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PRESS RELEASE
December 11, 2014

ESSEX COUNTY FREEHOLDERS
HONOR DOUGLAS FREEMAN OF NEWARK
PRESIDENT AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE WEEQUAHIC PARK SPORTS AUTHORITY

(Newark, NJ) – The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders honored Newark resident Douglas Freeman, President and Co-Founder of the Weequahic Park Sports Authority, during its Wednesday, December 10th, meeting at the Hall of Records.  The Board’s Commendation was sponsored and presented by Freeholder Carol Clark of East Orange.


Pictured above with Douglas Freeman (center, holding Commendation) are: Freeholder President Blonnie Watson (front row, far left), Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold (front row, 2nd from right) and Freeholders Brendan Gill (front row, far right), Carol Clark (back row, right) and Gerald Owens (back row, left).  PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

“Tonight it is my privilege to honor a young man who has truly distinguished himself in recent years for his contributions to the community”, said Freeholder Clark.  “What began as a sincere desire to improve the facilities in Weequahic Park has blossomed into something much, much more, the Weequahic Park Sports Authority, thanks to Doug”, said Clark.  “He saw a need, and unlike so many others who see, but don’t do, he did something about it.”  She went on to explain that Freeman has pursued his vision of young people engaged in athletic activities, who then translate their engagement into success in the classroom.

Mr. Freeman, a very active member of the community who also serves as District #44 Leader for the Essex County Democratic Committee, recognized a pressing need to develop recreational programming for young people in Weequahic Park and co-founded the Weequahic Park Sports Authority (WPSA), which he now serves as its President.

Through his efforts, the County undertook a $320,000 project to renovate the “Ernest Booker Handball Court” in the park, and the WPSA has hosted several clean-up projects, entertainment events, family outings and tennis programming, for which he even earned USTA certification as a Tennis Instructor.  He also serves as a parent liaison for the Essex County First Tee Golf Program, which teaches golf and so much more to young people.  Other activities sponsored by the WPSA include: Let’s Move programming, baseball fundamental training and golf awareness, as well as assisting the Essex County Division of Senior Services distribute fruits and vegetables to 1,300 people and provide hot Thanksgiving dinners to more than 100 people.

Freeman, who worked for 10 years in the telecommunications industry, also helped the County save $30,000 by installing high-speed Internet wiring for the Off-Site and Out-of-Bounds locations within the park.  He is a 1990 graduate of Weequahic High School, served in the U. S. Army Reserves and is currently the owner and founder of a Newark-based independent communication and insurance brokerage company.

Freeman thanked the freeholders for their support and talked about the words of wisdom offered by Freeholder President Watson when he would attend Board meetings to complain about the lack of recreational opportunities for kids, “She told me that whenever you come forward with a complaint, you should also come with a solution.  So I took her advice, rethought my strategy, and created the Weequahic Park Sports Authority.”  He spoke of all that has been accomplished in the last 2 ½ years through the members’ “sweat equity” because, “Before you can ask others for money, you need to show your commitment through your own hard work.”  He concluded his remarks by saying, “Weequahic Park is back!”

Freeholder Carol Clark has represented District 3 (East Orange, Orange, South Orange and parts of Newark’s West and Central Wards) and will leave office at the end of the year. 

                                                          

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For Additional Information:
Gary Kroessig, Public Information
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders
973-621-4452
gkroessig@freeholders.essexcountynj.org

Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695