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Caldwell/Essex Fells, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announce plans to modernize the playground and tennis courts in Essex County Grover Cleveland Park on Friday, April 20th. The two projects represent almost $1.2 million in improvements to the park’s recreation facilities.

“Grover Cleveland Park is a popular site for families and children, and the playground and tennis courts needed to be replaced due regular wear and tear. Modernizing our recreation facilities is part of our ongoing initiative to keep our parks up to date and able to meet the needs of our residents,” DiVincenzo said.

“No matter where in Essex County you go, no matter what neighborhood, our residents have access to beautiful county parks. It’s a testament to the County Executive and how he continually works with the community,” NJ State Senator and Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz said.

“I never get tired of coming to our parks and watching them get better and better,” Freeholder Patricia Sebold said. “This is another example of the great job our County Executive is doing,” Freeholder Len Luciano said.

“I want to thank Joe DiVincenzo and his team for working with us and helping us get the things we want in the park done. It’s a great partnership,” said Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy President Diane Mensinger.

The playground equipment, originally installed in 2003, is being replaced because of regular wear and tear, and so that the safest conditions can be provide for children. There will be two plays areas near the Children’s House: one for children ages 2-5 and one for children ages 5-12. There are climbing apparatus, slides, spinners and swings for both age groups, including handicap-accessible swings. A new feature is a miniature zip line. The facility will have a rubberized safety surface in areas where play equipment is located. There are also grassy areas where children can run and play. In the center of the playground is a seating area from where parents can watch their children.

PS&S Integrated Services from Newark received a $51,500 professional services contract to design the playground. Picerno-Giordano Construction from Kenilworth was awarded an $899,945 publicly-bid contract to build the playground. The Department of Public Works will monitor the project to ensure delays are avoided. The playground upgrade is being funded through the Essex County Budget. Work began March 1st and is scheduled to be completed by July 1st so children have a full summer to play in the new facility.

The four-court tennis facility is being modernized with a new surface, fencing and equipment. It was last repaved and updated in 2004. The Department of Public Works designed the project in-house and will monitor the construction so delays are avoided. Sita Construction from Goshen, N.Y., was awarded a publicly bid contract of $214,750 to perform the construction. It is scheduled to be completed by September 2018.

Revitalizing Essex County Grover Cleveland Park

In 2013, handicap accessibility was improved with the creation of ADA-compliant parking spaces in the Buttonwood Road lot, installation of handicap accessible tables in the picnic area, repairing walking paths to meet ADA guidelines, installation of signage and making various landscaping upgrades. In 2012, the banks, spillway and weirs of Pine Brook, as it passes through Essex County Grover Cleveland Park, were upgraded as part of a $722,653 project. In 2006, an $825,000 facelift included installing an aeration system in the pond and planting landscaping around the pond edge, renovating the skate house and updating the baseball/softball field with new decorative lights, bleachers, benches and fencing. In 2004, $800,000 was invested to make improvements to the Children’s House and renovate the tennis courts. In 2003, an $850,000 project included a makeover for the playground with modern equipment and a rubberized safety surface and the repaving of walking paths and the parking lot. Also in 2003, the Runnymede Road Bridge was reconstructed.

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 23 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. Opened in 1916, Essex County’s Grover Cleveland Park is 41.48 acres, making it the seventh largest in the park system.