County announces plans to build bandstand, modernize fields at Brookdale Park

Photo Courtesy of Essex County
Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., center, announces two construction projects taking place in Brookdale Park. Joining him at the ceremonial groundbreaking are local elected officials, members of the Brookdale Park Conservancy and Essex County representatives.

BLOOMFIELD / MONTCLAIR, NJ — On Oct. 11, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. announced two construction projects taking place in Brookdale Park. The first project is the construction of a permanent bandstand and open-air pavilion; the second includes improvements to the four Little League/softball fields and soccer field.

“The creation of the bandstand will help us reduce the amount of work needed to put on a concert and help us put on a more professional presentation when we host concerts and other events in Brookdale Park. It also follows (landscape architect Frederick Law) Olmsted’s idea to create pavilions to attract people to the outdoors and give them shelter when they are enjoying open spaces in the parks system,” DiVincenzo said. “Putting synthetic playing surfaces on the infield section of the fields will improve play, reduce maintenance costs and provide our young athletes with more up-to-date fields on which to play.”

“The exemplary oversight of our county finances allows us to do these projects in Brookdale Park. These are truly amazing improvements that make this park a countywide destination,” county Commissioner Brendan Gill said.

“The new bandstand and field improvements are welcome additions to Brookdale Park,” Brookdale Park Conservancy President Don McLoughlin said.

“As mayor of Bloomfield, I am excited about these two projects. The concerts are always great events and to upgrade the fields will be a benefit to the children who play on them,” said Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia, who was joined by Council members Nick Joanow, Wartyna Davis and Rich Rockwell.

“The dedication of dollars makes a difference in this park and for all of Essex County. The field improvements will provide additional recreation opportunities for our young athletes,” said Essex County administrator Robert Jackson, who is a former mayor of Montclair.

The bandstand will be used during the Essex County Free Summer Concert Series, which regularly hosts weekly Friday night concerts throughout the summer and an Independence Day concert and fireworks spectacular. When not in use for concerts or other programming, the bandstand will be accessible as an open-air pavilion that can be utilized for shade by the public.

The bandstand, which will be 19.5 feet wide and 30 feet long, will be equipped with rigging, lighting and electrical power and storage space. Additional site improvements include tree pruning and the removal of dead trees, installation of lighting along nearby walking paths and around the bandstand to enhance public safety, repairs of paving and curbs, and installation of benches and garbage cans. The bandstand will be handicap accessible.

The fields are located in the northern section of the park. The installation of the synthetic playing surface on four Little League/softball fields will stabilize the infields and the improved drainage that is part of the field improvements will help alleviate flooding. The outfield sections of the ballfields will remain natural grass. In the stadium, sports lighting will be installed at the soccer field.

Barreto Dowd Landscape Architecture and Site Planning, of Howell was awarded a professional services contract for $241,520 to design the bandstand. ZN Construction, of Elmwood Park, was awarded a publicly bid contract for $1,245,000 to build the bandstand. The bandstand is being funded through a grant from the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund. Work started earlier this month and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022.

French and Parrello from Wall were awarded a professional services contract for $157,450 to design the field improvements. The field improvements will be funded with grants from the American Rescue program and Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund. The fields are scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2023.