Tag Archives: parks

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.
Continue reading Lighting, turf bids sought this month

Council approves nearly $3m for park upgrades

With nary a question or comment from the public, the City Council last night approved borrowing almost $3 million for improvements to Union County’s Rahway River Park and athletic facilities behind the high school on Madison Avenue.

Continue reading Council approves nearly $3m for park upgrades

City to borrow $2.3m for Rahway River Park

The City Council on Wednesday night introduced a $2.35-million bond ordinance (07-14) to fund its share of a massive upgrade of facilities at Rahway River Park. A public hearing and final approval is scheduled at the March 10 regular meeting.

The plan — as outlined by Interim Mayor Samson Steinman in his State of the City address — is in the preliminary design phase, according to City Administrator Cherron Rountree. The current field at Rahway River Park would be renovated to include a turf field, eight-lane track and area for field events, lights, 5,000-seat bleachers, press box, two team pavilions, a concession stand with bathrooms, and fencing. Groundbreaking is expected by the fall.

Rahway_River_ParkThe city’s $2.3-million portion of the project is expected to impact the average assessed Rahway home at $7.60 annually, according to Rountree. It’s unclear how much the county’s portion of the project would impact taxes, or whether that will come from the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund or the county’s capital improvement budget. The county portion is expected to be about the same as the city’s share ($2.3 million), according to Rountree, who worked in various capacities at the county before becoming city administrator last year.

“This is a perfect example of true shared services,” Rountree said, calling it a three-way partnership because the county was looking to do improvements at Rahway River Park and included the city in its planning. “The city would not have the financial resources to upgrade and/or purchase a property to build a facility of this sort…and the county does not have a need to have the additional components that the city is proposed to add.”  The city will be able to reserve a pre-set number of events each year at the facility before the general public.

The alternatives would be to continue using Veterans Field, which floods,  or to complete the project without the county, which Rountree said would be “at least double what we intend to spend on this project before acquisition or costs associated with correcting drainage issues.”

RahwayRiverPark.overheadAt the present time, Rountree said there are no plans for adding parking at Rahway River Park, which also includes Walter E. Ulrich Pool.

Included in the mayor’s announcements last month were upgrades to the county’s Greenfield Park adjacent to Rahway Middle School and the field behind Madison School.

There are no cost estimates yet for the Greenfield Park project because the county is handling the entire project, Rountree said. There are two turf fields planned, one for football and rugby and another for soccer, and the city has asked for a T-ball field as well as requested the county to repave the middle school parking lot in conjunction with the improvements. It’s expected to break ground sometime in 2015.

The field behind Madison School and the high school will receive a $120,000 grant through the county’s Kids’ Recreation Trust (which is funded from the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund), in addition to about $170,000 from the Board of Education and $200,000 from the city, Rountree said. Groundbreaking is expected by the summer, possibly the spring.

State of the City 2014

Note: The full State of the City remarks can be viewed here.

Redevelopment took a back seat to parks upgrades and other initiatives related to the arts during the 2014 State of the City address last night.

Continue reading State of the City 2014

Guest blog post: ‘Change’ that works?

Note: This is a guest blog post submitted by a reader under the pseudonym, Silence DoGood. While I may frown on anonymous comments on blog posts, this is not anonymous; I know who the writer is, however, they hope the merits of their arguments (not their identity) will carry the day when it comes to passing judgment on what they present. And in case you’re wondering: no, the writer is not me, nor is it anyone running for office. Both major party candidates for mayor have been invited to submit a guest column in the coming weeks.

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Dear Neighbor,

Perhaps you had the benefit of receiving a letter from our fine City Council At-large members and our county freeholder, Rick Proctor, seeking support in the Democratic primaries in June. I don’t normally take to commenting on things but it seems like with all things in life, there is a time and a place. This time it came to my mailbox and while I realize that the challengers lost, I think this will be a similar argument against the Republicans or any other challengers to the established Democratic Party candidates.
A great many things have occurred to me recently but I will get to those in due time. For now, two items catch my notice. First, the letter described what can only be conflicting if not altogether hypocritical stances. “We are proud of the accomplishments and represent ‘Change that Works for Rahway,'” and yet just a few lines down, they note “now is not the time for on the job training.” So what type of change do we need here? Or is this similar to — and I hate to use this as a reference — Fox News (9:10 of video), which slams polls when they support Obama and then touts those same polls when they serve their interests, like stopping universal health care.
Secondly, “Change that works”… yes, we do have a hulking new hotel downtown, and certainly there are other projects that were built over the past eight to 10 years or so, like the parking deck across from the refurbished train station. But are they all working for Rahway? The mailing mentioned three items/issues that Democrats appear to have a handle on: stable property taxes, economic growth, and preservation of quality of life.
Stable property taxes
Does anyone remember the sewer fees that were separated from our property tax bills that were supposed to save us tax hikes — but left us with quarterly bills for water and sewer charges that, according to my math, are actually a hike? Check your old property tax bills against your last year’s worth of sewer bills if you don’t believe me.
Economic growth
What about the heap of dirt that sat across from the unfinished construction on Main Street, which at one time eventually became covered with grass and weeds because it sat so long. I hear we have a great new piano for loan but hardly a pedestrian on the street to listen to it, even if it was played. And do you recall the lawsuit with overzealous developers just across from the library that leaves the city and us taxpayers holding the tab for street improvements?
Quality of life
I know it is subjective but could an uglier building (the new hotel) have been built, any more out of scale with the downtown? One that I hope won’t become public housing considering lawsuits, lack of residents and possible foreclosure. I believe it took three years for sidewalks to go back on Main Street in front of the rusted steel fingers pointing to the sky, as if asking when they will be covered with walls and a roof.
Perhaps less subjective is the lack of attention to the repair of the steps at the NJ Transit train station. Why aren’t our city representatives being more proactive on our behalf to have this fixed?
A pocket park on the corner of Monroe and Essex? Maybe I’m not as progressive as some, or don’t quite think we have the same feel as say Brooklyn, or am I just not impressed with the other pocket park across the street from the arts center — which cost taxpayers a pretty penny. Smells more like a favor to a political supporter…
Or is this the change that all incumbents say you shouldn’t offer their opponents? To be honest, I can’t remember a time in the recent past when times weren’t a little difficult for the average citizen in this country. I’m not sure their opponents can do a better job and, to be fair, there have been accomplishments to the town that I have overlooked. But is it really fair to claim that change that works for Rahway means not giving someone else a chance to serve our community? Have they cornered the market on good change?
I have other thoughts, but I will save them for another day and another letter.

Sincerely,
Silence DoGood