Upgrades and renovations continue at 40th St. Park

IRVINGTON, NJ — Earlier this year, Mayor Tony Vauss and Recreation Department Director Donald Malloy announced that the long-awaited 40th Street Park renovation and upgrade had finally begun, which also meant no summer camps or activities will be scheduled at the park during July and August.

“We’re operating out of all the parks in town, except 40th Street, which for the first time will be closed this summer; that’s because we are renovating and upgrading 40th Street with a $650,000 Green Acres grant,” Malloy said Monday, May 29. “I’m excited. … We’re going to enlarge that building, make it a bigger community place for our residents to enjoy and our block associations to have their meetings, etc. So I’m excited about that.”

Now that summer has begun, Councilman Vern Cox and at large Councilwoman Charnette Frederic have updates regarding the progress in 40th Street Park.

“We are moving forward with the development of this neighborhood park,” Cox said Tuesday, June 13. “The whole idea is to make the park more useful, by improving and expanding the existing building, redoing the turf, enhancing the baseball field and stand, installing a new walking track and much, much more. Mayor Vauss and the Irvington Township Council made a commitment two years ago to get this project done.”

The Green Acres grant is about to yield dividends for the West Ward, Cox said, and construction will be completed by summer 2018.

“We are excited about the work that is being done and feel that these improvements will provide a much-needed benefit to the community in the long run,” Cox said.

Frederic echoed Cox’s sentiments Thursday, June 29. The avid health and fitness enthusiast sponsored annual community walks in Irvington Park in the South Ward for years before she was elected as a West Ward councilwoman, and said she’s looking forward to organizing even more community activities for her constituents.

“I started out in politics being healthy and that’s what I want to continue doing,” said Frederic on Thursday, June 29. “It’s not about politics, it’s about it’s about the way of life in our community. A strong community, a healthy community and the township of Irvington. That’s what I’m about.”

Frederic, Cox, Vauss and Malloy credited former township health official Atif Nazir with applying for and obtaining the $650,000 Green Acres grant that made the 40th Street Park renovation and upgrade project possible. He also acquired a $9,000 grant from Sustainable New Jersey to resurface the park’s playground.

When the township first received the grants three years ago, Nazir said the goal was to promote physical activity in the community. Vauss said that goal is still the same, as well as plans to make Irvington cleaner, safer and a better place to live, work and play.

“Since I’ve taken office, we’ve tried to initiate several different things,” said Vauss on Monday, May 29. “One of the things that I talked about during my mayoral campaign is that the township should not be in the recreation business. That’s not what we do. We need to partner with other people, who already have established programs in recreation, (and) bring as many of those programs to our township, so our children will have more variety of things to do.

“I mean, we have art, we have dance, we have so many programs now that we didn’t have before, because we’re looking forward to molding our children, giving them opportunities in different areas, having them be able to pursue their passions. It’s one of the most important things here and we just keep it going.”