FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 25, 2009

CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia
Communications Director
908-527-4419 • 908-770-3662

 

FREEHOLDERS AUTHORIZE CONTRACT FOR WORK TO BEGIN ON STANFORD DRIVE PROJECT IN BERKELEY HEIGHTS

 

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders have authorized a contract to begin work on the development of the Stanford Drive property into a multi-use recreational facility/park in Berkeley Heights.

The Board awarded a $3.85 million contract to Applied Landscape Technologies of Montville, NJ for the development of the 13 acre property.  Of the total contract, approximately $1.5 million of the amount will be paid for through a state Green Acres grant, and the remaining $2.35 million will be funded through the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

In 2004, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders entered into a joint agreement with Berkeley Heights to preserve the Stanford Drive property from what would have been development into 259 condominium units.

“In this age of environmental awareness, it is fitting that a former plastics factory and a fuel depot are making way for a beautiful new public park,” Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella said.  “It is happening right here in Union County, thanks to the perseverance of Berkeley Heights residents, and a partnership between the township and the county.”

Berkeley Heights Mayor David Cohen thanked the County for their ongoing assistance.

“The residents of Berkeley Heights will benefit greatly from what is planned for this site,”  Cohen said. “We look forward to moving ahead on this project in partnership with the County.”

The purchase price of the property was $13 million, with Union County paying $8 million through the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, and Berkeley Heights paying the remaining $5 million.

Under the agreement, Berkeley Heights will retain four acres, and the county has begun to develop plans for playing fields and a recreation area. Berkeley Heights will be responsible for the maintenance of the playing fields and recreation area on the county portion of the property.

While a great deal of the park will remain in a natural green state,  the recreation component of the park is planned to include:

*A multi- purpose field with lights and artificial turf field that can accommodate rugby, football, lacrosse, soccer. 
*A Baseball field, with lights.                     
*Walking pathway and trails
*Playgrounds, including a 2-5 year old playground and a 6-12 year old playground
*Spray play area, with assistance of Jets $10,000 donation
*Appropriate parking
*Restroom facilities with small concession area

The Stanford Drive property originally contained two vacant industrial buildings which housed Shaw Plastics, and the former Barry Oil Service/Duffy Fuels facility.  The property is bordered on the north by single family dwellings, and on the east by a Township-owned Green Acre tract totaling another 17 acres, and on the south by NJ Transit rail lines.