County cuts the ribbon on improvements at Watsessing Park

BLOOMFIELD / EAST ORANGE, NJ – The expansion of the all-access playground has been completed and the renovation of the rubberized walking track has started in Watsessing Park.

“We are continually looking for ways to improve our recreation facilities to ensure they meet the needs of the community. Adding new equipment to the all-access playground and updating the walking track will enhance recreation opportunities for our residents,” Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. said.

“On behalf of the board, it is wonderful to partner with our county executive on a project like this. Joe has really hit another home run with this one,” said Board of County Commissioners Vice President Carlos Pomares, who was joined by Commissioner Patricia Sebold.

“It makes me proud that we are here in Bloomfield to expand on this facility. We appreciate these wonderful additions to the playground,” said Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia, who was joined by Bloomfield Council members Ted Gamble, Jenny Mundell and Rich Rockwell.

“The fact the county listened and has continued to build upon this playground is greatly appreciated by the families who lobbied for it and use it,” Montclair resident Lesley Scammell said.

Opened in 2019, the all-access playground features apparatus that is accessible to children of all physical abilities. After the opening, residents approached the county executive with recommendations for additional play equipment. The new pieces of equipment include a swing and merry-go-round that accommodate children who use a wheelchair, and a sand table.

Remington & Vernick Engineers from Secaucus designed the playground expansion under an existing contract. Picerno Giordano Construction from Kenilworth was awarded a publicly bid contract for $277,922 to install the additional playground apparatus. Grants from the NJ Department of Community Affairs and Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund funded the expansion project. Work started in December and was completed in six months.

The walking track was last resurfaced in 2014 and needs to be resurfaced due to regular wear and tear. The renovation was designed in-house by the Department of Public Works. American Athletic Track and Turf from Southampton Township received a publicly-bid contract for $211,575 to perform the construction work. The improvements are being funded through the Essex County capital budget. Work started earlier this month and is scheduled to be completed this summer.