Edgemont Park is currently receiving its final stages of its park improvements. The latest upgrades are geared to help alleviate recurring flooding. Among the last of the improvements is a drainage system that will require pipes to be installed underground. The pipes will help to draw and funnel water from the fields and into the pond.
The improvements began in other areas of the park several years ago. According to Katya Wowk, communications director for the Township, a combined bond ordinance of roughly $600,000 and an open space grant in the amount of $23,000 funded the entire Edgemont Park renovation project. It also includes $320,000 stemming from leftover funding from nearby street improvements. Other upgrades that were completed in the park include lighting, benches, a walkway path,and water fountains.
Padmaja Rao, Chief Financial Officer, added that the latest upgrade to help put a curb on water accumulation in and around the park area has an estimated cost of $90,000, which was the amount that was withheld and originally designated to pay the previous contractor.
“Residents may have noticed there has been a lot of water accumulating at the park and it tends to pool so the water usually had no where to go,” Wowk explained. “Now it will drain into the pond and keep things much drier.”
Wowk added that the contractor began work on April 18. The contractor and landscaper of the prior park’s improvements were not used for the drainage installation portion of the park’s upgrades. Instead, Colonnelli Brothers Inc, located in Hackensack, were contracted by the township for the drainage work.
Deputy Mayor/Second Ward Councilor Robin Schlager, who represents the 2nd Ward which includes Edgemont Park, said the park needed an overhaul because of all the wear and tear done throughout the years, due to its heavy use.
“I’m so happy about the improvements because the park needed a lot of TLC,” Schlager explained. “Therefore, we worked with the town and with Friends of Edgemont Park to come up with a priority list that included new lighting fixtures, benches, and walkway – which was beat up.”
She also added that there was a large overhaul at the Edgemont Shelter House two years ago. A grant for that renovation came from Partners for Health, a local non-profit organization, which supports health initiatives throughout Essex County in order to promote healthy lifestyles. The amount of the grant for those upgrades was over $60,000.
“Partners for Health paid for the interior upgrades, such as new flooring, ceiling, painting and lighting. The township paid for the new roof,” Schlager added. “From what I’ve read, the Edgemont Shelter House used to have ice skating concessions and was originally designated for ice-skaters to take shelter when it was cold outside. Today, it’s a gathering place for the township’s community’s groups and our senior citizens.”
Schlager noted that other areas of the park were finally completed last July, including its parking configuration. Prior improvements entailed dredging of the pond -completed six years ago, along with the construction of a retaining wall built around it. Additionally, the playground was put in approximately 12 years ago.
“The drainage system has been worked on for the past few weeks and should be finished by next week,” she further explained. “We did our due diligence by holding back money from the contractor until our punch-list of contracted items that needed correcting, such as the drainage, among other things that still need to be fixed, were completed.”