The Union County Park Commission was established under the authority of the New Jersey Park Act of 1894, and New Jersey Supreme Court Justice James J. Bergen appointed the first five-member Commission in April 1921. One of the Commission’s first organizational acts was to appoint W. Richmond Tracy to the combined post of Engineer-Secretary. Before this appointment Tracy served on the Bronx Parkway Commission. He was instrumental in acquiring land to establish the initial parks in the system: Cedar Brook Park; Echo Lake Park; Greenbrook Park; John Russell Wheeler Park; Warinanco Park; and Watchung Reservatioin. He was also instrumental in selecting the Olmstead Brothers landscape engineering firm from Massachusetts to design and execute the parks.
Tracy served the Commission for thirty-five years until his retirement in March 1957. During his tenure the Union County park system expanded to eighteen parks covering more than 5,000 acres. After his retirement the Parks Commission named a section of roadway in the Watchung Reservation between Summit Lane and Glenside Avenue, “W.R. Tracy Drive” to honor his contribution.