereas the old playground had open areas of natural grass, the surface of the new playground will be completely comprised of a rubberized safety surface. The old playground equipment and rubberized safety surface was installed 13 years ago and needed to be replaced because of regular wear and tear. About 200 trees and bushes will be planted around the playground area and sections of the wrought iron fence along May Street will be repaired.

Remington & Vernick from Secaucus received a $51,000 contract to design the playground. Shauger Property Services from East Orange was awarded a publicly bid contract for $988,553 to perform the construction work. The Essex County Department of Public Works monitored the project and answered questions to ensure delays were avoided. The playground upgrade was funded with grants from the NJ Green Acres program and the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund and through the Essex County Capital Improvement Budget. Work started in May and was completed in just four months.

Revitalizing Essex County Irvington Park

In 2016, the parks building was completely renovated and renamed as the “Essex County D. Bilal Beasley Community Center” in honor of the late Irvington Councilman and Essex County Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley. In 2011, a synthetic grass surface soccer field was installed and three entrances to the park were upgraded as part of a $1.2 million modernization project. In 2006, a two-story, 2,100-square-foot addition was constructed onto the community center to create more space for the public to meet, storage space and public restrooms. The project cost $897,000. In 2004, the tennis courts, walking track, basketball courts, tennis courts, softball fields and three park entrances were upgraded as part of a $1 million facelift. In 2003, Essex County spent $103,000 to install a rubberized safety surface in the Irvington Park playground and $38,000 to improve the lighting in Irvington Park and Branch Brook Park in Newark. Essex County has partnered with the Irvington Amateur Radio Team (I-ART) to obtain funding from the New Jersey Green Acres program and the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund.

The Essex County Park System was created in 1895 and is the first county park system established in the United States. The Park System consists of more than 6,000 acres and has 22 parks, five reservations, an environmental center, a zoo, Treetop Adventure Course, ice skating rink, roller skating rink, three public golf courses, golf driving range, two miniature golf courses, three off-leash dog facilities, a castle and the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens. Irvington Park is 24.38 acres and is the 12th largest park in the Essex County system. Land for the park was purchased in 1906 and improvements to the site were completed in 1913.