Union County announces 2021 children’s recreation grant awards for municipalities

UNION COUNTY, NJ — The Union County Board of County Commissioners announced that grants have been awarded to 20 municipalities for improvements to recreation resources for children, through the Kids Recreation Trust Fund. In addition, 19 municipalities were awarded matching grants for planting new trees through the Greening Union County program.

Both grant programs are funded through the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

“Since 2000, the Open Space Trust Fund has helped maintain, improve and expand our public recreation and open space resources,” said Commissioner Chairperson Alexander Mirabella. “The pandemic has awakened a new spirit to reconnect with the outdoors, making these grant programs all the more important throughout the Union County community.”

“These two grant programs enhance the quality of life in our urban and suburban communities by providing assistance to local recreation programs for children and by helping municipalities create beneficial treescapes,” said Commissioner Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded, who is the chairperson of the commissioner board’s Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

The Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund was established by popular referendum in 2000. It has given the commissioner board the ability to preserve more than 315 acres of land throughout Union County. In addition to acquisition of land, creation of parkland and updating of recreational facilities throughout the county, the grant programs of the trust fund provide an avenue for municipalities to focus on their hometown recreational priorities, increase tree plantings and stabilize and restore historic sites.

The following municipalities received grants from the 2021 round of the Kids Recreation Trust Fund:

• Berkeley Heights received $40,000 for replacement of wooden picnic tables, installation of security cameras and tennis court improvements at Columbia Park; and for turf field drainage assessment and DEP permit analysis for the Lower Columbia Park soccer field.

• Clark received $100,000 to convert existing baseball and soccer fields to turf.

• Cranford received $60,000 for indoor tennis court renovation, Johnson Park beautification and the Adams Avenue Field concession stand.

• Elizabeth received $150,000 for improvements to the Sixth Street Playground, installing drainage improvements, lighting, landscaping, trash and recycling receptacles, and bike racks.

• Fanwood received $30,000 for installation of a playground gazebo at Forest Road Park.

• Garwood received $30,000 for removing curbing and constructing an Americans with Disabilities Act–accessible ramp at Hartman Park and a pavilion at the Garwood Sports and Recreation Complex.

• Hillside received $43,055 for installation of new, upgraded basketball court surfacing at Maple Avenue Park.

• Kenilworth received $30,000 for new and improved park equipment at the borough’s three parks, with specific concentration on Urquhart and Louis Wood parks.

• Linden received $50,000 for reconstruction of the existing basketball courts at St. Marks Park.

• Mountainside received $30,000 for improvements to the Deerfield School baseball and softball field and Echo Brook Field at Borough Hall.

• New Providence received $30,000 for removal and replacement of the pavilion in the center of Veterans Memorial Park to provide a more user-friendly park space.

• Plainfield received $33,500 for resurfacing the basketball courts at Maple Crest Park.

• Rahway received $60,000 for replacing the playground structure and safety surface at Grover Cleveland field.

• Roselle received $60,000 for improvements to Poplar Street Park, including replacing equipment per ADA and Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements and addressing drainage and landscaping issues.

• Roselle Park received $40,000 for playground safety and equipment improvements to Acker Park and Aldene Park.

• Scotch Plains received $65,000 for playground improvements and upgrades to the walkways and landscaping at Greenside Park.

• Springfield received $40,000 for installation of modern and interactive playground elements at Irwin Park.

• Summit received $50,000 for improvements to the paddle tennis courts at Wilson Park, replacing wooden boards, and updating the park’s entrance to make it ADA-compliant with a wheelchair-accessible ramp.

• Union received $70,000 for the first phase of a large-scale upgrade to Weber Park, including the installation of a bank-shot basketball court, relocating the hitting wall, installing a curb cut, making accessible parking spaces, converting one tennis court to include pickleball lines and creating a new walkway.

• Westfield received $43,320.40 for the installation of an ADA-compliant playground structure and ADA-compliant equipment at Windsor Park.

The following municipalities received grants through the 2021 round of the Greening Union County grant program: Berkeley Heights, $4,000; Clark, $3,500; Cranford, $2,500; Elizabeth, $16,000; Fanwood, $1,375; Garwood, $2,500; Hillside, $2,500; Kenilworth, $3,000; Linden, $6,000; New Providence, $2,500; Plainfield, $10,000; Rahway, $5,000; Roselle, $2,500; Roselle Park, $5,000; Scotch Plains, $3,750; Springfield, $4,000; Summit, $8,000; Union, $7,000; and Westfield, $10,000.