Irvington, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced a project to renovate the original, one-story section of the Essex County Irvington Park Field House in Irvington on Thursday, November 12th. The upgrades will provide park visitors with modern accommodations to meet and host events, and are part of the County Executive’s ongoing initiative to enhance park facilities so they continue to meet the needs of the community.

Before making his remarks, the County Executive announced that the renovated building would be named as the “D. Bilal Beasley Community Center” in honor of the late D. Bilal Beasley, who served as a member of the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Irvington City Council. “Bilal Beasley was a dedicated public servant who always worked to improve the quality of life for residents. He worked constantly with the administration to enhance Irvington Park and would have loved this project,” DiVincenzo said. “The buildings in our parks are important features because they provide a place for the community to gather, socialize and participate in group activities. The renovations to the original field house structure will enhance accommodations and provide a suitable atmosphere for residents,” he added.

“I have to give credit to the County Executive, because when you look at the blueprint we are following to revitalize Irvington, it is the same blueprint Joe D. used for the county,” Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss said. “We have had a strong partnership with the County since Day One and the changes being made to this park are an example of what can be done when we work together,” he added.

The original one-story section of the Irvington Park Field House will receive a complete facelift, including new doors and windows, ceiling and floor tiles, painting and restroom fixtures. In addition, the current kitchen will be upgraded so that the Essex County Division of Senior Services can bring its Café in the Park congregate meal program for senior citizens to the Park. The building was expanded in 2006 when a two-story, 2,100-square-foot addition was constructed.

Representatives of the community looked forward to the renovations.

“This is another awesome project that is being done because of the vision of the County Executive,” Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake said. “The members of the Freeholder Board know that our colleague Freeholder Lebby Jones is a strong advocate for Irvington. We are pleased to follow her passion and work with the County Executive on another project that will improve the community,” Freeholder Vice President Brendan Gill said.

“The renovations we are making will provide better facilities for our senior citizens, children and members of the community. I look forward to seeing these project completed and Irvington Park overflowing with people,” Freeholder Lebby Jones said.

Sandra Jones, who serves as a member of the Irvington Council and is President of the Irvington Park Conservancy, said the improvements will be well received in the community and will help attract more people to use the park.

“These are well-deserved and much-need improvements. It’s another example of the great work that the County Executive is doing in all of the parks,” Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker said. “Joe is the best at obtaining resources to make improvements to benefit the community. Because when people see improvements, they know someone cares,” Assemblyman Ralph Caputo said.

The Essex County Department of Public Works designed the improvements to the building. Daskal Construction from Wallington received a publicly bid contract for $486,247 to perform the construction work. The Essex County Department of Public Works will monitor the project to answer questions and avoid delays. The project is being funded with a grant from the Essex County Community Development Block Grant Program. It is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2016.

Revitalizing Essex County Irvington Park

The modernization of the soccer field and entrance enhancements is the latest project in a comprehensive initiative to modernize facilities in Essex County’s Irvington Park. In 2006, a two-story, 2,100-square-foot addition was constructed onto the park field house to create more space for the community 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.