Work underway on restoration of land for Union County’s Passaic River Parkway

Demolition work has commenced at 735-737 Springfield Ave. in Berkeley Heights. Once the property is restored, Union County plans to acquire it as an addition to the Passaic River Parkway county park.

UNION COUNTY, NJ — The Union County Board of County Commissioners has announced that work is progressing on the acquisition of a vacant property located at 735-737 Springfield Ave. in Berkeley Heights, to be added to the Passaic River Parkway county park. Demolition of an existing building at this site commenced last month, and restoration work is currently underway.

The property is approximately 1.35 acres in size and is adjacent to the Passaic River on one side. Two other sides are bordered by the Passaic River Parkway, a county-owned, preserved greenway that runs along the Passaic River through New Providence and Summit as well as Berkeley Heights.

“In our highly developed area, adding new open space for public recreation and nature conservation is a significant achievement. This parcel will add a key piece of riverside land to the Passaic River Parkway. It will be another important step in our efforts to complete the vision of an interconnected series of greenways that link our public parks throughout Union County,” said Commissioner Chairperson Rebecca Williams.

Plans for acquiring the Springfield Avenue property were set in motion in 2018, when Berkeley Heights Mayor Angie Devanney and Union County manager Edward Oatman toured the site and discussed its future use as county parkland with the owner. The location was formerly occupied by the Berkeley Plaza catering venue.

“Generations of Union County residents have worked to preserve open space and natural habitat for all Union County residents and visitors to enjoy. We are committed to protecting and improving this legacy for future generations as well,” said Commissioner Alexander Mirabella, who is chairperson of the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

Union County was one of the first counties in the United States to establish its own park system, beginning with a set of five parks encompassing 2,000 acres in the 1920s. Through continued support from the public, the system has grown to include 36 parks and 6,760 acres hosting a range of athletic and passive recreation uses, as well as nature conservation and historic preservation.

Acquisitions through the past 20 years have been supported by the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, established by referendum in 2000.

The acquisition of the Springfield Avenue property will be covered by the trust fund at an anticipated cost of $2,560,000, contingent on demolition and rehabilitation of the property by the current owner.

For more information about the Union County parks system, visit

Photo Courtesy of Union County