Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced plans Monday to renovate the Senior Building in Essex County Belleville Park. The upgrades are part of the an ongoing initiative to modernize facilities and infrastructure, and ensure the historic Essex County Park System continues to meet the recreation needs of the community.
“Since taking office in 2003, we have made improvements in every one of our parks to ensure the public has access to first class facilities," DiVincenzo said. "This renovation project will modernize the building and provide more welcoming accommodations for our seniors and other members of the public who meet, gather and enjoy the park."
The building will receive a comprehensive facelift, which includes a new roof, exterior painting, new windows and doors, wall and floor coverings, lighting, furniture and landscaping at the entrance to the park. Work is scheduled to be completed by the end of summer 2014.
Local elected officials who attended the press conference welcomed the pending improvements and said it was another example of the ongoing improvements made to the Essex County Parks System by DiVincenzo.
“I see the overhaul of this senior building as the first of many phases for this park,” NJ State Senator and Essex County Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz said. “This project is an opportunity to improve the quality of life for our seniors and residents, and promote economic development in the neighborhood,” she added.
“Open space is very important because it affects the quality of life of our residents. This is an example of the work that the County Executive has been doing to enhance recreation opportunities and create opportunities to enjoy open space,” Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold said.
“Belleville has a very active senior population and this renovation will provide a new, modern space for our seniors to meet. I support this renovation, which will make sure Belleville Park remains a jewel like our other parks,” Freeholder Brendan Gill said.
“This is one of my favorite parks and it’s going to be a beautiful building,” Sheriff Armando Fontoura said.
Belleville Ray Kimble admitted he had special interest in the building because his wife organizes an exercise group there. “I thank the County Executive and the Freeholders for these improvements. We look forward to the building being even better than it was before,” he added.
The park building is utilized as the headquarters of three senior clubs, the Belleville Park Monday Club, Belleville Park Wednesday Club and the Belleville Park Thursday Club, as well as a polling site during elections. While construction is ongoing, the senior clubs will meet in the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center. The contractor, Damjan Daskaloski of Daskal Construction, said he was looking forward to completing a majority of the construction before the May 13 non-partisan election so the building could be used as a polling site. However, if work is not sufficiently done, a secure trailer will be located at the site to accommodate the election activity.
The upgrades were designed in-house by the Essex County Department of Public Works, which will also monitor the project to answer questions and avoid delays. Daskal Construction of Wallington, NJ, was awarded a publicly bid contract for $354,972 to perform the construction. The upgrades were funded through the Essex County Capital Budget.
Submitted by the Essex County Executive