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Work Under Way on Restoration of Land for Union County’s Passaic River Parkway

Passaic River Parkway is a Union County park that connects Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Summit.

Union County, NJ – February 9, 2022 — The Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to announce that work is progressing on the acquisition of a vacant property located at 735-737 Springfield Avenue in Berkeley Heights, to be added to the Passaic River Parkway county park. Demolition of an existing building at this site commenced last month, and restoration work is currently under way.

The property is approximately 1.35 acres in size and is adjacent to the Passaic River on one side. Two other sides are bordered by the Passaic River Parkway, a County-owned, preserved greenway that runs along the Passaic River through New Providence and Summit as well as Berkeley Heights.

“In our highly developed area, adding new open space for public recreation and nature conservation is a significant achievement. This parcel will add a key piece of riverside land to the Passaic River Parkway. It will be another important step in our efforts to complete the vision of an interconnected series of greenways that link our public parks throughout Union County,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams.

Plans for acquiring the Springfield Avenue property were first set in motion in 2018, when Berkeley Heights Mayor Angie Devanney and Union County Manager Edward Oatman toured the site and discussed its future use as County parkland with the owner. The location was formerly occupied by the Berkeley Catering venue.

“Generations of Union County residents have worked to preserve open space and natural habitat for all Union County residents and

Demolition work has commenced at 735-737 Springfield Avenue in Berkeley Heights. Once restored, Union County plans to acquire the property as an addition to the Passaic River Parkway county park.

visitors to enjoy. We are committed to protecting and improving this legacy for future generations as well,” said Commissioner Alexander Mirabella, who is Chair of the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

Union County is one of the very first counties in the U.S. to establish its own park system, beginning with a set of five parks encompassing 2,000 acres in the 1920’s. Through continued support from the public, the system has grown to include 36 parks and 6,760 acres hosting a range of athletic and passive recreation uses, as well as nature conservation and historic preservation.

Acquisitions over the past 20 years have been supported by the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, established by referendum in the year 2000.

The acquisition of the Springfield Avenue property will be covered by the Trust Fund at an anticipated cost of $2,560,000.00, contingent on demolition and rehabilitation of the property by the current owner.

For more information about the Union County parks system visit ucnj.org/parks-recreation.

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For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health. For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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