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Park features active and passive recreational elements including new playing fields, playground and walking and biking paths

CLARK, NJ – Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski announced the County has begun construction on the new 13-acre Esposito Park on Madison Hill Road in Clark.

Among its new amenities, the new recreational facility will include two tennis courts, a children’s playground, picnic area, a skateboard park, restroom building, park benches, a flagpole, and a softball field with a soccer field overlay.

“Esposito Park conserves one of the Union County’s last existing fresh water wetlands while allowing for public enjoyment,” said Freeholder Daniel Sullivan, who chairs the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund Committee.

The County had purchased the property, formerly known as the Esposito Farm in 2003 through the Union County Open Space, Recreation and the Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

The $2.9 million project preserves the land’s unique environmental qualities and creates public open space and recreation opportunities where none previously existed, Sullivan noted. The project will be funded in its entirety by the Union County Open Space.

The construction portion of the project is expected to be completed by August 2007 although playable fields will have to rest an additional year for seeding to take hold.

The Esposito Park plan was developed by consensus with residents and community officials. Consultants actively worked with residents to integrate recreational facilities best suitable for site preservation and community recreation.

The addition to the Union County Park Systems creates public open space at the heart of several population centers, and is easily accessible by walking, biking, public transportation, and motor vehicle.

The design for Esposito includes multiple recreation and conservation purposes. Visitors will find activities both active and passive in nature, and for all age groups.

A half mile paved walking path with exercise fitness stations and two footbridges will be built around the perimeter of the park providing scenic views of the fresh water wetlands while providing cross-park accessibility.

An earthen berm, heavily planted with trees and shrubs will separate Esposito Park from its Madison Hill Road frontage and create a greater sense of enclosure.

Evergreen buffer plantings will be utilized to designate specific areas of the park, and to shield the park from adjoining residences. Trees will be planted near the children’s playground, park benches, and throughout the park.

Pedestrian access and a driveway entrance from Madison Hill Road will lead a 70-stall parking lot, including three handicapped accessible stalls.

Also planned is a tribute to the Esposito family, and memorial gardens.

The Esposito Farm property was one of the largest farmsteads in Union County, and the Freeholder Board’s decision spared the site from a proposed high density housing development.

The park was named in honor of the late Peter J. Esposito, who originally owned and operated the farmstead.