Children join Union County Freeholders Bette Jane Kowalski and Rick Proctor (2nd L) as Rahway Mayor James Kennedy cuts the ribbon officially opening the newly refurbished playground at Howard Field Park in Rahway. The improvements were funded in part by a Union County Kids Recreation Trust Grant. (Photo by the County of Union)
Athletic fields, playground, sprayground, walking trail and more constructed at former industrial site in Berkeley Heights
Union County, NJ — The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders officially opened Snyder Avenue Park today, a new 13-acre recreational facility located in Berkeley Heights. The park was constructed with funding from the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, and a New Jersey Green Acres grant.
The New York Jets football team also contributed to the project.
“It was a pleasure to work with the citizens and elected officials of Berkeley Heights to preserve the land for Snyder Avenue Park,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan. “By combining local resources with state funding, we saved this wonderful resource from development, and created a new park that the community can enjoy for generations.”
Snyder Avenue Park occupies part of a 17-acre parcel of land that formerly housed a plastics factory and a fuel depot. A developer proposed 259 units of high-density housing for the site, but Union County and Berkeley Heights Township cooperated to purchase the property for public use, for a total of $13 million.
Under the joint purchase arrangement, Union County paid $8 million for 13 acres through the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund. Berkeley Heights paid the remaining $5 million for 4 acres.
As a condition of the purchase, the previous owners cleaned up environmental hazards on the site at no cost to the public.
“The clean-up was an additional benefit that makes the environment safer and healthier for all,” said Sullivan, who noted that the site is adjacent to another 17-acre parcel of open space preserved by the Township.
The Freeholder Board awarded a $3.85 million contract to Applied Landscape Technologies of Montville to build the new park on the 13 acres owned by Union County. Approximately $1.5 million of the amount was paid through a state Green Acres grant, and the remaining $2.35 million came from the county’s Trust Fund.
A large part of the park is preserved for nature conservation. The remainder was designed as a multi-use recreational facility by T&M Associates of Middletown. This includes a lighted artificial turf field for rugby, football, lacrosse, and soccer, a lighted baseball field, walking pathway and trails, age-appropriate playgrounds, parking, and restroom facilities with a concession area.
The park also includes a “sprayground” or playground with water features, built with help from a $10,000 donation by the New York Jets.
The Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund was established by popular referendum in 2000, with the goal of preserving 100 acres of land for nature conservation and public use.
So far, more than 300 acres have been preserved throughout Union County, including unique properties such as a rare urban reservoir in Clark and a working farm in Scotch Plains. The Trust Fund has also provided monies to local governments for numerous projects to preserve historic structures, build and upgrade recreational facilities, provide funds for children’s recreation equipment, and provide scholarships for children’s recreation programs.
Opening the New Snyder Avenue Park in Berkeley Heights – Children run through a banner held by (from left) former New York Jets linebacker Greg Buttle, Union County Freeholder Chairman Daniel Sullivan, Freeholder Vice Chairman Deborah Scanlon, New York Jets Community Relations Director Jesse Linder, former Berkeley Heights Mayor David Cohen and Freeholder Angel G. Estrada officially opening the new Snyder Avenue Park in Berkeley Heights. The park features a lighted artificial turf field for rugby, football, lacrosse, and soccer, a lighted baseball field, walking pathway and trails, age-appropriate playgrounds, parking, and restroom facilities with a concession area. The 13-acre recreational facility is the result of a partnership between Union County and Berkeley Heights. The park was constructed with funding from the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, and a New Jersey Green Acres grant. The New York Jets football team also contributed to the project. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)
The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders encourages sixth grade science teachers and local community groups to register for a free, 45-minute, in-class science presentation that relates watershed and environmental concepts in a fun and meaningful way. Teachers, students, and community members will discover how human behavior can impact the land and waterways around them.
“Since 1999, these interactive presentations about how a specific land area drains into a river system have been receiving positive reviews from students and teachers alike,” said Freeholder Deborah Scanlon, liaison to the Union County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. “They enjoy participating in the hands-on demonstration that includes the use of a three-dimensional topographic land use model.”
Most importantly, the program offers easy, practical solutions that everyone can implement to reduce non-point source pollution and improve water quality. Examples of ways the average person can help the environment include eliminating or minimizing the use of pesticides on lawns, picking up pet waste, and not feeding geese.
The presentations are offered by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the AmeriCorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassador Program. To schedule a free presentation for your sixth grade class or your community group, or for more information about your watershed, call Angela Gorczyca, the Watershed Ambassador for Watershed Management Area 7, at 908-789-3209.
Watershed Ambassador 2010 – Teachers, students and community groups can learn about our local watershed and environmental concepts by contacting Angela Gorczyca, the new Watershed Ambassador for Watershed Management Area 7, which includes portions of Union, Middlesex and Essex counties. Schools and community groups are eligible for a free 45-minute program offered by the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador Program. To schedule a free presentation or for more information about your watershed, call Angela Gorczyca at 908-789-3209.
Union County, NJ – The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County is offering a unique class that shows how to combine good nutrition with simple money saving habits. Titled “25 Days to Better Health and More Wealth,” the class is taught by Dr. Karen Ensle. Rutgers University Family and Community Health Sciences Educator.
“Dieting and budgeting are often associated with stress, which can be counter-productive,” said Dr. Ensle. “We break it down into simple steps, so learning new habits becomes an enjoyable and rewarding experience.”
The class is free but pre-registration is required by contacting Digna Torres at the Extension, 908-654-9854 or firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be held at the Extension offices at the new Union County building, 300 North Avenue East in Westfield, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 16.
“25 Days to Better Health and More Wealth” is based on the book Small Steps to Health and Wealth, co-authored by Dr. Ensle with Rutgers financial expert Dr. Barbara O’Neill, which will be on sale for $10.00 at the class.
Union County Freeholder Chairman Daniel Sullivan (R) presents a resolution to Mike Guarino of the Columbus Day Parade Association of Union County 500 during the group’s annual Columbus Day celebration at III Amici Ristorante in Linden. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)
ELIZABETH, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to present an exhibit of artwork by Rosalia Tignini Verdun in the gallery space at the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, located at 633 Pearl Street in Elizabeth. A selection of Verdun’s oil, acrylic and pastel paintings and gicleè prints entitled “Art of Rosalia” is on display at the Pearl Street Gallery until Dec. 2. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
“The talent and diversity of our county artists ensure an inspiring and interesting variety of exhibitions at the Pearl Street Gallery,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, liaison to the Union County Cultural and Heritage Programs Advisory Board. “We are pleased to display an exhibit by award-winning painter Rosalia Verdun.”
Born in Italy, Rosalia moved to the United States with her family as a teenager. She took classes in classical art, participated in workshops, and studied with artists Thomas Valente, Valerie Larko, Alex Piccirillo, Christine Du Barry, Garry Goodbee, and Pino. For nine years she was an assistant teacher at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey with portrait painter Enrique Flores Galbis. Since 1984, she has studied painting techniques at workshops in Italy, France, Vermont and New Jersey. Besides being a professional portrait artist, she also is accomplished in fashion design, interior decorating, music and the culinary arts. Her language skills give her the opportunity to study the arts in Italian, English, and Spanish.
Mrs. Verdun has presented painting demonstrations at the Alpha Gallery in New Brunswick. She teaches acrylic technique workshops at Express Yourself Studios in Maplewood and painting classes in her Roselle Park studio.
Rosalia Verdun is the recipient of many awards including: first place in professional oil painting in the 2010 Union County Senior Art Show; honorable mention at the 2010 New Jersey State Senior Art Show; 2010 award of excellence in portraiture from the Millburn-Short Hills Art Association; the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Award Grand Prize to study at Vermont Studio Center in 2007; Livingston Art Association 2007 Merit Award; and 2007 Pastel Society of NJ Honorable Mention. She is a member of Studio Montclair; Millburn-Short Hills Art Center; the Westfield Art Association; the Contemporary Arts Group in Watchung; and associate member, National Association of Women Artists, NYC. Visit www.rosaliart.com to view her artwork.
Union County artists (whose works can be hung on a wall) interested in exhibiting in the gallery space are welcome to apply. For more information about the Pearl Street Gallery or to learn about other programs and services please contact the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, 633 Pearl Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202. Telephone (908) 558-2550. NJ Relay users dial 711. E-mail to: email@example.com
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MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Families will enjoy the beauty and serenity of the Watchung Reservation by participating in the Saturday Outdoor Adventures at Trailside Nature & Science Center in Mountainside. Sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Department of Parks and Community Renewal, these theme hikes and nature-related talks begin at the Trailside Visitors Center and are designed for families with children of all ages.
“The Saturday Outdoor Adventures are a great opportunity for families to enjoy the beautiful Watchung Reservation and experience the splendor of the fall season, while learning new and interesting facts about our local wildlife and environment,” said Freeholder Vice-Chairwoman Deborah Scanlon. “I hope many families will take part in these exciting programs.”
On Saturday, Oct. 23, at 10 a.m., the “Red Trail Ramble” will have families explore the Hilltop Swamp trail. Discover the bounty of food available to wildlife at this time of year and scour the forest floor for animal tracks.
On Nov. 13, at 10 a.m., families are invited to visit the Bird Viewing Area at the Trailside Visitors Center during “Backyard Birds,” a program to help participants discover how to identify backyard birds by site and sound. During this fascinating program, families also will learn which birds stay for the cold winter months and which migrate south.
During “Lenape Native Americans” on Nov. 20, at 2 p.m., families will visit Trailside’s Lenape exhibit and learn how these Native Americans used this land to survive. Visitors will search outdoors for plants and trees used to help cure colds, construct wigwams, build canoes and make arrow shafts.
The final Saturday Outdoor Adventure on Dec. 4, at 2 p.m., is “Winter Tree ID,” a program designed to teach participants why trees lose their leaves for the winter. Families will use buds, branches and bark to identify tulip, beech, dogwood and oak trees.
Admission to Trailside’s Saturday Outdoor Adventures is by donation. Some programs require pre-registration.
For additional information about the Saturday Outdoor Adventures or about other upcoming programs and special events, please call 908-789-3670 or visit Trailside on the web atwww.ucnj.org/trailside
Trailside Nature & Science Center is located at 452 New Providence Road (at Coles Avenue) in Mountainside and is a service of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Families have fun investigating the Watchung Reservation in the fall with naturalist Susan Day. Trailside Nature & Science Center offers Saturday outdoor programs this fall for adults and children of all ages. For information, call 908-789-3670 or visit on the web atwww.ucnj.org/trailside .
ELIZABETH, NJ – Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi announces a new service for voters that makes sample ballots accessible online starting today. The new website access, available atwww.ucnj.org/government/county-clerk is in addition to the mailed sample ballot each registered voter is mandated to receive at their home address prior to the General Election.
“I am excited by this new program that we are bringing to voters,” Ms. Rajoppi said. “Preparing to vote in Union County just got easier. We are the first county in the state to put each of our voting districts online so that voters in each town can preview their specific ballot.”
There are 438 voting districts in Union County.
Ms. Rajoppi said the increased accessibility will allow voters more time to familiarize themselves with the ballot, locate their district and polling place, and better prepare them in general for the voting booth. The information on the web also is made available in the event a voter moves, misplaces their mailed sample ballot, or the voter is the victim of a lost sample ballot. Students who attend out of state schools also can benefit by familiarizing themselves with the ballot in preparation for voting by mail.
The new online service allows the voter to access their ballot by selecting their municipality, then their district and ward if applicable. It is not necessary to know your district or ward to navigate the system since a search tool is provided to allow the voter to find this information by their street address.
“I encourage registered voters to use this simple tool to preview their ballot before casting their vote in the General Election on Tuesday, November 2nd,” Ms. Rajoppi said.
Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi presents Union County Freeholder Chairman Daniel Sullivan with a check for $60,000 for the Union County Homeless Trust Fund. The purpose of the Homelessness Trust Fund is to move the homeless and formerly homeless into permanent affordable housing and can be used for rental assistance, and as leverage for additional funding It is funded entirely through a $3 surcharge on recording transactions processed through the Union County Clerk’s Office. The $60,000 was collect from May to September 2010. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)
Union County Freeholder Nancy Ward (2nd L) accepts a Community Change Award for “Christopher’s Program” on behalf of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders from New Jersey Black Issues Convention (NJBIC) Board Secretary Barbara James, John Hinds (2nd R) and Chairman Jerome Harris at the NJBIC 28th Annual Black Leadership Conference “Strengthening Families & Building Community: Change We Can Believe In” at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick. The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders partnered with the New Jersey Superior Court to introduce “Christopher’s Program,” an intensive effort to help prevent gang violence. (Photo by Kelly Coyle/County of Union)