Lighting, turf bids sought this month

Bids for construction of an artificial turf field and sports lighting for planned upgrades at Rahway River Park will be opened at the end of this month.

The bid date and time is scheduled for Oct. 29 at 2:30 p.m., according to newjerseybids.com. Construction is expected to begin in the spring.

An online petition to “Save Rahway River Park” was created earlier this year and is approaching 5,000 signatures.

RahwayRiverPark.overheadMembers of the Coalition to Save Rahway River Park and residents adjacent to the park have been attending City Council meetings and county Freeholder meetings most of this year to voice opposition to the plan to upgrade the existing track and field and install an artificial turf field with eight-lane track. Opponents of the plan point to the historic nature of the park — designed by the firm of Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed New York City’s Central Park and other Union County parks — as well as the need to keep passive recreation in the park.

Mayor Samson Steinman announced plans to upgrade several county parks during his State of the City address in 2014.
City Council in March 2014 adopted a nearly $3-million bond ordinance to fund its share of upgrades, including $2.3 million for Rahway River Park, with the county contributing roughly the same amount.

Original plans called for 5,000-seat bleachers, which have since been reduced to a capacity of 1,200, as well as an area for field events, concession stands and restrooms. City officials have called the project an ideal example of shared services, and cited flooding at Veterans Field on Central Avenue as one reason to move high school football games to the county park. The high school’s championship track and field squad also has not had a home meet in seven years, according to the mayor.

4 thoughts on “Lighting, turf bids sought this month”

  1. The original plan proposed by the county was to upgrade the running track from four lanes to eight. No Rahway funds would be required in the original plan. Then Rahway latched on to expand the project into a stadium. The running track upgrade isn’t the problem — the full-blown stadium, the lights, the aluminum bleachers, the PA system, the auxiliary buildings and the add-ons that will come when this plan is reviewed by EMT, Fire, Police, H.S. Sports, and ADA is the problem. Veterans Field flooding has only diverted games ten times in over fifty years. The field drains and is playable. It has good seating, shade trees, field-side parking for the equipment vans, team buses, EMT, Fire, and Police vehicles, a field house, concession stand, and separate attendee bathrooms — all the requirements, except a running track. So upgrade the running track in the park as originally-planned and all would be well. If this is the approach, then the Javelins, Discus, and Shot Put can land inside the running track instead of out toward the softball infields across the lawn and into areas where park-goers will find themselves under attack and endangered.

  2. According to Green Acers guidelines the “park” can upgrade an existing condition and make it compliable to new requirements. I wouldn’t object.

  3. The plan as presented is overblown for this simple feature in the park. There is a limit governing how much additional land can be appropriated for upgrading a park element. The plan as presented goes beyond that limit, and yet lacks many features that Veterans Field has which are considered requirements for a modern football field: Field house, field-side parking for emergency vehicles and equipment trucks to name a few.

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