Montclair’s Edgemont Park House Improvements Continue

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Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson, along with town officials and employees, joined Montclair senior citizens at Edgemont Park House Thursday to mark the many improvements to the building and discuss what’s to come.

“Over the years we’ve had people voice their concerns and complaints about the state of Edgemont Park and the Park House,” said Mayor Jackson. “We needed to make Edgemont the showpiece of the community that it once was.”

The building started to receive much-needed renovations once Montclair Health Department identified the space as a location for senior activities.

In November of 2012, Partners for Health Foundation hosted a community-wide briefing entitled, “How Can We Help Older Residents of Montclair Age in Place?” The briefing was designed to present data, themes and other information that had emerged after studies and surveys were conducted in the Township to assess senior livability.

“Several major themes emerged, which demonstrated that Montclair had a wealth of community-based assets and resources that supported livability for our older residents,” said Health & Human Services Director Sue Portuese. ”The greatest areas of concern were those that affected our older citizens the ability to age in place; such as transportation, taxes, housing, financial stability and community.”

As the staff liaison to the Senior Citizen Advisory Committee, Portuese was aware that the Township’s senior citizens wanted a center for activities and felt this was something that the Department could take action on.

“The first step was to identify a township-designated space where we could provide programs for older residents to learn, play and congregate,” said Ms. Portuese. ”We obtained permission to use Edgemont Park House as the site for this project and partnered with the Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs to help make it happen.”

(L-R standing) – Health & Human Services Director Sue Portuese, Acting Township Manager Timothy Stafford, Township CFO Padmaja Rao, Mayor Robert Jackson, Acting Township Purchasing Agent Ray Carnevale and his wife Donna.

In August of 2013, the Partners for Health Foundation awarded the Township a $61,500 grant to make renovations and purchase furniture and supplies to make the space more inviting.

The grand opening and ribbon cutting for the newly-renovated Edgemont Park House was held in May of 2016, to coincide with Older American’s Month. Since that date, the Department has scheduled numerous quality programs, including the MILL classes (Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning), art classes, various forms of exercise, club groups, movies, etc., from Monday through Friday each week.

Programming has expanded and Edgemont has become a busy hub of activity and socialization.

“There is no doubt that the senior activities offered at Edgemont Park House have added to the quality of life for our older residents,” said Senior Citizens Advisory Committee Chair, Ann Lippel. “The thoughtful selection of programming, ranging from crafts to exercise to intellectual pursuits, clearly respond to the diversity of Montclair’s seniors. This program has proven to be a very successful and popular effort. We are grateful to the Township and especially the Division of Senior Services for the creativity and quality invested in this program.”

Dr. Katie York. Photo: Montclair Township

The Township also hired Dr. Katie York in 2016 as full-time Senior Services/Lifelong Montclair Director. Michelle DeWitt was brought on as half-time Senior Citizens Coordinator and long-time department employee Linda Tate has been working at Edgemont Park House assisting with senior programming for the past several years.

“I am grateful to the Township Council for their support toward making Montclair more age-friendly, and I appreciate all the effort of our staff and volunteers who have furthered that vision in Edgemont Park House,” said Dr. York.

Improvements to Edgemont Park House include the following:

· Painted interior (Boy Scouts project)

· Replaced flooring with wood-look vinyl

· Replaced doors/door frames

· Installed keypad security locks

· Replaced heating boiler gas pilot valve and flue piping

· Installed hot water heaters (with electrical rewiring) for bathrooms

· Made improvements to electrical system

· Replaced several windows

· Installed new blinds

· Purchased furniture – tables, chairs, coffee station, etc.

· Purchased large screen TV, DVD Player, computers, phones, brought in internet and cable

· Purchased games and supplies

· Replaced leaking roof

· Repaired half window on second floor

· Installed new HVAC

Programs:

· Operate building 5 days/week with 1.5 Health Department staff

· Provided for building attendant until maintenance was added to Township’s roster

· Instituted bi-monthly newsletter that includes calendar of all programs and classes on offer

· Brought in MILL classes

· Provide for programs 5 days/week

· Added monthly trips

The Township also has a number of additional upgrades scheduled for the Edgemont Park House such as new plumbing, windows and lighting. Perhaps one of the most significant renovations will be made in the kitchen area with new appliances and equipment to offer cooking and baking demonstrations and preparing treats for special occasions.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. “Installed hot water heaters for bathrooms” ??? HAS NOT HAPPENED YET. Only COLD water in the bathrooms, and one has only 1/2 a broken knob on the sink. A light fixture which had been hanging for months fell down eventually; the work to “upgrade” this building was cheap and shoddy.
    The narrow circular driveway is unable to be negotiated by most buses and vans, which have to drive up on top of the Belgian block curbs in order to get through. Some can’t even fit and have to wait out on Valley Rd. for elderly passengers to board.
    Parking is a joke since there is a gigantic expanse of useless grass where many cars COULD have been parked. As The Mayor has said, this is “Not a Senior Center” so it doesn’t need parking??

  2. Some rare new beautiful green space in our town and people want to turn every bit of it into a parking lot so they can be 10 feet closer to a field house. Edgemont improvements are a proof no good deed goes unpunished.

    That said those goose deterring lights do absolutely nothing haha. Quite comical seeing geese swimming around them.

  3. I enjoy walking in Edgemont Park. Yet, it seems to want to be a swamp, not a park, as multiple efforts to dry out it’s central lawn have failed. With water continually leeching to the surface, it reminds me of that creepy scene in ‘Poltergeist’ where the dead start surfacing in a swimming pool in a rainstorm. In that story, the developer had moved the headstones, but not the corpses, when building his corner of idyllic suburbia. One could wonder what Edgemont Park replaced.

  4. Word on the street is the folks who did the park drainage area were replaced and that’s why they had to redo the drainage work. Agreed the unintentional “ponds” in the middle of the park were abysmal. Especially as someone who mosquitos love 🙂

  5. Now the cold-only (despite the above “fake news” of hot water being installed) sink has ZERO spokes left on the faucet knob, now a short stub, so you can’t even turn the water on! But all hail The Mayor for proclaiming his great accomplishment there.

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