Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. presented his 11th annual State of the County Address yesterday, outlining County achievements, highlighting services and programs offered by Essex County, and announcing plans for 2014.
“We all know that Essex County is a special place and that motivates us to bridge the gaps for families in need, foster educational opportunities, maintain our long-term fiscal planning and create a thriving environment for future generations,” DiVincenzo said. “The country has had opportunities to witness some of our outstanding accomplishments, but we here have always had a bird’s eye view of the diversity of our neighborhoods, our town’s strengths and our County’s beauty.”
The county brought in over $70 million through partnerships with other counties, state and federal agencies, DiVincenzo reported. “I run this government like a business,” said the County Executive. He pointed to national recognition received by many departments in Essex County government, including the county bond rating being upgraded to AA Stable by Fitch Ratings, developing new recurring revenue sources, Branch Brook Park being named one of the 10 Great Public Spaces by the American Planning Association, and Turtle Back Zoo earning a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.com.
DiVincenzo also highlighted infrastructure projects undertaken throughout the Parks System and network of county roads affecting our area, such as decorative lighting in Brookdale Park, walking path rehabilitation in Eagle Rock Reservation, irrigation system in Anderson Park, restroom facilities in Verona Park, paddle boating at the Orange Reservoir, and the development of the Sea Lion Sound, Prehistoric Playground, and Treetop Adventure in Turtle Back Zoo.
The County Executive looked to the future, as well. Among the projects and programs planned for 2014 that he mentioned are a new Public Works building, Education Center at Turtle Back Zoo, a new synthetic grass surface, rubberized track and fitness course in Brookdale Park, the development of synthetic grass surface baseball and softball fields in Watsessing Park, interior renovations at Kip’s Castle, and the creation of a dog park and playground at the South Mountain Recreation Complex.
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