Online petition rails against park plans

An online petition to “save historic Rahway River Park” has garnered more than 1,500 signatures since it was created this week.

RahwayRiverPark.overheadThe petition on addresses the county Board of Freeholders as well as the Rahway City Council and Clark Township Council, to “vote against the costly and hazardous construction of a multi-sport stadiumat the park adjacent to St. Georges Avenue. The group’s Facebook page also includes a variety of documents and communications about the planning for the improvements.

Mayor Samson Steinman unveiled plans for upgrades at several parks, including a new football field at Rahway River Park with 5,000-seat bleachers, in his 2014 State of the City address. About a year ago, City Council approved a $2.9-million bond ordinance to authorize borrowing money for the city’s share of the park upgrades. Improvements also are included for Greenfield Park and a park behind Madison School.

In an update at the 2015 State of the City last month, the mayor said planning continues with Union County on the improvements to Rahway River Park (since it’s a county park) but didn’t get into specifics. Personally, I was left with the impression by some that the plan for 5,000-seat bleachers part of the project was to be revised, likely downward — but no official word on that.

March 20 UPDATE: Union County yesterday passed along a 730-word letter in response to this petition. You can find it in its entirety here but the main points challenge the accuracy of some of the statements, namely:

  • The project, which has been in the planning stages since 2011,  is not a “5,000-seat multi-sport stadium” and the county disputes the implication that an “enclosed facility of significant height” is planned. “It’s an upgrade of existing athletic field, including refurbishment of an existing track and replacement of existing grass field with artificial turf.”
  • “The city has agreed to install standard, aluminum bleachers to seat seat nor more than 1,200, along with other amenities.” That decision was made “sometime last year,” according to a spokesperson for the county.
  • The plan does not violate any environmental or historic regulations and will have no impact on wildlife habitat, nor does it encroach on undeveloped areas of the park.
  • The field will not be leased to the “school board” for “private use,” but like all 36 county parks will be open to all visitors, “not just ‘local families.'”


16 thoughts on “Online petition rails against park plans”

  1. Where is there parking for even 1000 more people in Rahway Park on a Saturday Afternoon ? I understand the need but let’s leave some open places open . Not to mention the deer, foxes , raptors , and other animals that use the park , where do the go? I’m not in favor of this at all

  2. I’m quite upset about the potential destruction of Rahway River Park. Drive through any day of the of the week and it is being enjoyed by many. Such a large football field with excessive seating in the middle of its serenity is going to have a destructive impact on the wildlife that frequents the park. Parking is an additional issue. If parking is built up, it will further destroy the natural integrity of the park. Funding should be put towards beautification of or adding of parks. There is already a football field in town that received funding not long ago. Less redundancy and more ethical adherence to what the residents want.

  3. Rahway City Council Democrats are supporting this initiative? sounds like Rahway needs some real “change”. Talk about over development and taxes…

  4. Politicians’ promises are not to be trusted. Building 5,000 seats was crazy on the face of it, before anyone protested. The offer to downsize simply means they are running scared in the face of protests, and is not to be taken as sincere. The politicians have contempt for the users of the park. I find 90% of people walking in the park totally oppose the stadium plan. Keep up the pressure! Come to the Freeholders meeting 7:00 PM Thursday March 26 at the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth.

  5. Not sure that it’s accurate to call it a ‘stadium.’ I don’t believe there’s any structure going up, simply bleachers. Probably similar to what the county did at Meisel Field in Springfield, a county park where Dayton High School’s football team plays.

    1. The park was designed by Federick Olmstead , sort of “famous” for designing NYC Central Park. Please let’s not destroy our miniature version!

      1. Not “somewhat” famous! The epitome of landscaping designers/architects in the USA. Wildly well know. The park in it’s current state should be preserved and I agree with Robert below re: the possibility of getting it landmarked.

    2. There will be several buildings, including equipment garage, concession stand and bathrooms, and other auxiliary buildings, and the size of the project is remarkably large for that park. It will completely destroy the beauty of that open area which a main feature of the park design.

  6. Eleven, if you have proof that Federich Olmstead was the designer of Rahway Park then the people of Rahway and the other towns near it can push for it to be placed under the Historic Landmark Bill of the federal government. The county can’t change it then.

  7. Yes, Olmstead’s firm had a hand in designing much of the county park system. If you read the county’s letter in response to the petition, it makes mention of it a few times.

  8. If it is to be open to all towns why is Rahway the only one picking up half the tab. What about the other towns?

    1. In one sense the other 20 towns in Union County are picking up part of the tab, through the county portion of their tax bills.

      1. In other words, Rahway is paying twice, town & county tax. Are we not part of Union County?

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