Newark, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced on Wednesday, December 28th that the comprehensive renovation and modernization of the Essex County Vailsburg Park Senior Building is complete. The project is part of the County Executive’s ongoing initiative to update park facilities and enhance recreation opportunities for residents.

“Our parks have become the focal points of our communities, so it is important that we provide the most modern conditions for our residents to find recreation and socialize. Renovating the Senior Building is an opportunity to introduce more activity into the park and provides the public with a new way to enjoy the park,” DiVincenzo said.

Showing their support for the project by joining the County Executive at the ribbon cutting were Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake and Freeholders Rufus Johnson and Patricia Sebold.

The Senior Building was completely remodeled. The roof was reconstructed, exterior brick work was repointed and spaces for windows were closed to enhance safety in the building. Inside, new electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling, and fire suppression systems were installed, along with new flooring, walls and restroom fixtures. A kitchen was added which will enable the Essex County Division of Senior Services to expand its Cafes in the Park congregate meal program to Vailsburg Park in the future. This national model links the meal program to the park, and promotes physical fitness, wellness and healthier lifestyles.

The improvements to the building were designed in-house by the Essex County Department of Public Works, which also monitored the progress of the project to avoid delays. MBT Contracting of Lincoln Park was awarded a publicly bid contract for $429,300 to perform the construction work. The upgrades were funded with a grant from the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund.

Revitalizing Essex County Vailsburg Park

 The six Little League baseball fields were upgraded and a synthetic grass surface was installed on one field near South Munn Avenue and Plymouth Street in 2007. In addition, upgrades were made to the basketball court and playground, decorative lighting was installed, park entrances were enhanced, ornamental fencing was installed around the park’s perimeter, and tree maintenance was performed. Earlier in 2003, new equipment and a rubberized safety surface were installed in the playground.

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. Vailsburg Park is 30.32 acres and is the 10th largest park within the Essex County Park System. Land for the park was purchased in 1917 and major design improvements were completed in the 1920s.