l. to r. Roselle Board of Education Vice President Archange Antoine; Roselle Board of Education President Reginald Atkins; Elizabeth Board of Education Member Stanley Neron; Elizabeth Community Activist Maria Carvalho; Roselle Councilman Yves Aubourg; Freeholder Sergio Granados; Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley; Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage; Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak; Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski; Freeholder Bruce Bergen; Roselle Director of Recreation Don Shaw and wife Kim Shaw, Roselle Council President; Union County Deputy County Manager William Reyes
ROSELLE—The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders joined with Roselle and Elizabeth elected officials and community leaders at the groundbreaking for the new Warinanco Park stadium facility.
The stadium facility will be home to:
- a new and improved eight-lane running track;
- multi-use turf field for soccer, football and track;
- new bleachers, stadium concession and lavatories.
The bleachers will seat more than 600 with ADA spots. Additional parking spots will also be created. The improvements, which cost $4 million, are expected to be completed by the Flanagan Contracting Group Inc. by the end of this year
“Warinanco Park is packed with an amazing amount of attractions, where for the past 90 years or so, residents have made memories every day,” said Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak, who announced the upgrades as part of his Chairman’s “Turf and Build” initiative for 2014. “With the groundbreaking for the new track and field, we’re here to make new memories.”
The event featured speeches from Mayor Jamel Holley of Roselle, and Roselle municipal council and Board of Education members. Community members on hand included Maria Carvalho, an activist from Elizabeth, who uses the field with many organizations she works with, and Al Walcoff, a Roselle Park resident and local historian who has been frequenting the park for more than 60 years,
“I think Warinanco Park is the keynote piece of the County parks system,” said Walcoff, a self-professed fan of the park. “It is a mini Central or Prospect Park.”
Walcoff noted that Warinanco Park’s designers—the Olmsted Firm—also designed Central Park and Prospect Park, and incorporated aspects of both in Warinanco Park.
Walcoff described Warinanco Park as “mental refreshment” for the public.
“Parks such as this one are the most democratic places in America,” he said. “They are a melting pot where all of society meets, and that’s how I see Warinanco park—a place to replenish the soul.”
The groundbreaking event featured photos from the early days of the park that included the original stadium and track construction; as well as celebrities Charlie Chaplin and Eddie Anderson, “Rochester” from “The Jack Benny Program.”
Located in the City of Elizabeth, and the Borough of Roselle, Warinanco Park, which opened in the mid 1920s, comprises 205 acres of developed park land, and as noted above, was originally designed by the Olmsted Firm.
Beginning in 1857 with the design for Central Park in New York City, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), his sons and successor firm created designs for more than 6,000 landscapes across North America, including many of the world’s most important parks.
For generations of Union County residents, Warinanco Park is arguably the County’s iconic recreational facility. While it is deceivingly small in size, the park’s many features make it appear as if it were actually much bigger.
Warinanco Park has four distinct areas: the Central Park area, the boathouse playground area, the skating center, and the track area, where the improvements are being done.
Some other popular attractions include the Chatfield Gardens; the park’s Great Walk area; tennis courts; ball fields; par-course fitness route; spray park and playground. In the Spring, the park is noted for its colorful blooms of Cherry Blossom, Dogwood trees and Azaleas.