The Union County Freeholder Board proudly invites families and residents to the grand opening of the Wheeler Park Spray Park—the largest of its kind in the County system—in Linden on Saturday, May 25th.
Doors are open from 11 a.m-7 p.m., and admission is free to the state-of-the art facility. The Freeholders will hold a ribbon cutting marking the opening of the Spray Park at 1 p.m. All residents are invited to attend. In the event of a postponement due to weather, the ribbon cutting will be held the next day, Sunday, May 26th, at 1 p.m.
Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski stated:
“With the opening of the spray park, the Freeholder Board has completed yet another step in a process that is not only renovating our parks system, but also providing more recreational opportunities for our residents,” Kowalski said. “The Wheeler Park Spray Park is an impressive facility that generations of our residents will enjoy.”
Freeholder Christopher Hudak, a resident of Linden who championed the project, said:
“We have built what will become a countywide attraction for our families to enjoy. This Freeholder Board has continued to make upgrades to Wheeler Park, transforming it into one of the County’s best recreational facilities. We are looking forward to marking a great day for Linden and the County of Union as a whole.”
The spray park replaces the former pool, which had been built in 1931 and witnessed a physical decline over the past two decades.
The spray park, which is the largest of eight spray facilities the County maintains in its parks system, contains 33 above ground attractions, including water cannons, a full size dragon, slides, fake palm trees, dump buckets, a psychedelic spray bus and a multi-function pirate ship and surf shack.
The spray park encompasses 11,000 square feet of the total 49,000 square foot area, and also contains picnic tables, ample space for lounging, gazebos for shade, artificial turf areas, and plenty of free-play space.
A new 24,000 square foot building, which replaces the old Wheeler Pool building, contains lockers, bathrooms, changing space, vending machines and mechanical and electrical facilities.
An entrance and ticketing building near the parking lot will house nurse and lifeguard quarters. The Spray Park was designed by USA Architects, and constructed by Billy Contracting and Restoration Inc. of Pine Brook, NJ.
Wheeler Park is located at Route 1 and 9 between South Wood Avenue and South Stiles Street. Parking for the spray park is off W. Stimpson Avenue. Hours for the spray park are: Monday-Friday: 12-6 p.m., Saturday, Sunday, holidays 11a.m.-7 p.m.
As Freeholder Hudak noted, the spray park announcement is among the latest in a series of high-profile improvements at the park in recent years, including the opening of a new skate park, new softball and soccer turf fields with lights, and a new playground. The park was also enabled for Wi-Fi in 2014.
Wheeler Park was developed in 1925 by the Union County Park Commission, and was designed by the Olmsted Brothers, the noted engineering firm that designed a series of historic landmark parks in urban areas. Their list of projects includes Central Park in New York City and ten others in the Union County parks system.
The park is named after John Russell Wheeler, the first Linden man killed in action during World War I.