Union County Municipalities to Share $1.3 Million for Children’s Recreation
Matching grants for field improvements, equipment, and more


Elizabeth, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has allocated $1.3 million to provide municipalities with matching grants for children’s recreation scholarships, safety equipment, and facility improvements through the county’s Kids Recreation Trust Fund.  Letters from the Freeholder Board notifying each municipality of their award were sent earlier this week.

The Kids Recreation Trust Fund Grant program is part of the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, which county voters approved overwhelmingly in 2000.  Since then, the Open Space fund has saved more than 300 acres of land from development, improved parks and historic sites throughout the county, and distributed more than $8 million for children’s recreation projects.

“Open Space funding demonstrates the strong community spirit that makes Union County such a great place in which to live, work, and raise a family,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.  “These projects enrich our lives and serve as our legacy to future generations.”

The Kids Fund Grant was established in 2004 as an initiative of Freeholder Angel G. Estrada.  The matching dollar-for-dollar grants are awarded based on proposals by the local recreation departments.

“In these challenging times, when budgets are being squeezed, the Kids Fund is still there to help Union County communities keep their facilities safe and up to date, and to provide healthy activities for more children,” said Mirabella. 

Eight of the grants included need-based recreation scholarships.  According to the last census, about 26% of Union County residents are under age 18, and more than one third come from low income families that meet the eligibility requirements for Trust Fund scholarships.  Other grants involved safety equipment, playground improvements, and numerous field improvements including the renovation of basketball and tennis courts.

Union County Kids Recreation Trust Fund Grants for 2009:

Berkeley Heights: $60,000 toward field improvements.
Clark: $43,416 toward equipment, and renovated tennis and basketball courts.
Cranford: $50,000 toward field improvements.
Elizabeth: $150,000 toward scholarships and upgrades to Brophy Field.
Fanwood: $14,234 toward equipment and scholarships.
Garwood: $101,500 toward equipment and a new athletic field complex.
Hillside: $131,170 toward equipment and various projects.
Linden: $50,000 toward equipment and resurfacing of basketball courts.
Mountainside: $49,350 toward equipment, field upgrades, a basketball court.
New Providence: $60,000 toward scholarships, equipment, and tennis courts.
Plainfield: $23,250 toward scholarships and equipment.
Rahway: $27,611 toward equipment, playground renovation, and an arcade activity game for the recreation center.
Roselle: $50,000 toward scholarships, equipment, and playgrounds.
Roselle Park: $67,352 toward scholarships, equipment, and rehabilitation of Acker Park.
Scotch Plains: $64,250 toward scholarships, the rehabilitation of Brookside Park, and the purchase of field maintenance equipment.
Springfield: $25,000 toward upgrades at several parks.
Summit: $85,265 for scholarships, equipment, and Wilson Park.
Union: $81,000 for equipment and upgrades to the Rabkin Sports Complex.
Westfield: $65,000 toward Memorial Park.