A project to modernize the banks, spillway and weirs of Pine Brook as it passes through Essex County Grover Cleveland Park is under way, the county announced last week.
Officials from Essex County gathered with officers and members of the Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy (GCPC) and members of the engineering and construction firms working on the project in the skate house on Friday to publicly kick off the project.
"We've been trying to get this project going for years," said GCPC President Caroline Mescia. "The conservancy is extremely happy that we are getting this brook repaired."
The engineering firm of Dewberry from Bloomfield was awarded a $91,000 contract to design the waterway improvements. Orange-based Zenith Construction was awarded a BID contract of $631,653 to perform the construction work. The project is being monitored by the county's Department of Public Works.
The improvements are being funded with a grant the GCPC received from the NJ Green Acres program and a matching grant from the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund.
"This is the last phase of the park to be completed," said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Friday.
In 2006, Grover Cleveland Park received an $825,000 facelift which included installing an aeration system in the pond and new landscaping around the pond, renovation of the skate house, and updating the baseball/softball field with new lights, bleachers, benches and fencing. In 2004, an $800,000 investment paid for improvements to the Children's House and renovation of the tennis courts. In 2003, an $850,000 project brought new equipment and a rubberized surface for the playground, the repaving of the walking paths and the parking lot, as well as the reconstruction of the Runnymede Road bridge.
The infrastructure upgrades going on now at the park will stabilize the path of the brook, improve the turn over of water in the pond and enhance safety. The work is expected to be completed in July.
The 41-acre county park lies within Caldwell and Essex Fells.
"This is a very small park," said DiVincenzo, "but we take this as seriously as Branch Brook Park or any other park."