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the east orange parks master plan City of East Orange Open Space and Recreation Element Update Adopted by the City of East Orange Planning Board September 4, 2013


The East Orange Parks Master Plan: City of East Orange, Open Space and Recreation Element Update, Adopted by the City of East Orange Planning Board September 4, 2013. The Parks Master Plan effort was led by the City of East Orange Department of Policy, Planning, and Development. The consultant team was led by Wells Appel, with the Nishuane Group, Toole Recreation Planning, Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, and VJ Associates.

Joseph Sikora, RLA Landscape Architect, New Jersey License #21AS00095400

Michèle S. Delisfort, P.P., A.I.C.P New Jersey Professional Planner License #33LI00615500


Table of Contents 03

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

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INTRODUCTION

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THE SURROUNDINGS: THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF EAST ORANGE

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THE CITY AND ITS PARKS: THE EAST ORANGE PARK SYSTEM

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WHO IS USING THE PARKS?: DEMOGRAPHICS IN EAST ORANGE

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WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY THINK? COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: PROCESS, ISSUES, AND IDEAS

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BIG IDEAS: SYSTEM-WIDE RECOMMENDATIONS

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THE CITY’S PARKS: WARD 1 (SOVEREL PARK)

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THE CITY’S PARKS: WARD 2 (MEMORIAL + ROWLEY PARKS)

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THE CITY’S PARKS: WARD 3 (ELMWOOD PARK + WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND)

127

THE CITY’S PARKS: WARD 4 (EAST ORANGE OVAL + FRANCIS HAIRE PARK)

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THE CITY’S PARKS: WARD 5 (HOFFMAN PARK + COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND)

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A PLANTING PALETTE FOR EAST ORANGE

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A MATERIAL PALETTE FOR EAST ORANGE

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ART AND COMMUNITY IN EAST ORANGE

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HOW MUCH PARK DO WE NEED?: ASSESSING PARK NEED IN EAST ORANGE

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HOW CAN WE ADD PARK SPACE?: OPPORTUNITY FOR PARKS IN EAST ORANGE

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ORGANIZATION + MANAGEMENT

261

PROGRAMS + SERVICES


Table of Contents, continued 271

INVESTING IN PARKS + RECREATION

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PRIORITIES + BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR PHYSICAL PARK IMPROVEMENTS

293

IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

301

BIBLIOGRAPHY

APPENDIX 1 STORMWATER, CULTURAL + ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTS APPENDIX 2 COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT SURVEY AND DETAILED NOTES FROM NEIGHBORHOOD MEETINGS + FOCUS GROUPS APPENDIX 3 DETAILED EXISTING CONDITIONS PLANS FOR EACH PARK APPENDIX 4 SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION ON PARKS ORGANIZATION + MANAGEMENT APPENDIX 5 SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION ON INVESTING IN PARKS + RECREATION APPENDIX 6 DETAILED BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR EACH PARK

READER’S GUIDE: This document is intended to be a reference manual and is not intended to be read straight through from cover to cover. There may be some repetition across chapters, but this is intentional to ensure clarity. The Appendices are bound under separate cover.


List of Illustrations 12

FIGURE C1: LOCATION PLAN AND PHYSIOGRAPHIC PROVINCES

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FIGURE C2: REGIONAL HYDROLOGY & WATERSHEDS

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FIGURE C3: REGIONAL CHANGE IN ELEVATION

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FIGURE C4: REGIONAL CONTEXT

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FIGURE D1: OVERALL CITY PLAN

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FIGURE D2: PARK AMENITIES

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FIGURE E1: RACIAL MAKEUP OF EAST ORANGE

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FIGURE E2: POPULATION DENSITY

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FIGURE E3: RESIDENTS UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE

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FIGURE E4: RESIDENTS OVER 65 YEARS OF AGE

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FIGURE E5: MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME

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FIGURE G1: A VISION FOR THE NEW SECOND RIVER AT SOVEREL PARK

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FIGURE G2: SOVEREL PARK PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS PLAN

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FIGURE G3: WARD 1 CONTEXT PLAN

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FIGURE G4: SOVEREL PARK EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN

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FIGURE H1: A VISION FOR THE NEW MEMORIAL PARK.

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FIGURE H2: MEMORIAL PARK PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS PLAN

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FIGURE H3: WARD 2 CONTEXT PLAN

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FIGURE H4: MEMORIAL PARK EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS >>>

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List of Illustrations, continued

4

96

FIGURE H5: ROWLEY PARK EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN

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FIGURE I1: A VISION FOR ELMWOOD PARK.

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FIGURE I2: ELMWOOD PARK PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS PLAN

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FIGURE I3: WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS PLAN

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FIGURE I4: WARD 3 CONTEXT PLAN

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FIGURE I5: ELMWOOD PARK EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN

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FIGURE I6: WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN

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FIGURE J1: A VISION FOR THE EAST ORANGE OVAL.

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FIGURE J2: THE OVAL PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS PLAN

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FIGURE J3: FRANCIS HAIRE PLAYGROUND PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS PLAN

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FIGURE J4: WARD 4 CONTEXT PLAN

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FIGURE J5: EAST ORANGE OVAL EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN

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FIGURE J6: FRANCIS HAIRE PLAYGROUND EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN

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FIGURE K1: HOFFMAN PARK PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS PLAN

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FIGURE K2: COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS PLAN

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FIGURE K3: WARD 5 CONTEXT PLAN

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FIGURE K4: HOFFMAN PARK EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN

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FIGURE K5: COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN

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FIGURE O1: PARK ACRES/1,000 FOR SIMILARLY DENSE CITIES

>>> LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


List of Illustrations, continued 220

FIGURE O2: TOTAL PARK ACREAGE FOR EAST ORANGE

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FIGURE O3: PARK AREA PER 1,000 PEOPLE, SELECTED CITIES

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FIGURE O4: PARK SIZE AND DISTRIBUTION PATTERNS, SELECTED CITIES

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FIGURE O5: WALKING DISTANCE TO PARKS

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FIGURE O6: WALKING DISTANCE TO PARKS AT STREET LEVEL

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FIGURE O7: GREATEST PARK NEED

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FIGURE P1: POTENTIAL AREAS FOR NEW PARKS

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FIGURE P2: PARK CONNECTOR STREETS

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FIGURE P3: NEIGHBORHOOD POCKET PARK

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FIGURE P4: TREE CANOPY COVERAGE RECOMMENDATIONS

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FIGURE Q1: EXISTING ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE RELATED TO PARKS + RECREATION

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FIGURE Q2: PROPOSED PARKS + RECREATION DEPARTMENT ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

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FIGURE Q3: PARK MAINTENANCE MODES

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FIGURE Q4: MANAGEMENT IMPACT STATEMENT TOOL

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FIGURE Q5: POTENTIAL ORGANIZATION FOR PARK FRIENDS GROUPS

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FIGURE U1: PARKS & RECREATION YEAR ONE SCHEDULE

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FIGURE U2: PARKS & RECREATION IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE

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FIGURE U3: SAMPLE CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS >>>

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introduction The East Orange Parks Master Plan

The purpose of this plan is to update the City of East Orange 2006 Comprehensive Master Plan, provide a roadmap for improving parks and recreation in the city, and provide a resource for pursuing additional funding and grant opportunities.

workforce as a key factor in determining where to open a business. Parks and recreation are a major quality of life component.

Parks and recreation in East Orange once held a place of prominence in the country and was widely regarded as a model for its innovative management and investment in urban parks and recreation. Officials from other municipalities would make the trek to East Orange to learn from its approach and tour its parks. The quality of life in the city was so great that in 1921, the population was projected to climb to 122,000 by 1971. Today’s population hovers near 70,000.

MAJOR ELEMENTS OF THE PLAN

The parks are a vehicle for change in East Orange. Investing in parks and recreation will have an enormous impact on the quality of life in the city. Residents will be happier, healthier, and take more pride in their city; property values will increase; air quality will improve; stormwater will be better managed; communities will be brought closer together; and new residents and businesses will be drawn to the city. Economically, studies have shown that quality of life comes right after location and availability of

• Improvements to all existing parks to make them precious valued public spaces to be used and treasured by people of all ages for many generations yet to come. • Development of strategies for the design, planning, maintenance and programming of parks to ensure their long-term sustainability. • Use of creative place making techniques to reflect the community in the parks. • Reunification of the city through park connector streets, gateways, public art, and a new deck park over Interstate I-280. • Strategies to increase usable park and recreation space without reducing tax rateables and build understanding that great parks foster economic development. • Identification of alternative methods of supporting parks and recreation through partnerships, sponsor-

INTRODUCTION: THE EAST ORANGE PARKS MASTER PLAN >>>

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ships, civic engagement, and private revenue generation. • Suggested reorganization of the management and administration of parks and recreation. • Generate public consensus for park revitalization and a call to action for citizens to become engaged in park stewardship. • Delineation of a phased implementation strategy with budget cost estimates for parks and recreation improvements.

PREVIOUS PLANNING DOCUMENTS This Parks Master Plan amends the City of East Orange 2006 Comprehensive Master Plan, which was adopted April 5, 2006. The last study related to the development of the parks was completed in December 1945, entitled East Orange Schools and Recreation.

THE PLANNING PROCESS Many partners were involved in the development of this plan. Civic engagement was the hallmark

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>>> INTRODUCTION: THE EAST ORANGE PARKS MASTER PLAN

of the planning process. Focus groups, interviews, and public meetings generated valuable input from the people of East Orange, community organizations, and key stakeholders. The information and community perspectives were used to develop the initiatives and recommendations in this plan. It reflects a broad consensus of public opinion and user needs. The Department of Policy, Planning, and Development in the City of East Orange spearheaded the effort. In 2011, the city selected a consultant team led by Wells Appel (landscape architects), with the Nishuane Group (community planners), Toole Recreation Planning (parks and recreation planners), Langan Engineering and Environmental Services (civil engineers), and VJ Associates (construction cost estimating). The project commenced in January 2013 and was substantially complete by July 2013. The consultant team conducted in-depth research, analyzed existing conditions, and explored national trends and ideas that could take root in East Orange.

THE MASTER PLAN The Master Plan is a comprehensive set of recommendations for the revitalization of East Orange’s parks and recreation facilities. The recommenda-


tions are put into a context that will lead to the establishment of a system that will organizationally and physically connect them through effective management, programming and maintenance.

A LIVING DOCUMENT The Master Plan is a guide for future implementation projects that will be necessary for the City of East Orange to achieve the goals established in this plan. While there may be different views about speciďŹ c recommendations or projects, the goals were arrived at through extensive public involvement and represent core principles and community consensus. The challenge is to build momentum for implementing the plan. Every success, no matter how small, is a step forward in returning the parks of East Orange to their former glory and renown.The plan and its recommendations should be reviewed annually in light of changing needs and opportunities. The key is to keep moving forward in harmony with the core principles and goals established by the community in the East Orange Parks Master Plan.

INTRODUCTION: THE EAST ORANGE PARKS MASTER PLAN >>>

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the surroundings The Regional Context of East Orange


the surroundings The Regional Context of East Orange

LOCATION East Orange is located in Essex County, in the upper half of New Jersey. Downtown Newark is a close 10 minute drive or 5 minute train ride to the east, while New York City is about a 30 minute drive or less than an hour by train.

the Garden State Parkway, running north and south are the primary vehicular connections between the city and points throughout the region. PHYSIOGRAPHIC CONTEXT

The city is situated between the Watchung Mountains to the west and Newark Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

New Jersey is divided into four broad physiographic regions: the Ridge and Valley, Highlands, Piedmont, and the Coastal Plains. These regions help describe terrain texture, rock type, geologic structure and history and are illustrated in Figure C1.

The city is largely a bedroom community with many residents commuting to Newark, New York, or other areas within Essex County for employment. As such, the city is well connected to the region through New Jersey Transit train lines and bus routes. Interstate 280, running east and west, and

East Orange is situated within the Piedmont section, which occupies about 20 percent of the land area of New Jersey. This section slopes gently southward from about 400 feet above sea level to sea level at Newark Bay. It is flat in some areas, but in general is slightly rolling terrain, with mostly gentle slopes.

THE VIEW FROM EAGLE ROCK RESERVATION ON WATCHUNG’S FIRST MOUNTAIN LOOKING OVER EAST ORANGE TOWARD NEW YORK AND NEWARK

THE SURROUNDINGS: THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF EAST ORANGE >>>

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FIGURE C1: LOCATION PLAN AND PHYSIOGRAPHIC PROVINCES East Orange Park Master Plan

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>>> THE SURROUNDINGS: THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF EAST ORANGE


This tends to result in highly developable land, which is certainly the case in East Orange, where the majority of land has been developed. Within the Piedmont section, several ridge formations rise high above the surrounding lowlands. One formation is directly west of East Orange and is composed of the three Watchung Mountains (850, 650, and 350 feet high). These formations are made of lava material—diabase and basaltic rocks, which are much harder than the sandstone of the Piedmont. Therefore, these have resisted erosion, while the less resistant shale and sandstone have worn away and produced lower elevations (Collins and Anderson 39). Because of the ways the land has been shaped over time, there are a variety of recreational opportunities within a short trip from East Orange, from mountains to lowlands to the Atlantic Ocean. Figure C2 illustrates the regional network of open water as well as broad watershed boundaries. The only remaining water course in East Orange that has not been buried is the Second River, which runs through the northwest section of the city. This eventually joins with the Passaic River, which joins the Hackensack River in Newark Bay, to make its way out to the Atlantic. The northern side of East

Orange belongs to the Hackensack-Passaic Watershed, while the south lies within the Sandy HookStaten Island Watershed. The southern portion of the city drains to the Elizabeth River, which travels southeast to make its way to Newark Bay. Many watershed organizations exist in New Jersey and may be able to assist with watershed improvements that will improve the life of all waterways downstream of East Orange.The Watershed Institute offers guidance on available grants as well as lists of watershed organizations in the region. Improvements to a watershed can include installation of raingardens and vegetated swales, reduction of impervious surface, installation of permeable paving in place of impermeable paving, increase in tree canopy coverage, and riparian plantings along the Second River. In short, any improvements that improve stormwater runoff quality or decrease stormwater runoff volume are watershed improvements. Figure C3 illustrates the topographic change in elevation from the mountains to the west of East Orange down to Newark Bay in the east. It is easy to see that the city rests within a relatively at area between more dramatic rises in elevation between mountain, river, and ocean.

THE SURROUNDINGS: THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF EAST ORANGE >>>

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FIGURE C3: REGIONAL CHANGE IN ELEVATION East Orange Park Master Plan

THE SURROUNDINGS: THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF EAST ORANGE >>>

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FIGURE C4: REGIONAL CONTEXT UNION

East Orange Park Master Plan

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REGIONAL CONTEXT: PARKS AND RECREATION Figure C4 situates the city within its regional context. The major connections via highway or train line are shown, as are the major surrounding municipalities. Also illustrated are a number of parks within the surrounding area. This parks master plan proposes detailed improvements to the parks and recreation offerings within East Orange itself, but so many opportunities exist regionally that it makes sense to provide a brief overview of the major parks closest to the city. Since park space is at such a premium within the city and immersion within nature difficult, residents and the city’s recreational programming should take advantage of the many parks within the region. BRANCH BROOK PARK The closest large park is the historic Branch Brook Park, accessible by train and bus. This 360 acre county park, designed by the Olmsted Brothers and initially built in 1896, offers a broad range of passive recreation opportunities such as strolling, bird watching, cycling, fishing, and jogging. Athlet-

CHERRY BLOSSOMS AT BRANCH BROOK PARK

ic offerings at Branch Brook Park include: • Baseball: 2 Fields • Softball: 3 Fields • Cricket: 2 Pitches • Soccer/Football: 1 Field • Youth Soccer: 1 Field • Basketball Courts • Bocce Courts • Roller Skating Center • Tennis Courts: 16 Hard and 4 Clay Courts The park has over 4,000 cherry trees, making it the largest collection of Japanese cherry trees in one place in the United States. Its cherry blossom festival is extremely popular and draws visitors from all over the region. The park also contains an intricate system of open water, spanned by 19 bridges. The Branch Brook Park Alliance website is an inspiring representation of what is possible in a public/private partnership aimed at improving parks and recreation.

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THE SURROUNDINGS: THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF EAST ORANGE >>>

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figure skating, and lessons. It is also the official training facility of the Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils. In terms of facilities, the park offers: • Turtle Back Zoo • 2 Indoor Ice Skating Rinks • 10 Picnic Areas • 46 Miles of Trails and Carriage Roads • Archery Range • Fishing • Off-leash Dog Park HEMLOCK FALLS AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN RESERVATION

SOUTH MOUNTAIN RESERVATION Just to the west of East Orange, and situated between the first and second ridges of the Watchung Mountain range, this county park has been largely preserved as a large natural area. It contains large wooded areas, creeks, streams, waterfalls, and ponds. On visiting, Frederick Law Olmsted, the famed “father of landscape architecture”, regarded it as some of the most beautiful terrain he had ever seen. Also within the park boundaries are theTurtle Back Zoo and the Richard J. Codey Arena, which offers year-round public ice skating, a summer camp for

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>>> THE SURROUNDINGS: THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF EAST ORANGE

CANOE BROOK AT THE EAST ORANGE GOLF COURSE


THE EAST ORANGE GOLF COURSE

OTHER ESSEX COUNTY PARKS

Owned by the City of East Orange, the Golf Course is located in Short Hills, New Jersey, about 25 minutes west of the city by car, but is not accessible by train or bus. The 18 hole golf course is currently undergoing a series of improvements by the city as the result of a recent master plan. It lies within over 2,300 acres of land making up the East Orange Water Reserve. It is adjacent to Canoe Brook Reservoirs No. 1 and No. 2 and with its range of ecosystems, provides many potential opportunities for passive recreation and ecological restoration, as well as the opportunity for golf.

In 1895, Essex County created the first county park system in the United States. Today, 27 parks and reservations exist in the system, and most were designed by the Olmsted Brothers. A few of the larger parks close to East Orange have been described in this section, while the two county parks that directly serve the city, Watsessing Park and Monte Irvin Orange Park, are covered in the next section. With such an extensive and inclusive system of parks close to the city, activated by a robust events calendar and park program offerings, Essex County provides East Orange residents with a priceless amenity.

EAGLE ROCK RESERVATION Located to the northwest of East Orange, about ten minutes away by car, is the Eagle Rock Reservation, another Essex County Park. This 408 acre park is located on the crest of Watchung’s First Mountain and is primarily preserved, undeveloped land laced with hiking and equestrian trails. Also designed by the Olmsted firm, the park is famous for its unrivaled views of New York and Newark. The Eagle Rock Reservation Conservancy is another public-private partnership devoted to the maintenance, preservation, and restoration of the park.

THE SURROUNDINGS: THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF EAST ORANGE >>>

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the city and its parks The East Orange Park System


the city and its parks The East Orange Park System

OVERVIEW OF THE CITY The City of East Orange is roughly 4 miles square and houses close to 70,000 residents, making it one of the densest municipalities in the country. It is served by two train stations on the New Jersey Transit Gladstone and Morristown train lines and by an extensive system of bus routes. The city is sharply divided into north and south right across its center by Interstate 280, and into east and west by the Garden State Parkway. City Hall and the majority of civic buildings are located near the center of the city, close to the intersection of the interstate and the parkway, and adjacent to one of the city’s train stations. Five distinct wards make up the city and a strong spirit of friendly competition exists among them. Each ward has a unique character and its own set of concerns and issues. East Orange is a city on the upswing. Within its history, it has experienced a long period of great economic prosperity and investment in public infrastructure and amenities, followed by the flight of the gentry and the loss of a significant amount of tax revenue. Today the city is working hard to elevate the quality of life for its existing residents,

and to attract new residents to East Orange. The city is striving to make East Orange a place where people want to live, work, and play. The improvement of the city’s parks and recreational offerings would go a long way in accomplishing the city’s goals. A city’s park system is a highly visible quality of life indicator, and a powerful tool in attracting new residents. In terms of existing parks and open space, there are a total of 9 municipal parks throughout the city, comprising a total of 45 acres. Figure D1 illustrates the parks and other open space within the city. Washington Playground is currently a Board of Education property, but is being treated as a municipal park for the purposes of this study. Two major Essex County parks also serve East Orange: Watsessing Park to the north and Monte Irvin Orange Park to the east. Both are large parks, just under 70 acres and 50 acres, respectively. Watsessing houses playgrounds, football, softball, cricket, and lacrosse/soccer fields, a bowling green, basketball courts, a dog park, and a senior citizen recreation building. Orange Park offers football, soccer, and softball fields, a jogging path, a fishing pond, a basketball court, and a playground. Like all Essex County Parks, Watsessing and Orange Parks were designed by the famed landscape architects, the Olmsted Brothers.

THE CITY AND ITS PARKS: THE EAST ORANGE PARK SYSTEM >>>

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SOVEREL PARK

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FIGURE D1: OVERALL CITY PLAN East Orange Park Master Plan

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>>> THE CITY AND ITS PARKS: THE EAST ORANGE PARK SYSTEM

FRANCIS HAIRE PLAYGROUND �

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“Ridges and valleys were topographical features of the landscape, and brooks and partly inundated lands existing in every part of town.” - HISTORY OF THE ORANGES TO 1921

The City of East Orange Board of Education also operates Robeson Stadium (formerly Martens Park) and the grounds of the East Orange Campus High School. The Stadium offers track, football with stadium seating, and baseball, while East Orange Campus High School houses tennis, softball, track, and a football field. However, it is expensive, difficult, and sometimes impossible for residents to use Board of Education facilities. These amenities are illustrated in this study only as a means of demonstrating what publicly funded facilities could be available to residents if it were feasible. The distribution of park amenities is illustrated in Figure D2, and captures the municipal parks as well as the county and Board of Education parks. The majority of municipal parks contain a fieldhouse and most were originally designed with one. Soverel Park is the largest municipal park, at over 11 acres, followed by Elmwood Park, at just under

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9 acres, and the East Orange Oval, at just under 8 acres. Five of the parks are between 2.5 and 4.5 acres, with one park just over half an acre. Amenities in the parks encompass swimming, basketball, baseball, tennis, volleyball, handball, playgrounds, swimming pools, and a spray park. Program offerings are covered in a separate section of this report. Rowley Park was recently renovated by the City and reopened in November of 2011. It contains a new fieldhouse, an informal grass field, a spray park, and basketball courts. Reception of this park by the community has been great and the park won a state parks and recreation award in 2013. Situated within an area of the city with the greatest need for quality parks and open space, the renovation of Rowley Park represents a significant step forward for the city. Overall, the remaining municipal parks in the city are in various states of disrepair and are in need of major renovation. One major finding is that there is very little opportunity to experience nature within the parks (or within the city as a whole). Also, many residents expressed feeling unsafe in the parks, despite evidence that crime has dropped considerably. There should also be more opportunities for all generations and ages to enjoy the parks. It was found that

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THE CITY AND ITS PARKS: THE EAST ORANGE PARK SYSTEM >>>

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SOVEREL PARK BOARD OF EDUCATION PARKS WATSESSING COUNTY PARK

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ROWLEY PARK MEMORIAL PARK BOARD OF EDUCATION PARKS

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ELMWOOD PARK WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND ORANGE COUNTY PARK VALISBURG PARK

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EAST ORANGE OVAL FRANCIS HAIRE PLAYGROUND BOARD OF EDUCATION PARKS

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HOFFMAN PARK COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND

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>>> THE CITY AND ITS PARKS: THE EAST ORANGE PARK SYSTEM

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THE CITY AND ITS PARKS: THE EAST ORANGE PARK SYSTEM >>>

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the parks do not reflect the diversity of the current population of the city, and do not reflect their communities. For more information on findings gleaned from the community engagement process, refer to the chapter on community engagement. Specific existing conditions analysis findings are also presented for each park later in this study. EAST ORANGE BACKGROUND AND HISTORY The boundaries for East Orange were laid out in 1863, and encompassed just under four square miles, roughly the same size as today. The land at that time was largely unimproved except for farming purposes. The population in 1863 was about 3,000 (Pierson 536). Road improvements began six years later, in 1869 at Main Street and were followed by the installation of gas lamps in 1873. At that time, there were reportedly numerous springs, brooks, woods, and bog lands scattered throughout East Orange. However, by 1921, the city plan reported that “East Orange contains no ponds and only three small streams, two of which are already being covered...the wooded tracts have almost entirely disappeared...There is scarcely any natural scenery left in the community” (City Plan Commission). Today, the only remaining open water is the channelized segment of

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>>> THE CITY AND ITS PARKS: THE EAST ORANGE PARK SYSTEM

the Second River flowing along Soverel Park. 1886 saw the city laid out into four wards, with the fifth added in 1892. By 1899, in just 36 years, the city’s population had grown from 3,000 to 30,000. Trolley cars along Central Avenue began running in 1904 and opened up the development of unoccupied land in the southern half of the city (Pierson 544). Central Avenue became known as “the Fifth Avenue of the Suburbs”, due to its high-end department stores (Hart Images 65). 1904 also saw the newly created Shade Tree Commission plant its first tree (Hart Images 28). The first city arborist was William Solataroff, who literally wrote the book on urban trees, under the title “Shade Trees in Towns and Cities”, which was heavily used for many years (Hart Postcards 121). It was noted that the city spent a sum of $13,000 in 1920 (equivalent to $151,472 today) to maintain and plant shade trees throughout the city (Pierson 545). Since at least 1921, the city has maintained its own nursery - it was noted that at one time over 4,000 trees were under cultivation. The commission also gave free advice to citizens on the care and maintenance of trees on their properties (Pierson 559). Today the East Orange Shade Tree Division still exists and works to maintain the street trees in the city. The existing trees


LONDON PLANE TREES ALONG MELROSE AVENUE

throughout the city are a treasure that should be carefully maintained and streets with gaps in the tree canopy should be planted anew. In 1907, the mayor of East Orange recommended the “immediate laying out of playgrounds for use by the children of the city”. Elmwood Park, which at the time was being used as an ash dump, was proposed to be converted to a playground. The Oval was purchased in 1907. Today’s Robeson Stadium was purchased by the Board of Education in 1905, and in 1919 the land for Columbian Playground was purchased (Pierson 562-563). The 1920s and 1930s saw significant investment in the city’s parks and public amenities, led by the Board of Recreation Commissioners. Soverel Park was purchased in 1922; significant improvements were made at the Oval and Elmwood; and Memorial Field was completed in 1930.

In 1931, the city was aware of the very real ability of parkland to draw new residents to East Orange. In the 1931 Annual Report from the Board of Recreation Commissioners, it is stated that “the East Orange Oval, directly across from the Grove Street Station, and Memorial Field, just west of the East Orange Station, within easy view of all Lackawanna [train] passengers, so long as they are well kept and largely used, are a splendid advertisement. Those seeking a home in the suburban section are quite naturally impressed with the fact that East Orange is a good place to rear a family” (Board of Recreation Commissioners 13). This same attitude about the value of urban park space is a driving force behind the current parks master plan. Skipping ahead to the 1960s, Interstate I-280 was constructed, and as happened in many urban centers, a good portion of the tax base in the city moved farther out into the suburbs. This was encouraged by the Newark riots of 1967, the culmination of years of social unrest. Today, the city is making great strides towards a return to stability and prominence. The importance of the park and recreation system in improving the quality of life in the city cannot be overstated. The East Orange of today is a diverse city with residents

THE CITY AND ITS PARKS: THE EAST ORANGE PARK SYSTEM >>>

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from all over the world, especially the Caribbean, South America, and Africa. The city has a rich history athletically, with its importance within the history of the Negro Baseball Leagues, and the presence and interest of athletic stars such as Althea Gibson, major league baseball players, and professional football and basketball players. Arts and culture are just as important to residents of the city. A number of artists have come out of East Orange and contributed funds for schools and other public improvements. There are many opportunities within the park and recreation system for public art, arts programming, outdoor performance spaces, and other ways to use creative and innovative strategies to reect what makes East Orange unique. For more detail on these ideas, see the chapter on Art and Community in East Orange.

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>>> THE CITY AND ITS PARKS: THE EAST ORANGE PARK SYSTEM


who is using the parks? Demographics in East Orange


who is using the parks? Demographics in East Orange

The City of East Orange is fortunate to have a diverse population of citizens who are highly creative, passionate, bold, forward-looking, and interested in the future of their city. No park system can be successful without an understanding of its users, and support and input from the community are essential. While the demographic overview that follows is useful in many ways, it is of the utmost importance that ongoing community engagement must be carried forward to ensure the parks meet the needs of their communities.

POPULATION DENSITY One striking characteristic of the city is its population density. According to the 2010 US Census, the population of East Orange is just under 65,000 individuals. Independent studies undertaken by the City and based on sewage use and garbage collection indicate the population may be closer to 72,000. The city occupies a mere 3.9 square miles—meaning that the population density using the US Census number comes to over 16,000 people per square mile. Using the number arrived at by the city, the density comes to over 18,000 people per square mile! Population density for Essex County is only 6,212 people per square mile, while New Jersey comes in at only 1,196 people per square mile. The State of New Jersey ranks 1st in the country for population density, and East Orange ranks 12th out of 566 municipalities in the State. In other words, there are a lot of people living in this 3.9 square mile city and it’s one of the densest cities in the country. The importance of park space in any city cannot be

TEENAGE PARK USERS AT ELMWOOD PARK, APRIL 2013

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The State of New Jersey ranks 1st in the country for population density, and East Orange ranks 12th out of 566 municipalities in the State.

overstated, but the need is amplified the denser a city becomes. This issue is covered in more depth in the section on assessing park need in East Orange. RACE, ETHNICITY, AND ANCESTRAL HERITAGE Many bits of census data combine to numerically represent what makes East Orange unique, but one data set speaks volumes about the city.The diverse race and ethnicity of its citizens is special and sets it apart from other cities and the state. While only about 13% of New Jersey is African American, 86% of East Orange is African American. And within

this number, a whole range of diversity resides. Regarding ancestral origins, the population contains citizens from Haiti (3,400 individuals according to the US Census), Jamaica (3,400) Guyana (2,900),Trinidad andTobago (1,200), Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, and many others. The hispanic and latino population of the city hails from Puerto Rico (1,980), Brazil, and many others. We also recognize that these US Census numbers are most likely not accurate and that the numbers of individuals from these different backgrounds are probably much higher than reported.

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FIGURE E1: RACIAL MAKEUP OF EAST ORANGE East Orange Park Master Plan

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>>> WHO IS USING THE PARKS?: DEMOGRAPHICS IN EAST ORANGE

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SOME OF THE MAJOR ANCESTRAL ORIGINS OF EAST ORANGE RESIDENTS

HISTORIC CHANGES IN THE MAKEUP OF THE CITY

to suburban communities.

Interestingly, the 1922 City Plan for East Orange estimated the 1971 population would be 122,500 according to the growth projections reviewed at that time. In 1920 the population was just under 51,000. The fact that the population of the city is currently around 70,000 is due in large part to a few events that combined to drastically alter the makeup of the city forever. The first was the installation of Interstate 280, which occurred in the mid 1960s. This interstate cut the city directly in half and created a physical and emotional dividing line right through the heart of the city. This, along with the rest of the growing interstate system, encouraged what is known as the ‘flight of the gentry’ the great migration of many members of the middle and upper class from urban centers

Also of note, the same 1922 City Plan states that the small population of minorities resided at that time in the center of the City. The Newark riots of 1967 also changed the makeup of the City forever. This social unrest encouraged many

GUYANA’S 46TH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY 5TH ANNUAL FLAG RAISING CEREMONY, JUNE 2012 (PHOTO: DENZEL THOMPSON)

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In 1921, the population of East Orange was projected to climb to 122,000 by 1971. Today’s population hovers around 70,000.

members of the middle and upper class to move out of densely populated cities and into the suburbs, where safety was perceived to be greater. In spite of the troubles it has faced, the City has made great strides to improve its economic and social standing, and to improve the quality of life for its citizens. As part of these improvements, the City’s park system plays a vital role as a vehicle for positive change within this unique community. DEMOGRAPHICS MAPPING To help determine whether specific parks are meeting the needs of their adjoining communities, this study included a look at where population density is highest; how the senior population is spread throughout the city; how the under-18 population is spread throughout the city; and what median incomes are. POPULATION DENSITY: A look at population density indicates that the US Census block with the highest density is located in Ward 4, and is closest to Memo-

YOUNG PARK USERS AT SOVEREL PARK, SEPTEMBER 2011

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>>> WHO IS USING THE PARKS?: DEMOGRAPHICS IN EAST ORANGE


rial and Elmwood Parks, indicating the importance of these 2 existing parks. Two other areas of high population density are seen in Ward 2 (closest to the newly renovated Rowley Park) and Ward 3 (closest to Elmwood Park and Washington Playground). DISTRIBUTION OF YOUTH: For the city as a whole, those 18 years and under make up about 25.7% of the population, compared to 24.5% in Essex County. The youth of the city is at its highest concentration towards the center of the City - primarily in Ward 2, and closest to Rowley and Memorial Parks. The lowest concentrations are in the area directly surrounding Soverel and Watsessing Parks, and Elmwood Park and Francis Haire Park. Census data also indicates that a high percentage of single mothers live in the city. Of householders in East Orange, 16.5% are female without a husband and with children (the state’s percentage is 6.9%) DISTRIBUTION OF SENIORS: Seniors make up about 12% of the city’s population, about the same proportion as Essex County.The highest concentration of seniors (aged 65 and over) by far is in Ward 5, closest to the tiny Hoffman Park and Columbian Playground. The next highest concentration is in Ward 3, closest to

Washington Playground and Orange County Park. MEDIAN INCOME: A look at median household income in the city helps show which areas have the least personal resources at their disposal—meaning the lower the income, the higher the need is for public park space. The assumption is that if a family has less resources, they cannot necessarily afford the cost in money or time to travel to parks outside of their communities. The areas of lowest median income are located in Wards 1, 2, and 4 and nearest Soverel, Rowley, Memorial, and Francis Haire. The most affluent communities are located in Ward 1 and Ward 3, closest to Watsessing and Orange County Parks, Soverel Park, and Washington Playground. The percentage of people living below the poverty line in East Orange between 2007 and 2011 was 19.4%, compared to 9.4% in the State, and 14.9% in Essex County. The Census information also indicates that East Orange has a much lower rate of home ownership (26.4%) than the State (66.6%) or the County (46.8%), evidenced by the continued high amount of multi-unit buildings and the high population density.

WHO IS USING THE PARKS?: DEMOGRAPHICS IN EAST ORANGE >>>

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SENIOR PARK USER AT ELMWOOD PARK, SEPTEMBER 2011

THE PARKS ARE HEAVILY USED BY ATHLETIC TEAMS, SEPTEMBER 2011

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>>> WHO IS USING THE PARKS?: DEMOGRAPHICS IN EAST ORANGE


10

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FIGURE E2: POPULATION DENSITY East Orange Park Master Plan

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FIGURE E3: RESIDENTS UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE East Orange Park Master Plan

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>>> WHO IS USING THE PARKS?: DEMOGRAPHICS IN EAST ORANGE

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FIGURE E4: RESIDENTS OVER 65 YEARS OF AGE East Orange Park Master Plan

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WHO IS USING THE PARKS?: DEMOGRAPHICS IN EAST ORANGE >>>

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FIGURE E5: MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME East Orange Park Master Plan

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>>> WHO IS USING THE PARKS?: DEMOGRAPHICS IN EAST ORANGE

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what does the community think? Community Engagement: Process, Issues and Ideas


what does the community think? Community Engagement: Process, Issues and Ideas

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In Spring 2013, the Parks Master Plan consultants talked with more than 100 East Orange residents, government employees, and representatives of nonprofit and recreation groups in the city. We conducted a survey that received 86 responses, most of them from children, teens and older adults; the types of residents most likely to use local parks. We also made a lot of observations. The following describes what was heard and learned:

Most of the surveyed residents reported that they felt less than half of their neighbors would agree that daytime security is not a major issue. Alternatively, most respondents don’t feel comfortable going into their local park after dark. Despite assurances from City officials about crime going down, a number of parents and teens told us they feel the parks are dangerous. Better lighting -- and more supervision-- can help a lot.

* EAST ORANGE’S PARKS ARE IMPORTANT TO RESIDENTS. The parks provide places to play and relax, however physically, they could be improved. For example, residents expressed an interest in increased exercise equipment, a skate park, and more basketball courts with improved access to basketball equipment for younger children. Additionally, park safety was a key concern amongst residents. PARTICIPANTS DISPLAY THEIR SKETCH FOR COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND

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We also learned that the Parks should be more attractively landscaped and offer more amenities for relaxing, such as benches, tables and water fountains. The asphalt tracks should be replaced with rubberized surfaces, such as those found in parks of other communities. The parks should also better reflect the visual preferences and population of their respective neighborhoods. Not only should the parks be more attractive and feel safer; there should be murals, sculptures or other symbols identifying residents and what they aspire to be. The field houses are great resources that are underutilized, in need of rehabilitation, and should offer plenty of programs. The field houses can become significant park features that could be used for users in need of refreshments, restrooms, security or refuge. Additionally, the parks should offer a broader range of athletic and outdoor programming including, but not limited to, music, performing arts and nontraditional sports (in addition to basketball, football and baseball). Participants also repeatedly expressed a desire for neighborhood community centers that could offer after school recreation programs for children. Despite the articulated challenges, people interviewed mentioned that, in its existing condition, their local parks cater to the needs of their neigh-

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borhood. However, nearly 93% of the surveyed population said that having a better park would make a big difference in their neighborhoods. The City has many opportunities to make the parks better for residents and the communities they live in. However, the City also has major challenges its leaders and representatives should address. Our recommendations include: * ESTABLISH AND COMPLETE A PILOT PROJECT WITHIN THE FIRST YEAR. While we were hearing many ideas, we also heard skepticism about whether the City was committed to improving the parks. Achieving visible results will help build confidence in the City’s commitment and patience for achieving larger results. We also learned that the burning of the new playground equipment had a deep impact on residents. It led some to question whether improvements to the parks can be protected. (i.e. Residents questioned whether it is worth putting the time, money and effort into improving the parks, if residents are going to be disappointed, and why the burned equipment with its smell remains in place?). We believe the pilot projects should demonstrate how the City and the community can work together to achieve results the community can stand behind. The pilot project should be substantial enough that

>>> WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY THINK? COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: PROCESS, ISSUES + IDEAS


it does not appear as a ‘band-aid’ fix to a park, but represents a true renovation. * FIND BETTER WAYS TO CONNECT TO AND ENGAGE RESIDENTS AND INFLUENTIAL GROUPS IN THE CITY. Despite holding six community meetings and four focus groups -- and doing outreach through flyers and Facebook -- only about a quarter of the anticipated attendants participated. Not a single representative of a community based organization or religious institution attended the focus group and only one businessperson attended the focus group for merchants. Three other meetings had two participants or fewer. The City conducted outreach for the meetings via flyers, press release, word of mouth, direct mail, email, and phone, but found that response was generally low. Some participants at meetings expressed skepticism that anything would result from the community engagement meetings. This may help explain why turnout was low. The consultant team also observed that it would be great for the Department of Recreation and the Library to be involved in outreach efforts. Both entities interface with the community every day and have a great network of potential participants. Re-connecting to the community will establish increased human capital, cultivate trust and productive synergy between the City and its

stakeholders, and the requisite support and capacity required to revitalize the parks and surrounding neighborhoods. * HELP BUILD EFFECTIVE PARTNERSHIPS TO MAKE LASTING IMPROVEMENTS TO THE PARKS BY NURTURING “FRIENDS OF THE PARK” AND PARK CONSERVANCY GROUPS THROUGHOUT THE CITY. Great parks have good friends. The City provides space, security, equipment and maintenance, and programming for its parks. Engaged residents, businesspeople, and leaders of community-based organizations can bring even more: a sense of stewardship, so the City knows faster where and when it needs to be more involved; political and social support; and resources. There are several models for park support organizations in smaller parks and cities. They include Save the Park At Riverbank (SPARK), which supports Newark’s Riverbank Park, the Friends of Ely Park in Lambertville; and in Pennsylvania, the Friends of Allentown Parks in Allentown and the Riverfront Parks Committee of Wilkes-Barre. Dozens of residents told us they would be interested in joining a “friends of the parks.” Seventy-six out of 86 respondents to our survey said the same things, and provided contact emails and phone numbers. Several representatives of City agencies said they would be willing to support these groups by meet-

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ing with them regularly. The newly created Open Space Advisory Committee could play a leading role in organizing the group and building the capacity of East Orange stakeholders to take on leadership roles. When this committee includes residents (one from each Ward) as planned, it will truly be a great step in the right direction. We also learned things about East Orange’s history that could be addressed in the future of its parks and open spaces. The first is that I-280 and the Garden State Parkway divided the city in ways that make its parks seem far away from one another and make the city as a whole feel disconnected. The second is that East Orange has a history of greatness in basketball and baseball. Oval Park hosted Negro League games, and saw the likes of Josh Gibson, Monte Irvin, Satchel Paige, Minnie Minoso and the New York Cuban Giants. The basketball court at Elmwood Park has hosted informal pickup games among some of the National Basketball Association’s greatest players. The third is that while East Orange recognizes its history in its parks through sculptures, the names of parks, and plaques, it is the heritage of people who, for the most part, have left the city. There are many opportunities for the City to recognize and reflect the greatness of today’s communities through the parks.

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* BUILD STRONGER PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN CITY AGENCIES AND THE BOARD OF EDUCATION. Through our interviews and observations, we discovered that collaboration among leaders and staff throughout the city could be greatly improved for the benefit of the city as a whole. In terms of parks and recreation, school facilities provide an attractive and logical partner for the existing city park system. We found that currently, school facilities that could be used for community recreation are regularly locked, made unavailable, or the “red tape” required to gain access is too onerous for most people. We also found that the Recreation Department has an effective working relationship with the Board of Education and consequently would recommend encouraging this relationship even more. During this park planning process, the Department of Policy Planning & Development organized a focus group with representatives from city agencies. While not every department attended, it was easy to see that getting different departments around the table was fruitful and positive for everyone involved. We would recommend that these types of collaborative meetings continue on a more frequent basis to help foster a holistic approach to making the city better. To make lasting improvements in the City, it is imperative that different departments and offices work to strengthen healthy, collaborative relationships.

>>> WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY THINK? COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: PROCESS, ISSUES + IDEAS


WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY THINK? COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: PROCESS, ISSUES + IDEAS >>>

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>>> WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY THINK? COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: PROCESS, ISSUES + IDEAS


BACKGROUND To help East Orange residents and stakeholders guide the Parks Master Plan, a team of consultants from Nishuane Group, Toole Recreation Planning and Wells Appel conducted extensive public engagement within the East Orange community. Six community sessions were held -- at least one in each ward. There were small group conversations with seniors, youth and representatives of local government agencies, as well as representatives of city-wide community and social service organizations and city agencies. More than 50 individual interviews were held with park users, city park staff, the Recreation Department, the Library, non-profit organizations, faith-based institutions, sports leagues, participants in city recreation programs and after school programs, and others with a strong knowledge of city parks. Residents were also asked in surveys about their preferences and perceptions about their parks. The surveys were conducted electronically, in-person, and during community meetings. More than 100 people participated in the various sessions, including more than 35 teenagers and children. While this is not a large sample size, the participants and respondents were residents and

stakeholders of the city and represent a variety of ages and interests. Also, because the team heard many of the same concerns and ideas from different people throughout East Orange, we feel confident that the key issues and ideas presented below are citywide. KEY ISSUES AND IDEAS RAISED BY RESIDENTS As might be expected from such a diverse community, residents raised dozens of issues and offered many ideas for improving the parks. There were several issues that were important to residents and raised at various meetings and focus groups: FIELD HOUSES IN THE PARKS ARE UNDERUTILIZED AND DO NOT MEET THE NEEDS OF RESIDENTS. Residents generally saw a lot of potential in their local field houses being used for games, arts, and health programming, or just as a quiet space to rest. Another popular idea is having concession stands in the field houses. There was also interest in being able to use the field houses for parties, or to rent them for private events. Generally, residents complained about the condition of all buildings and structures within the parks, especially regarding restroom facilities and pool houses. There were many complaints that the field houses in general are too small.

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Though the parks have less crime, some residents are still wary and want to have A GREATER SENSE OF SAFETY AND SECURITY IN THE PARKS. In fact, in interviews and at one of the focus groups, some participants stated that they are too afraid to use the parks because they feel they are too dangerous. Primarily younger girls expressed this opinion. The consultant team heard from the city and a representative of the police that there are very few actual incidents of crime in the parks these days, but that the perception of crime may still be strong. In terms of park use, the perception of danger is enough to deter people from enjoying the parks. THE PARKS DO NOT SEEM TO BE THE KIND OF SHARED SPACES THAT RESIDENTS EXPECT. Teenage boys said they felt harassed by police when they were in the parks. Children complained about being forced away from basketball courts and other open areas by teenagers. Teenagers and adults both said that there was too little equipment for their interests, compared to the new equipment and spaces focused on children. There is a strong interest in making the parks multi-generational. There was the idea that by attracting seniors and families speciďŹ cally, the parks would be safer. The parks need to be ADA accessible and the walking tracks improved for seniors. Providing more shaded areas to sit and relax, as

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well as gathering areas for families, would go far in accomplishing this. Residents want their parks to have MORE ATTRACTIVE LANDSCAPING AND FURNITURE. They mentioned having more colorful plantings, areas planted more naturally, trees, benches, picnic tables, and game tables (such as chess or checkers). Additions such as these would also help attract seniors and families to the parks. Many complained about the condition of existing trees, lawn, and other existing planting. There is a strong interest in REPLACING THE EXISTING TRACKS WITH RUBBERIZED TRACKS. There seems to be two main reasons for this request: rubberized tracks are easier on the feet of runners, joggers, and seniors, and parks in other, more prosperous communities have rubberized tracks. There is a strong interest in having MORE SPORTS PROGRAMMING AND MORE BASKETBALL COURTS. Children in the meetings asked for basketball courts with shorter hoops, so they wouldn’t have to compete with teenagers for space to play. There is a strong interest for a more diverse sports experience to include cricket, lacrosse, soccer, roller hockey kickball, etc. There was also an interest in providing more programming for teens. There is a desire for a small skate park facility and for areas to bike.

>>> WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY THINK? COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: PROCESS, ISSUES + IDEAS


There is a strong need for MORE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN. The after school programs have waiting lists. There is a strong interest in having MORE ORGANIZED PROGRAMMING AND FACILITIES RELATED TO ARTS AND CULTURE. Some ideas include providing space for concerts in the parks, re-using the Elmwood Park field house for community theater, and providing arts and cultural programming. While we heard a lot of great specific ideas on how to improve the parks, comments from participants indicated they felt in general that the parks just need to be renovated, updated, and invested in. THERE IS IN AN OVERALL FEELING THAT PARK FACILITIES AND PLANTINGS ARE PAST THEIR LIFESPAN AND NEED TO BE REPLACED. They cited other parks outside of East Orange that city residents use because they like the programs as well as the quality of facilities. RESIDENTS WANT TO SEE SOME SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENTS HAPPEN QUICKLY TO THE PARK AS A DEMONSTRATION OF THE CITY’S COMMITMENT TO MAKING THEM BETTER. RESIDENTS WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN THE PLANNING PROCESS FOR PARKS AND RECREATION FACILITIES AND SERVICES. HOW EAST ORANGE RESIDENTS USE AND THINK ABOUT THEIR PARKS: FINDINGS FROM QUESTIONNAIRES.

From mid-March to late April 2013, the consultant team surveyed East Orange residents at community meetings, focus groups, and online. There were 86 responses from throughout the city. Most respondents answered all but a few questions. This section discusses the results from all respondents and highlights responses from teens and children, young and mature adults, and older adults. It should be noted that many respondents received the questionnaires at the community engagement meetings. Therefore, this is not intended as a report of a scientific, statistically pure nature – it is admittedly biased toward people who currently use the parks. OVERVIEW OF RESPONDENTS Of the 86 residents who responded to the survey, 47 (55%) are teenagers or children and 13 (17%) are 55 or over. Twenty-five are adults between 19 and 54 and 1 did not specify his or her age. While this does not exactly reflect the overall population in the city (about 21% of residents were between 5 and 19 in 2010, and 22% were at least 55 years old), based on our observations of who uses the park, the survey respondents were more reflective of park users. HOW OFTEN RESPONDENTS USE THEIR PARKS Residents were asked how often they used their lo-

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said they go anytime of day.

cal parks, what time of day they usually went, and how they usually got to their local parks. For visits and ways of getting to the parks, respondents could choose more than one answer. Most respondents (64%) visited their local parks at least a few times a week. More than a quarter (26%) reported going every day or every other day. The afternoons are the most popular times to visit the park (46%), but almost half (40%) go any time of the day, or in the afternoons. The vast majority (92%) said they walk to their local parks, but almost a third (31%) may also drive to their local park. Less than 14% ride bicycles there. Among teens and children who responded, more than half (59%) said they visit their local park at least a few times a week, and 32% said they go to the park every day or almost every day. About 44% said they go to the park in the afternoon, and 49%

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The vast majority of young and mature adults (83%) said they visit their local park at least a few days a week. Most go in the afternoon (56%) or after work (40%). But signiďŹ cant percentages of them go during the morning (24%) or at anytime (32%). Mature adults said they are less likely to visit the park regularly. Only 3 of 9 who responded said they visit their local park at least a few times during the week. Not surprisingly, almost all teens and children (98%) said they usually walk to their local park, but few (16%), said they ride bicycles to the park. More (21%), said they drove or get driven to the park. The vast majority of young and mature adults (17 of 19, or 90%) said they usually walk to their local park, but about half (52%) said they drive. Seven out of 10 older adults said they usually walk to the park. PARKS MOST OFTEN VISITED Respondents were asked what parks they visited most often. Most respondents identiďŹ ed at least two parks.

The East Orange parks most often visited by respondents are Elmwood (36), Oval (27) and Columbian

>>> WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY THINK? COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: PROCESS, ISSUES + IDEAS


add any activities they didn’t see listed, and they could check as many answers as they liked.

(23), then Rowley (13) and Soverel (10). Several parks outside of East Orange are also mentioned. The most frequently visited are Watsessing (22), Orange (20), and Branch Brook (7) Because residents would be expected to most often visit the parks closest to them, the responses may not be representative of the concentration of users in each park. Also, because few adults with young children responded to the survey, playgrounds may be underrepresented in this survey. But the results show that respondents are familiar with many of the parks in the city, as well as those in nearby communities. MOST POPULAR REASONS FOR GOING TO THE PARK Respondents were asked to identify the reasons they go to their local park. They were given 24 choices, ranging from passive activities such as relaxation to intensive team sports, such as rugby and basketball. Respondents were also invited to

The three most popular reasons to go to an East Orange park are to play basketball (36%), walk (34%) or just to relax (34%). Less popular, but significant reasons include taking children to a local playground (18%) and exercising (14%). Many of the same activities are popular with teens and children. About 56% said they play basketball, 31% go to relax, 22% go to play football, and 20% go to walk in the park. Another popular reason to go to the park is to exercise (18%). For young and mature adults, the most popular reasons to go to their parks were to walk (36%), so their children can play (36%) and to relax. For older adults, the most likely reasons to go to their local park are to walk (8 of 9 respondents) or to relax (4 of 9 respondents). THOUGHTS ABOUT THEIR PARK To find out how East Orange residents feel about their parks, we offered a series of statements and asked them to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement (or didn’t know or didn’t have an

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opinion), and to what extent. Only the responses which show a consensus are discussed below.

don’t know” responses, which indicates that respondents have strong feelings about their local park.

Most respondents (74%) feel their local park is safe during the day, but not at night (only 35% said they would feel safe going into the park after dark). Interestingly, only 54% said their neighbors would also feel safe in the parks during the day, which implies that a significant number of East Orange residents may feel the parks are unsafe.

Teens and children look at their parks more favorably, but their responses are similar to that of their older neighbors.

Most respondents are unsatisfied with the amount of lighting or equipment for children and adults. Only 13% said there is enough lighting in their local parks and only 27% are satisfied with the spaces and equipment provided to adults in the park. More people, but not most -- only 37% -- are satisfied with the play spaces and play equipment for children. On the other hand, most respondents (61%) said that there are enough places in their local park to enjoy nature and fresh air. Barely half of respondents (51%) said that their local park, in the condition it is in, is good for their neighborhood. But an overwhelming amount, 93%, said that having a better park would make a big difference in their neighborhood. These two survey statement received among the least number of “I

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A large majority (83%) said their parks are safe in the daytime and most (56%) think their neighbors feel the same way. But only 20% feel their parks are safe at night. Like adults, teens and children are generally unsatisfied with the lighting and equipment in their parks. Only 17% said there was enough lighting and 40% said they are satisfied with the equipment provided for adults. On a more positive note, nearly half (46%) said they are satisfied with the play spaces and play equipment provided for children, and 75% said there are enough places in their local park to enjoy nature and fresh air. Most teens and children (64%) said that their park is good for their neighborhood. A large majority (89%) said that having a better park would make a big difference for their neighborhood. Most young and mature adults (68%) said they feel safe in their local park during the day, and most (61%) said their neighbors would feel the same way.

>>> WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY THINK? COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: PROCESS, ISSUES + IDEAS


While the adults were divided about whether they would feel safe in the park at night, more than half (54%) said their neighbors would feel unsafe. Young and mature adults are largely dissatisfied with lighting and equipment in the park. The vast majority (86%) said there was not enough lighting, 65% said they were unsatisfied with the play spaces and equipment for children, and an even larger percentage (75%) said they were dissatisfied with spaces and equipment for adults. A strong majority of young and mature adults (76%) said that their local park, as is, is not good for their neighborhood, but 96% said that having a better park would make a big difference for their neighborhood. Older adults tended to have a more negative view of their parks as they are now, though they unanimously agree that having a better park would make a big difference for their neighborhood. Though 7 of 13 said they feel safe in their park during the day, only 2 said their neighbors would also feel safe.

Eight of 13 people said they were unhappy with the lighting in their park, 7 with the play equipment provided for children, and 9 with the spaces and equipment provided to adults. Mature adults are divided about whether there are enough places in their local park to enjoy nature and fresh air. WHAT WOULD MAKE THE PARKS BETTER Respondents were asked what they would suggest to make their local parks better, if they were unsatisfied with them. As the word cloud below shows, the most common requests were for more or better equipment, basketball courts and lighting. Residents also suggested improvements to local fields and field houses, as well as having more security. WILLINGNESS TO SUPPORT PARKS An overwhelming number of people surveyed said they would be willing to get involved to support parks

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in East Orange. Forty-three of 47 teens, 21 of 25 young and mature adults, and 11 of 13 older adults said they would be interested in helping make their local parks better. KEY OBSERVATIONS FROM THE CONSULTANT TEAM To provide a fuller understanding of the issues that may affect what East Orange should do and when, we are sharing not just what we heard, but also what we observed. Several observations are mentioned above. This section of the report goes more in depth on some of them. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT ISSUES We were told early on that public engagement would be a challenge in East Orange. Many people do not come to community meetings, and few respond to surveys (this is actually true for many communities). We were surprised by how uneven the participation was -- especially in focus groups to which the participants were invited individually. While two of the community meetings attracted 20 to 35 people, two others brought in less than four adults each. Several teens came to the meeting at the Elmwood Park Field house and several children to the East Orange Public Library. Only one person came to a focus group for merchants whose

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businesses were near parks, and no representative of a community-based organization came to a focus group for civic organizations. It should be noted that the City encouraged the consulting team to hold a business focus group with the local Chamber of Commerce at one of its regular meetings. But because many of its members did not represent businesses with direct connections to local parks, and the focus group model of public engagement works best when it is not part of another meeting, we chose to hold a stand-alone, invitation only focus group. The timing of the public engagement may have had a significant impact. Because of the project schedule, the community meetings and focus groups were held during an unusually cold spell in March and April 2013. Summer, when people are more likely to be using and thinking about their parks, might be a more effective time to do public engagement for parks planning. In some cases, the focus group participants had less than two weeks notice to participate. All of the community meetings and focus groups were concentrated in a five-week period, making it difficult for “buzz” about the project to get around the community. It was not all negative. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised with the number of teens who participated. At the community meeting in the Elmwood Park field house, more than a dozen teens that were in the

>>> WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY THINK? COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: PROCESS, ISSUES + IDEAS


park were asked to participate by a recreation staff person who happened to look in on the meeting. Though they may not have thought about attending the meeting beforehand, they were actively engaged and generated a number of interesting ideas over an hour and a half. Later, a focus group with teens brought in nearly 30 young people -- twice as many as we had expected. The teens were from the Cicely Tyson School and a Mayor’s youth advisory committee. Most stayed for an hour and a half, and about 10 stayed for at least two hours. WHY SO MUCH INTEREST IN RUBBERIZED TRACKS One of the most concrete ideas offered by residents at community meetings was replacing the asphalt tracks in local parks with rubberized tracks. This would especially help seniors, as well as runners and athletes who do track and field events. Yet, few people in meetings or in their surveys said they jog or do track and field activities. Many respondents walk in their parks, but the asphalt surfaces are similar to those of streets and sidewalks. But the request was not just to make it easier on residents’ feet and legs. Several residents talked about how they knew about or enjoyed rubberized tracks in nearby communities with what they felt were better park facilities.

We believe the request for rubberized tracks is as much symbolic as it is practical. Having such tracks may give more residents confidence that the City is willing to make investments in its parks and to give its communities some of the same amenities found in wealthier towns. APPROACH TO PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT The consultant team partnered with the East Orange Planning Department to conduct public outreach. Several strategies were used: • Six community meetings were held between mid March and mid April. One meeting was held in Wards 2 through 5, while two were held in Ward 1. Because of inconsistent information provided to the public, the Ward 1 meeting was repeated. The community meetings were in the following locations: o Ampere Library o Elmwood Park Field house o East Orange Library o Fellowship Civic Center o East Orange Campus High School

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o Five small group conversations (also known as focus group-style meetings) were held to hear from the following interest groups: o Representatives of East Orange public agencies o Representatives of community and faithbased groups o Senior citizens o Teenagers o Residents who had attended earlier community meetings. (The members of this group were invited to review some early suggestions from the consultant team.)

Refer to the Appendix for a copy of the Questionnaire that respondents completed online. The same types of questions were asked when the surveys were conducted in-person, but there were some small modifications to keep the survey to two pages. For example, regarding the question about activities within the park, instead of giving in-person respondents a list of 24 choices, we made that an open-ended question and connected the open-ended answers to any of the choices. If an open-ended answer did not reflect an existing choice, it was inputted as an openended answer in the online format. SurveyMonkey was used for the online survey. The only people who had access to the survey, besides the author, were the members of the consultant team.

• A Facebook page for East Orange parks. The page describes the plan, provides photos of events, and identifies dates and locations of meetings. As of July 14, 2013, the page had received 70 likes. The page can be found at https://www. facebook.com/pages/The-East-Orange-ParksPlan/303698343092892 • A survey, which was provided both online and inperson at meetings.

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>>> WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY THINK? COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: PROCESS, ISSUES + IDEAS


big ideas System-Wide Recommendations


big ideas System-wide Recommendations

PASSIVE RECREATION + GATHERING AREAS More opportunities for strolling through planted areas should be provided. Comfortable seating areas and picnic areas in the shade should be provided for small gatherings of family or friends. Games tables could be scattered throughout the parks.

be used selectively for ornamental value. The Second River should be celebrated as a resource for the city. Nature and children’s play areas could be integrated for an exciting way to bring children closer to nature. MULTI-PURPOSE, SYNTHETIC TURF ATHLETIC FIELDS Using synthetic turf will enable more continuous use of the fields. The fields should be multi-purpose, allowing for a more flexible range of sports. These fields cannot be driven on and must be fenced or enclosed.

OUTDOOR GAME TABLES, WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK, NEW YORK CITY.

MORE NATURE! More naturalistically planted areas should be included in the parks.The palette should be primarily native plants, but other non-invasive species could MULTI-PURPOSE, SYNTHETIC TURF FIELDS.

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PLAY AREAS TO STIMULATE The plan envisions a more robust play experience for children. This could include play equipment themed to relate to the community; integration of natural elements into play areas; outdoor musical equipment; small motion-activated water features; as well as more areas of unprogrammed, open lawn.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: PLAY FOR ALL ABILITIES PARK, ROUND ROCK, TX; CENTENNIAL HILLS PARK, LAS VEGAS; RIVERPLAY DISCOVERY VILLAGE PLAYGROUND, EUGENE, OR; AN OUTDOOR MUSICAL INSTRUMENT.

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PEDESTRIAN LED LIGHTING AT ALL PARKS AND MORE SPORTS LIGHTING.

SAFETY + SECURITY Lighting, additional cameras, and potentially emergency call boxes could be used to help make users feel secure. Encouraging inter-generational use of the parks will also help. SPORTS + PEDESTRIAN LIGHTING Pedestrian scale lighting and athletic court / field lighting should be installed to help park users feel safe and to make the parks usable during the hours between sunset and the park closure. REPLACE ALL CRACKED COURTS

SIGNAGE + MARKETING + COMMUNICATION

Much of the paving throughout the courts is past the point of fixing. Replacement is required, and must be accompanied by the resolution of all poorly draining areas.

Directional signage that is well designed and carefully placed within the neighborhoods would go far in helping residents get the most out of their parks and to instill a sense of coherency throughout the park system. Park entrance signs for each park should be attractively designed to welcome visitors. Each park should have a community bulletin board to announce programs or for the community to use.

ABOVE, ‘WALK PHILADELPHIA’ WAYFINDING SIGNAGE IN USE; RIGHT, WAYFINDING SIGNAGE IN ALEXANDRIA, VA INCLUDES HISTORIC INFORMATION.

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RUBBERIZED PAVING IS EASIER ON WALKERS’ JOINTS.

PARK CONNECTOR STREETS The plan will include ideas for enhancing the streetscapes between the parks to include new paving, planting, directional signage to the parks, public art, and bicycle lanes. These connector streets will link each park to the others and with both train stations. INTER-GENERATIONAL USE The parks should be more inviting for seniors and families. This can be accomplished by improving ADA access, upgrading all walking surfaces, providing more shaded sitting areas and picnic areas, and more planting.

loading / unloading areas provided. PROVIDE FITNESS ZONES These areas could be complete with innovative outdoor fitness equipment that looks like it belongs in a gym. These types of fitness zones have been successfully installed in other municipalities and would include equipment appropriate for all

RUBBERIZED TRACKS WHERE APPROPRIATE Rubberized tracks will be provided where feasible. These surfaces will encourage the safe use of walking tracks by both seniors and athletes. However, these surfaces cannot be driven on. Where required, it may be necessary for police to switch to foot patrols of parks rather than driving on the tracks. In some areas, park users currently drive on tracks for events. This will need to be prevented with physical deterrents such as bollards and appropriate

SAFE PEDESTRIAN ROUTES ON CONNECTOR STREETS.

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>>> BIG IDEAS: SYSTEM-WIDE RECOMMENDATIONS


ages, (including seniors). It would especially benefit community members that cannot afford gym memberships. FURNISHINGS

OUTDOOR FITNESS EQUIPMENT.

OUTDOOR FITNESS

The furniture used throughout the parks should be comfortable and allow use by individuals or small groups of families or friends. INCLUDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR DONOR RECOGNITION Pavers, bench plaques, and wall plaques could all be used to honor donors to the park system, while

also encouraging a feeling of ownership of the park within the community. PUBLIC ART Conducted in partnership between artists and communities, public art and art activities will enhance parks and park connector streets. These cost-effective installations can create a powerful sense of pride and stewardship for the parks. THE PARKS SHOULD REFLECT THEIR COMMUNITIES The park system should reflect the communities that live in East Orange today. This could be achieved through material and plant selection, color palettes, the names of parks, and of course the programs and activities offered in each park.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR PARK BRANDING AND ART.

There is an opportunity to allow the community to express itself in the design of the park. A graffiti / art wall, fences with laser-cut panels designed by students, murals, and mosaics could all be used towards this end.

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UPGRADE ALL FIELD HOUSES All field houses should either be renovated or replaced. A field house at Memorial Park should be installed. Located adjacent to the East Orange Train Station, this park could become a regional draw, attracting people to the city and becoming a driver for economic development.

PROVIDE OUTDOOR ENTERTAINMENT + PERFORMANCE SPACE Within the existing parks, spaces will be provided for enjoying outdoor concerts or performances. Longer term, if new park space were built over the interstate, there may be an opportunity to construct a large outdoor performance space that could become a regional draw.

CREATE A DECK PARK OVER THE INTERSTATE

A LARGE, CENTRAL GATHERING SPACE FOR CITY EVENTS AND PERFORMANCES.

HIGHWAYS CAPPED FOR PARK SPACE: MILLENNIUM PARK IN CHICAGO ABOVE AND NORTH END PARK IN BOSTON TO THE RIGHT.

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>>> BIG IDEAS: SYSTEM-WIDE RECOMMENDATIONS

A long term vision for the parks master plan could include the creation of a new park that bridges across Interstate 280 from City Hall and creates a large civic space right in the center of the City. This could include a large, contemporary bandshell and an expansive lawn for hosting outdoor performances and concerts.


WEEKLY FARMER’S MARKETS COULD TAKE PLACE IN THE PARKS.

ELEVATE THE STANDARD OF DESIGN FOR THE PARKS Park design should not only meet the needs of the community, but should also express a level of innovation and sophistication that will inspire residents and visitors alike. ceptacles and installing spray parks that re-circulate water will conserve resources, reduce the negative impact of the parks on the surrounding environment and enhance the long-term sustainability of the entire park system. SUPPORT COMMUNITY GARDENS + FARMER’S MARKETS STRATEGIES TO INTERCEPT STORMWATER FROM PARKING LOTS, ROADS, AND ROOFTOPS.

RESOLVE STORMWATER ISSUES The fields and courts will have a much longer life span if they are properly drained. There is also an opportunity to manage stormwater in a way that can be beautiful, with natural vegetated swales and raingardens.

Community involvement in individual vegetable or ornamental garden plots can be a simple and cost effective way to encourage a diverse range of park users on a daily basis. Farmer’s markets could be hosted in many of the parks and in the covered area beneath the East Orange Train Station, activating the area between City Hall and the Public Library.

SUSTAINABILITY Using energy efficient LED lighting, renovating field houses for insulation and efficiency, increasing the availability of both litter and recycling re-

COMMUNITY GARDEN PLOTS.

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the city’s parks: ward 1 Soverel Park


the city’s parks: ward 1 Soverel Park: Past, Present, and Future

A VISION FOR SOVEREL PARK To celebrate the most unique feature of this park, the master plan envisions a wide riparian corridor along the Second River that would be lushly planted with native plants. This natural swath of planting would include a meandering path, which would take visitors through a soft landscape and up to the river’s edge. An open air pavilion and seating terraces cut into the slope would encourage educational opportunities as well as formal and informal gatherings. This provision for more passive recreation opportunities within a more natural setting would provide residents with an experience missing from today’s park system. As a longer term goal, the plan also recommends installing a pedestrian bridge across the channel to provide a link to the other side and to allow users a unique view of this feature of the park. This bridge connection could tie into a linear park along the abandoned rail corridor leading to Watsessing Park.

outlet to the Second River. In this way, stormwater is intercepted before it has a chance to damage the park, and it is also celebrated as an amenity—a natural water feature supplied by a renewable source. Since the grandstand requires a lot of renovation to make it fully usable, and because it exhibits significant cracking, the plan proposes its demolition. Its current placement is such that it is located on the short end of the field for both football and soccer. A new fieldhouse outside the 100-year floodplain is proposed to provide changing rooms for the athletic teams, as well as updated restroom facilities with showers. The plan also recommends renovating the existing fieldhouse. It is currently within the 100-year floodplain, so no new additions will be allowed.

The master plan also envisions a visible stormwater collection and conveyance system made of a series of vegetated swales and raingardens. This system would intercept surface flows coming off adjacent properties, allow stormwater to infiltrate, and finally

WARD 1: SOVEREL PARK >>>

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FIGURE G1: A VISION FOR THE NEW SECOND RIVER AT SOVEREL PARK

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WARD 1: SOVEREL PARK >>>

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SOVEREL PARK

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Entrances to the park are rendered more inviting and appealing. Signage is improved and pedestrian lighting is provided. Upgraded lighting is provided at all courts and pedestrian lighting is provided throughout the park. New tree, shrub, and perennial plantings are proposed throughout the park, and especially at entrances. Soverel could even accommodate an ornamental garden, as well as community gardens. Finally, the vision for the future of this park provides many comfortable opportunities for small gatherings of families, the elderly, and children through picnic areas, seating, and games tables.

FIGURE G2: SOVEREL PARK PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS PLAN East Orange Park Master Plan

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The plan also recommends rebuilding the tennis and basketball courts, as well as the baseball and football fields. The plan envisions an artificial turf field surrounded by a new track. This field would be multipurpose and lit with upgraded sports lighting. The consultant team heard from members of the athletic community that this field is highly used and that during football practices, most of the fields are used.

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SPRINGDALE LAKE ONCE COVERED ALMOST ALL OF TODAY’S SOVEREL PARK (Photo: Hart, Images 12).

MAP OF THE SITE OF SOVEREL PARK FROM ATLAS OF 1874 (Board of Recreation Commissioners, 56)

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A MARBLE TOURNAMENT AT SOVEREL, 1927 (Hart, Images 104).

COMMUNITY BACKGROUND AND HISTORY The first ward contains only one municipal park— Soverel Park—but also contains the southern end of Watsessing Park, which is an Essex County Park. Residents reported using both parks. This ward is also home to Manufacturer’s Village, a creative post-industrial complex which has been repurposed as a home for artisans, photographers, sculptors, painters, and small businesses. This ward is also home to many schools and religious institutions, including East Orange Campus High School. Paul Robeson Stadium is also located in this ward, and is the only stadium in the city. The first ward is also home to the only open water in the city—the Second River (also labelled on some maps as Wigwam Brook). This river is channelized through the city and continues in its channel through Watsessing Park and on into Belleville Park in Newark and Belleville, ultimately making its way to the Passaic River, then to the Hudson River, and out to the Atlantic Ocean. The community in the first ward is home to one of the most affluent populations in the city. However, one of the four census blocks within this ward indicates the lowest range of median household income as well. The consultant team also heard that many people are beginning to move into this ward

from adjacent Bloomfield, citing lower tax rates as an incentive. The demographic analysis indicates that this ward is home to less residents under the age of 18 than other wards, and also has one of the lower population densities. Historically, the area was known as Doddtown, and in 1921 it was noted that “there are more owners of homes in the First Ward than in any other part of the city, and under the banner of the First Ward Local Interest Club there is a live, intensive interest in its welfare” (Pierson 547). This spirit of community building helped improve the open space and recreational opportunities that exist in the First Ward. The Second River also invited many industrial uses. The making of hats was an important industry for the city and survived into the 1920s. “The water courses, chiefly the east branch of the Rahway river running through the Orange Valley and the Second river, in the Doddtown section, were utilized by the manufacturers, their factories being erected on the bank and sometimes over the stream. The water furnished was ideal for washing the headgear, a necessary part of

WARD 1: SOVEREL PARK >>>

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WET AND CRACKED COURTS

the manufacture” (Pierson 638). Aside from hat making, the making of cider was also very important in the area, and contributed to the planting of many apple orchards (Hart, Images 15). At the site of today’s Soverel Park, in 1854 a resident named Matthais Soverel expanded an existing lake by flooding the land with water from the Second River for his ice business. In time, Springdale Lake covered almost the entirety of today’s park. He found that residents were using the lake for ice skating, which he worried would contaminate his ice. As a result, he constructed a pond for ice skating in the southwest corner of the site for use by the public. The harvesting of ice stopped in 1888. A few years later, the lake was drained and filled with earth and ashes.

POORLY DRAINING FIELDS

In 1922, the City purchased the property and used it as a waste dump for about 4 years in order to save on hauling costs. In 1927, the tract was turned over to the Recreation Commission, and with a sum of $135,000 ($1.8 million in today’s dollars) developed the land as a public park. At this time, the grandstand, with its dressing rooms, toilets, tool room, and storage was constructed, and could seat about 750 spectators. By 1931, if not sooner, the park contained 5 drinking fountains, 7 tennis courts, 1

AD HOC FITNESS EQUIPMENT

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THE SECOND RIVER LOOKING WEST: HAPHAZARD FENCING, UNSIGHTLY AND UNINVITING SPACE

THE SECOND RIVER LOOKING EAST: ERODED SLOPES AND DEBRIS

ERODED, BARE SLOPES; UNSIGHTLY FENCING

THE GRANDSTAND

WARD 1: SOVEREL PARK >>>

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NEW PLAY EQUIPMENT

UNINVITING SIGNAGE

running track, 1 senior baseball diamond, 1 junior baseball diamond, 1 football field, 2 basketball courts, handball, a wading pool with a concrete pergola, and children’s play equipment (Board of Recreation Commissioners, 59-60). The Schools and Recreation Report of 1945-1946 states that Soverel “has a modern grandstand and community building, seven clay tennis courts, excellent planting and provisions for both active and passive recreation and is only slightly hampered by its isolation caused by lack of street frontage which if present, would add to the appearance of the city” (City Planning Board, 12). Today, the park is in a state of disrepair, but this is the chance to return this park to its full potential, for the benefit of the city as a whole. SOVEREL PARK TODAY While the park has a lot of great potential, many issues exist that need to be addressed. Simple repairs will not suffice; significant renovation is required. Two of the main problems are soggy fields, areas of standing water, and the cracking of all the courts. A number of factors contribute to the drainage issues. For one, many areas of the fields and courts do not have positive drainage, due to slopes being less than 1% overall. The soil is also very compact-

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ed, which encourages stormwater to puddle on the surface, rather than soaking into the ground. Third, over half the park is within the 100-year floodplain of the Second River. Finally, a considerable amount of stormwater flows into the park from adjacent lots on Springdale Avenue and Brighton Avenue. For the complete Stormwater Management Report, refer to the Appendix.


When Springdale Lake was filled in, and when the city used the land as a dump, significant amounts of fill were used. It has been noted that it may be as deep as sixteen feet in some areas (Board of Recreation Commissioners, 59). For the State Fill Map of Soverel, refer to the Appendix. These settling fill soils have contributed significantly to the poor condition of the courts and lawn areas throughout the site. The edge of the filled area of the park slopes steeply to the Second River, and exhibits severe erosion. This contributes to silting in the water channel in heavy rains. There are areas of weedy growth that are very unattractive and undesirable views from the park to the houses on the other side of the river. The fence along the channel is damaged and discontinuous. A significant amount of vegetative and rocky debris litters the channel.

The grandstand is painted annually, but does exhibit visible substantial cracking. The space below is now used only for storage, the restrooms and other rooms not fit for use. There is an ad hoc fitness equipment area near the Park Street entrance - while serviceable, it is relatively unattractive. Also in this area, the paths and fences are awkwardly laid out. This entrance is also hampered by an unsightly mechanical building and outdoor storage area for athletic equipment. On a positive note, the play area was recently installed and is in great condition. There are also many beautiful mature trees scattered throughout the park, including a Blue Atlas Cedar, Magnolia trees, and Oaks.

There are also issues of visibility in the park. The parking lot and entrance to the park have poor visibility from the street, as do the tennis courts and east entrance. All hard courts are cracked and need replacement. Some of the tennis courts are located too close to the river and exhibit severe cracking. Some of the light poles are leaning downslope.

THE SOVEREL PARK FIELDHOUSE TODAY

WARD 1: SOVEREL PARK >>>

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FIGURE G3: WARD 1 CONTEXT PLAN

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WARD 1: SOVEREL PARK >>>

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SOVEREL PARK

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FIGURE G4: SOVEREL PARK EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN East Orange Park Master Plan

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the city’s parks: ward 2 Memorial + Rowley Parks


the city’s parks: ward 2 Memorial and Rowley Parks: Past, Present, and Future

A VISION FOR MEMORIAL PARK This park is key for the city since it lies within the planned Transit Village and serves the populous city center, with its high numbers of children and low median incomes. This park could become a great civic space in a highly visible location. To activate this park and provide a more diverse and watchful set of users, the master plan for Memorial envisions a strong physical and programmatic connection between the library and the park. The plan proposes an outdoor terrace at a new entrance to the library that would transition to a park plaza and then into the park itself. At the time of this master plan, the Main Library had completed a design study showing this additional entrance. To accomplish this, the library’s employee parking lot has been shifted to the south. With the park system and library working together, this park would

become an example of a fruitful collaboration among city agencies, and create a new type of park—the community library park. The master plan also envisions a new fieldhouse to replace the one that was removed due to water damage. When speaking to young park users, the consultant team heard the need for a basketball court with lower hoops that teens would not be able to use, as well as a spray park, and a larger lawn area for unprogrammed play. The plan also envisions a small bandshell set into a corner of the park that would enable park visitors to sit on the lawn and watch small performances. The location of this park in the center of town lends itself to such a use. Between the adjacent lots and the park, the plan proposes a more naturalized planted buffer as well as a system of vegetated swales to intercept runoff before it can damage the lawn areas. Gathering spaces for

VIEW FROM TODAY’S MEMORIAL PARK LOOKING TOWARD CITY HALL

WARD 2: MEMORIAL + ROWLEY PARKS >>>

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FIGURE H1: A VISION FOR THE NEW MEMORIAL PARK.

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WARD 2: MEMORIAL + ROWLEY PARKS >>>

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families are also provided, as well as new seating, and a new pedestrian circulation system. COMMUNITY BACKGROUND AND HISTORY The Second Ward contains an area of the city that may be in the most need of quality open space and recreational programming. This is due to the fact that this area contains the densest population, very high numbers of residents under the age of eighteen, and low median household incomes. There are also many renters in this ward, and many sin-

gle parents supporting young children. The senior population is lower in the Second Ward than in other wards. This ward is physically divided into north and south by Interstate 280, which cuts right across the center of the ward. The busy commercial corridors of Main Street and Central Avenue run through this ward, and Brick Church Station and the Brick Church shopping center are also located here. The large performing arts school, the Cicely L. Tyson Community School

CHILDREN RACING SAILBOATS IN THE WADING POOL AT MEMORIAL, 1937 (Hart, Images 96)

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THE ORIGINAL MAIN ENTRANCE 1931; LOOKING SOUTH FROM WHERE I-280 IS TODAY (Board of Recreation Commissioners 62)

of Performing and Fine Arts, makes its home in this ward, as does the East Orange Main Library, and the newly completed Bowser Senior Center. Prior to the construction of Interstate 280 in the 1960s, Memorial Park was on the interior of the block, surrounded by other lots, and with narrow street frontages on Walnut Street and Lenox Avenue. It was more than twice the size it is today, before the interstate and Freeway Drive East took over much of its space. The land for the park was purchased by the City in 1926 for $225,000 (close to $3 million today). In 1929, the park began construction with $94,000, and opened to the public in 1930. It was noted that “like

three other playgrounds in the City, this one was constructed on a plot that had been a neglected, marshy, unattractive place for many years” (Board of Recreation Commissioners 61). The design of the park was intended primarily for passive recreation and intentionally lacked programmed sports facilities. “This field, being small in size and situated in a large volume residential district, has not been developed as the other larger fields, i.e., to cover a full range of activity for children of all ages. On this field will be found no baseball diamonds, no basketball courts, no play equipment for older boys and girls. In their place will be found a restful field, a park, providing only for the younger children and adults” (Board of Recreation 61). Interestingly, in the

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SOGGY, UNUSABLE LAWN AREAS

PONDING ON PATHWAYS; LOOKING TOWARDS THE LIBRARY

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PONDING AT THE BASKETBALL COURT

towards City Hall and the East Orange Train Station and it has excellent street frontage (rare for the city’s parks). The sidewalk along Freeway Drive East is heavily used by the community.

ward meeting for this park, the majority of participants were children under the age of 13, who complained about teenagers and adults using the park. They also expressed their love of the open, undefined grassy area in the park and requested it be made larger. The park was intended as a memorial to veterans who fought in World War I, and contains a statue which reads, “To Honor Those Who Kept the Faith 1917-1918”. It originally contained lush and colorful plantings, a rose garden, a large concrete and wood pergola, walks for strolling, a wading pool 40 feet in diameter, children’s play equipment, a horseshoe pit, and other small games.

The park also has many problems that require substantial renovation. As is the case in many of the city’s parks, stormwater and poor drainage are major issues that lead to ponding and soggy, unusable areas. There is a low point in the center of the park (where the wading pool used to be and where the statue is currently located) that receives a high volume of stormwater. Soils are very compacted. The tennis courts are cracked and do not drain. Significant amounts of stormwater flow into the park from adjacent properties and parking lots.

MEMORIAL PARK TODAY

An employee parking lot for the library separates the library from the park. In discussions with library personnel, the consultant team ascertained that the library would be open to moving this parking lot further south in order to foster a real connection between the park and library.

Today, Memorial Park has a lot of great potential, as it is adjacent to the East Orange Main Library and is in the civic heart of the city. It has great views

There is an excessive amount of unsightly chain link fence throughout the park, and in some places is even doubled up. Many areas of fencing are very damaged

WARD 2: MEMORIAL + ROWLEY PARKS >>>

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UNINVITING STREET FRONTAGE

or have large holes cut in them. The grassy area is fragmented by unnecessary paving and by the large statue in the center of the park. The paving frequently has standing water in places after a rain event. THE BURNED PLAYGROUND

Entry into the park is somewhat confusing in that the gate off Walnut Street is kept locked, as is one of the gates off Freeway Drive East. This is compounded by the fact that the areas near the open entrances are plagued by standing water. The recently installed playground was burned in 2012 and still has not been removed. The odor of burnt rubber mulch lingers at the site. Handball and tennis courts require complete renovation to be usable, and all entrances to the park need improvement. Memorial Park used to contain a ďŹ eldhouse, but the structure was removed in the last few years due to water damage.

UNINVITING, OPPRESSIVE ENTRANCE

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ROWLEY PARK The recently completed, award-winning renovation of Rowley Park represents a great first step in the advancement of the city’s park system. Completed in 2011, the park has been extremely well received by the community. The consultant team heard it repeatedly used as a standard or comparison for improvements that could happen at the city’s other parks. The park was originally dedicated in 1967 and was named after Lincoln E. Rowley, Secretary of the Board of Recreation Commissioners in the city in the 1930s (Gerrish and Goode).

THE SPRAY GROUND AT ROWLEY

THE EAST ORANGE UNIFIED MARCHING BAND AT ROWLEY (photo, Gerrish and Goode).

WARD 2: MEMORIAL + ROWLEY PARKS >>>

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It contains a small practice field, attractive plantings, 2 new basketball courts, a spray ground, a new fieldhouse, a walking track, public restrooms, and a small parking lot. There have been some complaints of litter and of plantings being stolen. One possible criticism of the improvements heard by the consultant team was the removal of a graffiti wall, reportedly dated to 1995.

All in all, this park is a great accomplishment. One recommendation would be to nurture a “Friends of Rowley Park” group to help this park continue on successfully. It is also critical to protect the city’s investment by ensuring sufficient maintenance funds are in place.

THE GRAFFITI WALL THAT EXISTED AT ROWLEY BORE MESSAGES SUCH AS “JAZZ”, “AFRICAN PRIDE”, “KNOWLEDGE IS THE KEY,” “EAST ORANGE PRIDE,” AND “HIP HOP” (Gerrish and Goode).

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A NUMBER OF TREES AT MEMORIAL ARE IN GREAT SHAPE

WARD 2: MEMORIAL + ROWLEY PARKS >>>

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FIGURE H3: WARD 2 CONTEXT PLAN

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the city’s parks: ward 3 Elmwood Park + Washington Playground


the city’s parks: ward 3 Elmwood Park and Washington Playground: Past, Present, and Future

A VISION FOR ELMWOOD PARK According to many residents, Elmwood Park is the most popular and best-loved park in the city. The vision for Elmwood returns this park to its former glory by celebrating its role as an active center of community celebration, pride, and history. As the centerpiece of the park, the field house should be renovated to alleviate deferred maintenance issues. Restroom facilities should be returned to an optimal condition. A new guardrail should be installed on the porch and a new shade awning could be fabricated to fit the existing hardware. Restoring the field house porch would bring the building back to life on hot summer days. The

plan also recommends a kiosk near the field house that could be rented out to food vendors. This would further activate the park and bring in some revenue. The plan also envisions an expanded pool deck and renovated poolhouse. There may also be opportunity for a small area containing spray features. The master plan also envisions installing sidewalk around the entire perimeter of the park, and moving the fence line inward to accommodate this improvement. Since the fence needs to be reset anyway in order to make it plumb, this is a great opportunity to make this park safer and more inviting. The plan also creates a new basketball court on the corner of Rhode Island Avenue and Oak Street, where

THE ELMWOOD PARK FIELD HOUSE TODAY

WARD 3: ELMWOOD PARK + WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND >>>

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FIGURE I1: A VISION FOR ELMWOOD PARK.

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WARD 3: ELMWOOD PARK + WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND >>>

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FIGURE I2: ELMWOOD PARK PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS PLAN East Orange Park Master Plan


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one used to be located. While this master plan was underway, the City partnered with Coca-Cola and Shoprite and installed the newly renovated basketball court at the corner of Elmwood and Oak, dedicated to basketball legend and East Orange native Harry James. This new court was unveiled in July of 2013 and cost about $40,000. To highlight the basketball history that permeates this corner of the park, commemorative pavers or a mural could be used along the streetscape, either in the sidewalk, or on a low seatwall that could also accommodate spectators. The plan also proposes a rubberized track in place of today’s asphalt track. To accomplish this, police surveillance would have to switch to pedestrian patrols, as vehicular access on the rubberized track would be prohibited. The police department was amenable to this idea. For loading and unloading during events, the plan shows two areas for this purpose off Oak Street and on the other side of the park off Freeman Avenue. Vehicular access on the interior of the park would be prohibited.These could be accomplished with removable bollards installed at entrances to the parks. Maintenance staff could temporarily remove the bollards for maintenance vehicles only. The master plan also proposes the entire oval of

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the field be regraded and reseeded, with an underdrain installed. Alternatively, an artificial turf field could be used, but the heavy use of this space for non-athletic events may discourage this. Lighting of this field is also recommended. The tennis courts and associated fences and walls should be replaced. While the tennis courts are shorter than regulation size, it was noted in interviews that this is not a problem for users. Large drifts of shrub and perennial plantings are recommended for this park, as are new furnishings and pedestrian lighting. Smaller activity nodes are envisioned throughout the park as well—picnic tables, games tables, and exercise equipment. Entrances to the park would be renovated. The entrance off Rhode Island Avenue presents a great opportunity to replace the missing row of sculptures with new public art that is relevant to today’s East Orange. Finally, visual examination of the 7-foot wide pipe containing the original brook is recommended to determine the condition of this piece of infrastructure. Today, this can be accomplished with cameras to help determine if repairs are required.


A VISION FOR WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND For Washington Playground, the master plan proposes a more organic and informal shape for the field. Surrounding this field is an informal walking circuit, planted with shrubs and flowering perennials. New entrances are proposed for the park, as are new site furnishings and pedestrian scale lighting. The plan recommends replacing the existing play equipment with two new, adjacent play areas— one for older children and one for younger. This new equipment would remove some of the burden placed on the existing playground at nearby Elmwood Park. A dog park is also proposed, as well as a small exercise equipment area, and a skate park. The field house is replaced with a new building that contains functioning restroom facilities and storage for equipment.

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WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND

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FIGURE I3: WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS PLAN East Orange Park Master Plan


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COMMUNITY BACKGROUND AND HISTORY

southern side of busy Central Avenue and smaller commercial areas on Sanford Street, Tremont Avenue, and South Orange Avenue. The Third Ward also contains a number of schools, both public and char-

The Third Ward contains what many believe to be the centerpiece of the city’s parks: Elmwood Park. It also abuts Orange County Park to the west and includes Washington Playground, currently a Board of Education property with a vacant school building occupying the eastern portion of the block. This section of the city has a census block on its western edge with high median incomes and a high number of residents over 65. The rest of the ward has a median ELMWOOD PARK AFTER FREEMAN’S IMPROVEMENTS OF 1919-1920 income right in the mid(Recreation Commissioners 47) dle of the range—neither high or low. The numbers of residents under 18 is high, but not the highest ter schools. However, a few large schools have been in the city and population density tends toward the abandoned and sit empty. The VA Medical Center is higher end. located in the southwest corner of this ward. There This ward is largely to the west of the Garden State Parkway, but does contain an isolated area of housing nestled between the Parkway and Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. This ward also includes the

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are also many important religious institutions, including Elmwood United Presbyterian, a few blocks west of Elmwood Park.


“No men are foreigners to me; of one blood are all nations.”

This section of the city really came into its own after the trolley cars began running on Central Avenue in the early 1900s, in the days before the automobile changed cities forever. “Trolley cars running along Central Avenue were the open sesame, as it were, for the development of unoccupied land, bringing homesteaders and adding to the taxable valuations of the city. The Elmwood section, in its highly populous state of 1920, justifies the City Council’s action” (Pierson 544). Elmwood Park itself was donated to the City by the Elmwood Home Association on April 2, 1855 and consisted of about 9 acres of swampland (Hart Postcards 66). It was then used as a dump for many years and at one time to house small pox patients, when there was a mild epidemic in the town. In 1891, improvements were suggested via petition, but nothing was done. Between 1897 and 1903, the City attempted to transfer the tract to the Essex County Park Commission, but again, nothing happened. Between 1903 and 1908, a brook running through the tract was dammed for ice skating each winter, but “each year the skating area being less and less be-

“THE ALTAR OF DEMOCRACY” USED TO STAND AT THE RHODE ISLAND AVENUE ENTRANCE (Hart, Images 105)

cause of the dumping by the City” (Recreation Commissioners 45). The park ceased use as a dump in 1910 (Hart Postcards 66). Improvements were begun in 1910 for a sum of $5500 with grading, seeding, walks, trees and shrubs, a running track, tennis courts, and for play equipment. In 1916, the park came under the control of the Board of Recreation Commissioners and more improvements were made. Like many historic natural watercourses running through our cities, the brook running through Elmwood became an open sewer due to the use it was

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THE FIELD HOUSE AT ELMWOOD IN THE 1930s (Hart, Images 109)

put by residents and industry. In 1917, a private resident by the name of Mr. Alden Freeman made it clear he would donate money to complete Elmwood Park if the City would eliminate the open sewer (Recreation Commissioners 46). This water course was consequently buried in a seven-foot wide, 1600-foot long concrete pipe, the Elizabeth River Valley Drain, for a cost of almost $40,000 (Pierson 562 and Recreation Commissioners 46).

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With this work complete, Mr. Freeman invested about $150,000 of his own funds into the park. A large part of this sum was used for a series of sculptures dedicated to his father and entitled, “The Shrine of Human Rights”, by the sculptor Ulric H. Ellerhuson. These sculptures were located at the Rhode Island Avenue entrance to the park and centered around the theme of equality and human rights, a very hot topic at this time in American history. The main sculpture read “No men are foreigners to me; of one blood are


all nations”. There were four sculptures marching along the walk, one from each major continent and meant to represent a human rights figure. There were Pocahontas, Columbus, Confucius, and Frederick Douglass (Pierson 563). Today, only Confucius remains along this walkway. The dedication of the improved park occurred October 12, 1921 and a huge crowd of 6,000 turned out to celebrate. The fieldhouse was erected in 1928 for about $65,000 and was the pride of the Recreation Commission. The ornamental fence was installed in 1931 to pro-

THE ELMWOOD FIELD IS HEAVILY USED BUT IS FREQUENTLY SOGGY

tect children from vehicular traffic. It was noted that no gates were installed in order to keep the park as publicly accessible as it always was (Recreation Commissioners 50). The Little Theater of East Orange began operating out of the Elmwood Park field house in 1935. “With the depression in full swing, Francis H. Haire, recreation superintendent, had an idea that an adult Little Theater might help the community” (Hart, Images 109). The idea was well received and the theater operated all the way through the 1950s, when the theater moved to the Elmwood School in 1958. The Little Theater ceased operation in the early 1960s due to decreasing audiences. According to interviews conducted by the consultant team, the basketball courts at Elmwood have hosted informal pickup games attended by some of the National Basketball Association’s greatest players. The court at the corner of Oak Street and Arlington Avenue has a lot of special significance to the community.

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THE ORIGINAL ENTRANCE WALLS ARE CHARMING BUT DO NOT PROVIDE A GREAT USE

MANY TEMPORARY OR ERODED PATHWAYS AT ELMWOOD

EXISTING ASPHALT PATH IS IN FAIR SHAPE, BUT EXHIBITS SOME PUDDLING

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EDGE CONDITION AT LAWN IS POOR


CRACKED TENNIS COURTS, WALLS, AND FENCES NEED REPLACEMENT

EXISTING PLAY EQUIPMENT IS HEAVILY USED THE BASKETBALL COURT EXHIBITS DAMAGE FROM TREE ROOTS AND DOES NOT DRAIN PROPERTY

THE FIELD HOUSE TODAY

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ELMWOOD PARK TODAY As is the case with all of the city’s parks, stormwater management is a problem for today’s Elmwood Park. Slopes are very shallow, soils are highly compacted, and poor drainage is the result. The large oval in the center suffers the most, with areas of ponding and sogginess. There are also no sidewalks on the park side of the street for the entire perimeter of the park, which creates dangerous situations. The consultant team heard during interviews that the intersections along Rhode Island Avenue at Freeman Avenue and Oak Street are particularly dangerous. There are ADA accessible ramps with detectable warning surfaces at the Elmwood Avenue corners of the park, but these only connect with a worn-in dirt path. Within the park, a number of ad hoc asphalt ramps have been installed, presumably to provide some ADA access. These are often very steep and cracked. The basketball court at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Oak Street shows damage from the roots of the adjacent London Plane trees. Incidentally, these two trees are some of the nicest in the park. All athletic courts show significant cracking.This is

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probably due to the lack of positive drainage, as well as settling fill soils beneath the courts. The retaining walls and fences surrounding the tennis courts show significant damage and should be replaced. The tennis walls are surfaced in plywood, creating a maintenance issue. In spite of the poor condition of the tennis courts, these are reportedly the most heavily used tennis courts in the city. The ornamental iron fence at the edges of the park should be repainted, with rust removed, and posts reset. Some sections of fence are no longer plumb, and a few need to have pickets straightened. A number of the gates are chained and padlocked closed. There are many sections of chain link fence in the park, some of which are duplicated and unnecessary. Some areas of paving could be removed, especially around the field house. Today, the field house is completely surrounded by asphalt. The entrances to the park are dismal, with unwelcoming signage and a lack of quality vegetation. Many of the mature trees are in excellent condition, while many of the smaller, flowering trees are in poor condition. There are very few shrubs or perennials in the park. The existing shrubs are all pruned into round shapes.


A MOTHER AND CHILD WALK IN THE STREET TO GET TO THE PARK

The pool is in great condition, but the poolhouse needs significant renovation.

PARK ENTRANCES ARE UNINVITING; THE “ALTAR OF DEMOCRACY” USED TO BE AT THE END OF THIS ENTRANCE

The existing playground is heavily used and very popular. The only request the consultant team heard from the community was to enlarge the play area to relieve some of the heavy use. Sculptural remnants of the older play equipment still exist in the south corner of the site. These do not appear to be used by today’s children, but are interesting in their own right. The ad hoc exercise equipment installed by maintenance staff is very popular, but could be replaced with sturdier equipment.

The field house requires renovation to make the bathrooms completely functional once more. The hardware for the shade awning is still in place, but the awning is no longer there. Most planters around the field house have been filled in with asphalt. The railings at the field house porch are not tall enough to meet code. The International Building Code requires 42” guardrails.

Site furnishings are old and uncomfortable. However, the existing retaining walls provide informal seating opportunities, as do the steps leading up to the field house.

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THE ‘BONES’ OF ELMWOOD ARE GREAT AND THE PARK HAS SOME BEAUTIFUL TREES

AREAS OF UNNECESSARY PAVING COULD BE REMOVED

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A LARGE AREA OF CRACKED UNNECESSARY PAVING

WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND HISTORY The Washington School was constructed in 1912 as the Washington Academy of Music to relieve overcrowding at other city schools. It was expanded in 1920 (Gerrish and Goode, Centennial 5). As noted previously in this report, the idea of combining outdoor school facilities and neighborhood parks is not new for East Orange. A Schools and Recreation Report published by the City Planning

Board in 1945 identified Washington Playground as a great opportunity. “Washington School and its playfield can be utilized without site changes as an adequate center for this neighborhood. It would be desirable to plan to provide a community center and library space in the present building” (City Planning Board 23).

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WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND TODAY Today, Washington Playground is in need of much renovation, but still possesses a lot of potential as a great neighborhood park. The school has been empty for some time, but there may be plans to reopen it in the future. A large volume of stormwater sheet flows off adjacent properties to the west of the park and onto the field, exacerbating poor drainage issues. The field itself is small and compacted. Along the fence lines at the west side of the park, poison ivy and other weeds are a problem. The existing basketball courts are cracked. The consultant team heard that these are not used today because of their poor condition. The field house is too small and does not meet the needs of the park. Both entrances are unwelcoming and are sized for large vehicles. There is no signage.

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The children’s play equipment is still serviceable, if a little dated. It is also not ADA compliant. The play surface needs to be redone. There is one remnant of concrete 1960s play equipment that is sculptural and interesting. The asphalt ramps leading up to the field are not handicap accessible and sections of the surrounding retaining walls are in need of replacement. There are several mature honey locust trees around the basketball courts that are in great condition.


UNINVITING ENTRANCE AND STREET FRONTAGE

EXISTING WALLS NEED REPLACEMENT

EXISTING FIELD IS SOGGY AND COMPACTED

OLDER PLAY EQUIPMENT AND SAFETY SURFACE SHOULD BE REPLACED

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FIGURE I4: WARD 3 CONTEXT PLAN

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121


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WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND Stormwater sheet flows from parking into park

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FIGURE I6: WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN East Orange Park Master Plan

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125


the city’s parks: ward 4 East Orange Oval + Francis Haire Park


the city’s parks: ward 4 East Orange Oval and Francis Haire Park: Past, Present, and Future

A VISION FOR THE OVAL The centerpiece of the proposed master plan is a fully restored field, surfaced in artificial turf, and functioning for baseball, soccer, or football. Surrounding this field is a proposed rubberized track with a true oval form to replace the existing track that has lost its oval over the years. On the west side of the new field are concrete risers set into the slope for spectator seating. A new field house would be built at the top of the slope and would house public restrooms, changing rooms for players, and concessions. The plan also envisions a memorial commemorating the Negro Baseball League, or a mural on the wall of the New Jersey Transit Train line. The plan also recommends acquiring three lots on the southeast corner of the block to allow the Oval to fill in this corner. In one scenario, this cor-

EAST ORANGE OVAL TODAY

ner could be used as an entrance to the park and as parking for the Civic Center.This would enable a very strong connection between the Civic Center and the Oval. In a second scenario, parking for the Civic Center could be moved onto a portion of Hollywood Plaza. This would open up the whole southeast corner of the Oval block as additional park space with a new park entrance and would also foster a strong connection between the park and the Civic Center. The basketball courts are all relocated to the east side of the park, while the existing play area on the south is shown to remain. The play area to the north (close to Grove Place) is shown as being renovated. A spray park is also proposed on the north side of the park. A large area for picnics and small gatherings is located at the north side of the park surrounding an open lawn area, and encircled with lush new plantings. There is also a more informal strolling path that winds around the perimeter of the path, through more natural planted areas and with tables and benches scattered throughout. A system of vegetated swales, raingardens and subsurface detention is proposed to intercept stormwater as close to the park edges as possible, before it can damage the park.

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FIGURE J1: A VISION FOR THE EAST ORANGE OVAL.

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WARD 4: EAST ORANGE OVAL + FRANCIS HAIRE PARK >>>

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It is also recommended that a feasibility study be completed to replace the Fellowship Civic Center with a modern facility that meets the needs of today’s citizens. A partnership with the YMCA could be explored to the mutual benefit of both the YMCA and the City. A VISION FOR FRANCIS HAIRE PARK Ideally, the relationship between Dionne Warwick Elementary School and the park would be improved so that the school grounds and the park could flow together and share resources for the benefit of both sets of users. In today’s climate, the master plan proposes renovations solely within the boundaries of the existing park. Instead of the swimming pool, a new sprayground is proposed, with a safer and more accessible equipment area. The pool could be left in place and filled in, with the spray ground built within it. The plan also proposes re-orienting the park so that it is clearly organized around a new, clearly defined entrance off Grove Street, adjacent to the bus stop. An urban plaza with seating would welcome visitors to this park and provide a small gathering space. A new field house is proposed at the west side of

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the property with the spray ground in front. This field house could be designed with an attached shade structure or pergola with vines so that parents can gather under shade to watch their children play in the water. The little league field is proposed to be regraded and reseeded, with an underdrain. New trees are proposed around the outside edges, to help define this space and provide much needed shade. The plan also proposes a creatively designed bus stop with seating that could visually connect to the park, and eliminate an unsafe existing situation.


THE FIELD AT FRANCIS HAIRE TODAY

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COMMUNITY BACKGROUND AND HISTORY The Fourth Ward is the only ward divided into quarters by I-280 and the Parkway, leading to some fragmentation in this area of the city. It is further divided by the on- and off- ramps of the highways, and by the New Jersey Transit commuter rail line.

This ward also contains the civic heart of the city right at the intersection of the highways—City Hall, the Municipal Court building, the Fellowship Civic Center, and other civic buildings, along with the East Orange Train Station. From the perspective of the consultant team, this ward is the one in most

THE PARKWAY IS GENEROUS, AT-GRADE AND HAS LARGE AREAS OF GREEN SPACE THE PARK FRONTS ON AN AT-GRADE TRAIN STATION THAT HAS ASSOCIATED GREEN SPACE 1911 MAP ILLUSTRATING THE ORANGE (ORATON) PARKWAY PRIOR TO IT BECOMING THE GARDEN STATE PARKWAY. THIS MAP ALSO SHOWS THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE OVAL TO THE AT-GRADE TRAIN STATION.

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THE FLAG IS FLYING IN THE OVAL PLAYGROUND

need of reclaiming its identity from the infrastructure that cuts through it. The portion of this ward south of I280 has a low median income, while the portion to the north appears to have median incomes in the center of the range (neither very high or low). As a whole, this ward has the largest area of census blocks at the lowest median income. However, it also has the lowest population density south and east of I-280 and the Parkway. West of the Parkway, it has the highest population density and north of I-280, it has density in the middle-high range, as compared to the rest of the city.

EATON PLACE AT THE NOW CLOSED GROVE STREET STATION, PRIOR TO THE ELEVATION OF THE TRACKS

ORIGINAL PARK SIGNAGE WAS INVITING AND UNIQUE

THE OVAL IN 1915 HOSTING A BOY SCOUT RALLY (Hart, Images 126).

Near City Hall, this ward appears to have high number of residents under 18. But in the rest of the ward, these numbers are in the low-middle range as compared to the rest of the city. The numbers of seniors appears to be in the lowmiddle range.

1908 FLAG RAISING CEREMONY AT THE NEWLY COMPLETE OVAL PLAYGROUND. THE ORIGINAL GRANDSTAND CAN BE SEEN IN THE BACKGROUND (HART, IMAGES 117).

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Historically, the image of a Parkway was very different than it is today. The Oraton 1898 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP BASEBALL TEAM AT THE OVAL (Hart, Images 50). Parkway, which was located where the Garden State Parkway currently runs, was a celebrated arterial that added to the beauty of the city. The 1945 Schools Report notes, “Park Avenue and Oraton Parkway are parts of the County Park System... Oraton Parkway lends an attractiveness and openness to the city which is a real asset” (City Planning Board 13). Unfortunately, the Parkway merely divides the city today, and does not contribute to a sense of place. The THE NEW YORK CUBANS PRACTICED AT THE OVAL IN THE 1940S, ALONG WITH MANY OTHER NEGRO LEAGUE PLAYERS construction of the Garden (Martin 25). State Parkway in the 1940s and 1950s and the elevation of the train line in 1922 altered the city forever, especially in the Fourth Ward. Prior to the elevation of the train line, the East Orange Oval had great frontage directly linked to a busy train sta-

THE BLANK WALL OF THE ELEVATED TRAIN HIDES THE PARK, BUT ALSO PRESENTS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ART

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ENTRANCES ARE UNINVITING AND IN DISREPAIR; THE ORIGINAL FENCES REMAIN AND CAN BE RESTORED

tion. This made it easy for out of towners to visit the city for games or other events. In 1907, the land for the Oval was purchased by the City for a sum of $52,000. For an investment of about $70,000, the City constructed a wood grandstand for 1,800 spectators, a field house, tennis courts, walks, a running track, a baseball diamond, play equipment, pavilions, and other amenities. In 1923, the existing field house was replaced with an updated facility for a sum of $12,750. This fieldhouse looked very similar to the one that still stands at Soverel. The clock on the field house was donated by a private citizen and the bell in the tower by the East Orange Baseball Association. In 1925, the wood grandstand was destroyed by fire.That same year it was replaced by a concrete and steel covered stand seating 2,000 people for a cost of $75,000. Baseball has a long and impressive history at the East Orange Oval. From its beginning, the park has been known for baseball. The 1898 State Champions practiced here, and important games were held throughout the twentieth century. The

NO STRONG CONNECTION BETWEEN THE FELLOWSHIP CIVIC CENTER AND THE OVAL

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1945 Schools and Recreation Report states that the Oval has “a modern grandstand and dressing room facilities, a shelter building, softball diamonds, a running track and six tennis courts...The baseball diamond provides the home grounds for a semiprofessional baseball team whose games are attended to the full capacity of the grandstand during the summer months” (City Planning Board 12). The park also holds an important place in the history of the Negro Baseball Leagues. “It was used by the New York Cubans from 1941-1947, and the Negro National League from 1940-1948. The field was also used by the Negro American League from 1949 -1950, and it served as a neutral site for the Newark Eagles from 1936-1948...Such great black ball players as Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, John Henry “Pop” Lloyd, Oscar Charleston, Chino Smith, Judy Johnson, and many others played at this facility [the Oval]” (Martin, 25). THE OVAL TODAY Today, the park is still heavily used for baseball even though its condition is far from optimal. Soccer is also very popular here and football teams use the field for practicing. Perhaps the most limiting part of today’s East SIGNIFICANT PONDING ON THE GRAVEL TRACK THE FIELD HOUSE DOES NOT MEET THE NEEDS OF THE PARK

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Orange Oval is the fact that it is hidden behind the raised train line. The other three sides of the park are surrounded by other lots so that the park is on the interior of the block, like many of the city’s parks. Entrances to the park are uninviting and dismal, though they still retain vestiges of their former glory,


NEWER PLAY EQUIPMENT

SOGGY FIELD

SOME UNSIGHTLY VIEWS INTO ADJACENT LOTS; NO BUFFER

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such as the original fence and the lampposts. The lampposts are not in good condition, but the fence is certainly worth restoring. The adjacent schoolyard has gates onto the park, but no clear connection.

WALL ON THE WESTERN EDGE IS OVERTURNING

UNUSED UPPER COURTS

At the southeast corner of the block, there are a few lots between the park and Greenwood Avenue that currently support auto body repair and small storage/garage space. The lots are disorderly and unsightly and impede the use of this corner as a gateway into the park and the Fellowship Civic Center. Currently, there is no strong connection between the Oval and the Fellowship Civic Center, which is currently the only municipal recreation center in the city. There is parking on Eaton Place for the Oval, though the consultant team heard a need for additional parking, especially during popular summer months, when people reportedly come from all over the region to watch games.There is also a strange set of double curves in the middle of Eaton Place that run perpendicular to the direction of travel. When driven over, they seem to function as speed bumps.

UNSAFE ACCESS TO UNUSED UPPER COURTS

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There are a number of stormwater issues that need to be resolved in the park to ensure long term success. The field itself is very poorly drained, with compacted soils. A large volume of stormwater runs onto the park from adjacent properties all around the park. A large parking lot in the northwest corner of the park sheds stormwater into the back of the retaining wall at that edge of the park. The wall itself is in very poor condition. Similarly, there is a retaining wall on the west side of the park that appears to be overturning. This may also be due to the stormwater building up behind it. The track is currently surfaced with loose gravel. Because of the amount of stormwater directed onto this path, there are many areas on the track where ponding occurs. Also, the gravel becomes rutted easily, especially in muddy conditions. The consultant team heard many complaints about this particular track. The two basketball courts on the west side of the park exhibit significant cracking and should be replaced. The basketball court on the east side of the park is newer and has a painted “Nets” logo, though it too exhibits some cracking. There is a large unused paved court in the northwest corner of the park. The access stairs up to this court are in poor condition, as are the associated retaining

walls. There is also a steep asphalt ramp into this court. It was also noted that park maintenance tends to mow the field into a circular shape, rather than the standard diamond. The fencing in the park is in poor condition and in places may be too high. For instance, the outfield fence adjacent to the school is 20 feet high. Other portions of fence may be unnecessary, especially between the park, the school parking lot, the back of the field house, and the community center. The Oval is fully lit with more recent sports field lighting. There are also some unused concrete light footings around the edge of the field. Finally, the field house is too small to meet the requirements of the park. It was noted that the bathrooms are functional but do not meet the needs of the park. Portable toilets are brought in during events. More storage, changing rooms, and upgraded public restroom facilities are needed, as well as potential space for concessions. FRANCIS HAIRE PARK HISTORY Ms. Francis Haire was the first full-time recreation director for the city and was appointed in 1925. Ac-

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cording to the 1964 Centennial History of East Orange, she initiated and organized high standards of leadership qualification and numerous special programs. Francis Haire Park is named for her and represents joint planning between the school board and the recreation department. The Centennial History describes this park in this way: “Its construction introduced creative and imaginative play equipment. A horse and wagon, a fort and tree climber were blended with the more traditional play swings and slides” (Stuart and Boutillier 47).

where a heavily used bus station is also located. However, proximity to this busy arterial requires fencing and may require some visual screening from passing vehicles.

FRANCIS HAIRE PARK TODAY

Unlike other city parks, stormwater does not flow from adjacent lots into the park, but the opposite is true. Stormwater from the north side of the park is flowing onto adjacent residential lots.

Today, the relationship between the adjacent Dionne Warwick Elementary School and the park is not ideal. The school has its own play equipment close to the building. Otherwise, the school’s lot is completely covered in asphalt. This lot does drain to inlets at the center of this paved lot, but still accounts for a significant amount of impervious area. There is also chain link fence installed between the park and the asphalt lot. It should also be noted that use of this park may increase due to the new condos under construction nearby. The park has good frontage along Grove Street,

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The field is deliberately undersized, but is lit and heavily used. There have been issues in the past with balls going into Grove Street. Today, tee ball and kickball are played on this field, but not baseball. The field does not drain properly due to shallow slopes and compacted soils.

The play equipment is large and recently installed, but has been burned in places. The burned pieces have not been replaced. The field house at this in a state of substantial disrepair and should be replaced. The pool is in good condition, but the pool equipment vault is dangerous and requires maintenance staff to climb down into a pit. The field and the pool are both surrounded by an unwelcoming 14’ high chain link fence.


UNWELCOMING, LOCKED ENTRANCES

SCHOOL IS SURROUNDED BY ASPHALT WITH NO RELATIONSHIP TO THE PARK

UNNECESSARY PAVING

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BUS STOP IS TOO SMALL AND OFFERS NO SHELTER; OPPORTUNITY TO BE INCLUDED IN THE PARK

GRADING ISSUES AND RAMPS FRAGMENT THE PARK

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There are some owering trees located within this park, but they are generally in poor condition and should be replaced. The main entrances off Grove Street appear to be locked most of the time. During one daytime visit made by the consultant team, all entrances to the park were closed. There is an area of unnecessary paving and the foundation of an old building in the northwest corner of the site.

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FIGURE J4: WARD 4 CONTEXT PLAN

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Undesirable Views

EAST ORANGE OVAL

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FIGURE J5: EAST ORANGE OVAL EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN East Orange Park Master Plan

Track is made of a loose material


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Stormwater sheet flows from adjacent lots into park Retaining wall is in disrepair

Courts appear un-used

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the city’s parks: ward 5 Hoffman Park + Columbian Playground


the city’s parks: ward 5 Hoffman Park and Columbian Playground: Past, Present, and Future

A VISION FOR HOFFMAN PARK The master plan envisions a small, lushly planted pocket park with winding pathways and small seating areas. Plant species would be selected that could be easily maintained and would stay relatively low to keep sightlines open. Colorful shrubs such as azalea would be used to provide pops of color. A large open lawn would occupy the center for informal play space. At one end of the park, a small water feature anchors a corner and provides a small gathering space. The water feature would be a reference to the historic Boiling Spring below the surface, and might even contain a graphic and narrative of this piece of history. The plan also envisions a new bus shelter at the north end of the park that could be integrated into the park’s design. There may also be the opportunity for a piece of educational, interactive sculpture that could relate to the area’s industrial importance in the fields of electronics and motorization.

A VISION FOR COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND The vision for Columbian Playground includes a newly restored natural turf multi-purpose playing field, with areas for spectator seating on either side.

A full circuit walking path is provided encircling the field and winding through naturalistic planting. Plenty of shaded seating and picnic areas are scattered throughout for small gatherings or for resting during a walk. The deck around the pool is expanded and the field house is renovated. The children’s play equipment is replaced and surrounded with lawn, shaded benches and picnic tables for family gatherings. Elements of natural play and outdoor musical equipment could also be included. The basketball court is replaced and new spectator seating provided. A small skatepark is also provided, at the request of community participants. Pedestrian lighting would be added throughout the park, as well as buffer plantings between adjacent residential lots and the park. Stormwater is intercepted between the adjacent lots and the park and channeled safely into below-grade detention/infiltration beds. New tree, shrub, and perennial plantings are proposed throughout, along with community gardens and improved entrances.

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HOFFMAN PARK

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FIGURE K1: HOFFMAN PARK PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS PLAN East Orange Park Master Plan

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THE AZALEA GARDEN IN PHILADELPHIA’S FAIRMOUNT PARK INSPIRES THE VISION FOR HOFFMAN PARK

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FIGURE K2: COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS PLAN East Orange Park Master Plan


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COMMUNITY BACKGROUND AND HISTORY The Fifth Ward is a very stable area of the city. It contains mostly single family housing and can boast about having one of the few neighborhood associations in the city, if not the only one. Residents are extremely proud of their part of the city. According to the demographics analysis, this area has the largest concentration of seniors (especially surrounding Hoffman Park), but also has very high numbers of residents under 18 (especially around Columbian Playground). The high numbers of both groups contribute to the multi-generational nature of this section of the city. In terms of income, the Fifth Ward is right in the center of the range of median income compared to the rest of the city—neither low or high. However, there is one census block west of the Parkway and closest to Rowley Park that has lower median incomes and a higher population density. Population density in the

“BOILING SPRING”, THE CITY’S ORIGINAL WATER SUPPLY SHOWN ON AN 1890 MAP

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Fifth Ward tends to the middle range compared to the rest of the city, due to the high number of single family houses. This area of the city is divided by a New Jersey Transit Rail line that is elevated above most roadways, such as Springdale Avenue, Rutledge Avenue, and North Grove Street. However, the rail line is sunken below Park Avenue and Arlington Avenue. Historically, the Fifth Ward was the last to be added. This ward was added to the city in 1892, six years after the creation of the original four wards. The area was known as Ampere, and the 1921 history notes “Ampere, which includes the larger part of the Fifth


Ward, is practically a city by itself, its interest being quite local, though its loyalty to the city as a whole is as consistent as those living in other sections” (Pierson 546). In the early part of the twentieth century, a number of factories and plants existed in this area of the city relating to electric motors, devices, automotive starting systems, and light fixtures. The proximity to Edison, New Jersey enabled this area of the country to flourish within this industry. According to the 1921 history, “the Edison Lamp Works, a branch of the General Electric Company, is located at Nineteenth Street and Springdale Avenue, East Orange. Incandescent lamps are turned out in large numbers every year by the 466 employees making up the working force of the plant” (Pierson 644). Interestingly, not far from the site of today’s Hoffman Park, was the original source of the City’s water, a source named Boiling Spring. The 1890 Robinson Atlas depicts a large area of land (including Hoffman Park) as being owned by The Orange Wa-

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vated, another fifty feet in diameter, another of one hundred fifty feet in diameter, then two wells of twenty-seven feet and one of fifty feet in diameter, all connected by an underground water gallery 700 feet long, ten feet wide and twenty feet deep, also five additional artesian wells” (Pierson 550). Work began in 1882 and was completed in 5 months. At the end, there was a public demonstration that illustrated the water pressure from these wells by throwing a stream from the corner of Prospect and Main over the top of Brick Church (Pierson 550)! The source was abandoned as the growth of the city spread east and the city feared contamination of the water. The Boiling Spring source was turned off in 1905.

ter Company. On this map can be seen the location of one of the wells close to what looks like the city limits. “Borings had revealed a large underground current of water suitable for domestic and other purposes...Three artesian wells were drilled and an open well twenty-four feet in diameter was exca-

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It is unknown when Hoffman Park was added to the City’s park system, but it appears it was the result of the 1945 Schools and Recreation Report. The report noted, “a small beauty spot and relaxation area between the Lackawanna Railroad and Hoffman Boulevard north of Rutledge Avenue should be acquired to serve the isolated northeast sector of the city” (City Planning Board 21).


COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND IN 1922; “The playground had no fieldhouse as it was run in cooperation with the school” (Hart, Images 104).

HOFFMAN PARK TODAY Today, Hoffman Park is a relatively unknown little park in the triangle formed by Hoffman Boulevard, Ampere Parkway, and Rutledge Avenue.

COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND IN 1931

However, it is the only park without set programming such as athletic courts or playgrounds and therefore has a lot of potential to showcase what a neighborhood pocket park can be. It has recently installed ADA ramps with detectable warning strips at the sidewalk intersections and has great street frontage along Hoffman Boulevard. Currently, it contains asphalt walkways, a few shrubs planted by neighbors, a small flagstone patio, lawn, and trees. The eastern edge of the park backs up to residential lots. There is an old chain link fence installed along the line, but no low buffer plantings. The small flowering trees are in poor condition, but several of the mature deciduous trees are in great shape. There is a weedy area along the north end of the park.

COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND HISTORY When the Columbian School (named after Christopher Columbus) opened in 1893, “dairy farms surrounded the school and only three houses were standing north of Springdale Avenue. A pastureland extended southerly...and open fields stretched westerly to Arlington Avenue” (Pierson 575).

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SIGNIFICANT PONDING AT BASKETBALL COURTS

The playground was created in 1919, when the City purchased land from the school. Fields and play equipment were added and the playground dedicated in 1922. Later on, a real boat dock and boat were added for inclusion in the children’s play area (Hart, Images 104).

UNINVITING ENTRANCE

COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND TODAY Columbian School today is vacant, but there may be plans to reopen it as a school in the near future. The park is separate from the school, divided from it by an asphalt driveway. The pool seems to be in good condition and is very popular. The pool equipment is in great shape. The community conveyed that the pool deck is too small and gets overcrowded. The field house within the park is partially used by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter and the American Legion.The restrooms and kitchen need renovation, though the structure in general appears to be in good condition. The community noted that the field house as it is does not meet the needs of park users. The basketball courts do not drain and exhibit cracking. They should be replaced.

OPPRESSIVE ENTRANCE WITH BURNED PLAYGROUND BEYOND

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CROWDED POOL DECK

LOOSE MATERIAL IN WALKING TRACK CREATES AN UNSAFE CONDITION

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LARGE, BURNED PLAYGROUND; BROKEN PAVING LEADING TO IT

UNNECESSARY PAVING AND AD HOC SOLUTIONS TO GRADING ISSUES

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Park entrances are uninviting and the play equipment was burned in the fall of 2012. The community expressed a lack of faith in the city to make park improvements when this burned equipment was not at least removed. Fencing and gates near park entrances are in poor condition and should be replaced. The walking track is currently composed of a loose material that is unstable and unsafe.The track also does not make a complete circuit. It ends at the pool area, where pedestrian circulation is interrupted. The field itself ponds in areas and is compacted. Stormwater sheet flows onto the park from adjacent lots on the south and west sides. Stormwater also

sheet flows off the large parking lot for the school, contributing to ponding issues within the park. There are significant grade changes in the park that should be addressed. A few ad hoc solutions to these grading issues were installed over time (such as asphalt ramps and retaining walls) and should be replaced with more permanent solutions. The existing retaining walls are in poor condition. In the play area, there are uneven surfaces, broken paving, and unused footings that should be removed or replaced. The play area currently does not drain, though there is an inlet in the northeast corner of the park.

THE FIELD AT COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND

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FIGURE K3: WARD 5 CONTEXT PLAN

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FIGURE K5: COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN East Orange Park Master Plan

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a planting palette For East Orange


a planting palette For East Orange

This planting palette suggests attractive, hardy and low-maintenance plants for six different planting conditions found throughout the parks: ENTRANCE AND FEATURE PLANTS LANDSCAPE PLANTS GROUNDCOVERS AND CLIMBING PLANTS UNDERSTORY AND ORNAMENTAL TREES PARK TREES AND STREET TREES STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AND RIPARIAN BUFFER PLANTS The suggested plants have a proven ability to withstand standard urban stresses and many are native to New Jersey. Plants that are considered invasive or aggressive in this region are not included and should not be used within the parks system. Plants were chosen for year-round interest. While this palette was chosen to perform well under most circumstances and to be readily available at most nurseries, it is not intended to be a complete list. Designs for new plantings should be free to incorporate other selections where needed, provided they will work well with the soils, sun, program, and design concept of the site.

New trees, and especially street trees, should be a minimum caliper size of 2.5-3”, as trees of at least this size can better withstand urban stresses after planting. Newly planted trees should always be watered weekly until established, at least the first 2 years. Where possible, northern New Jersey native plants have been included in the plant list. Native plant communities found in the natural areas surrounding East Orange inspired the palette. Using native plants will help to support local wildlife and will reduce the need for intensive maintenance, since these plants are adapted to live in similar areas and in similar conditions. Known invasive plants should not be used and should be removed from the parks where present, as these plants will cause further maintenance issues as long as they are present in the parks. Due to a yearly need to re-plant, annuals are not included in this palette. In certain beds where community members or ‘Friends of the Parks’ groups would like to maintain annual beds for flowers and/or vegetables, these could be chosen on an as-needed basis by current nursery availability and design concept.

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ENTRANCE AND FEATURE PLANTS Entrances, planters, and areas of special interest will showcase color and remain attractive yearround with this group of low maintenance plants. In these areas, shrubs should be planted in large drifts. A “drift” style of planting will create bolder bands of color and will simplify maintenance pro-

cedures. Each year, perennials are cut back to the ground and debris is removed from the beds. Beds are re-edged and a new layer of mulch is added every 2-3 years. The shrubs should be pruned using a ‘thinning’ technique rather than ‘heading back’, to retain a more natural shape.

ABOVE: SEVERAL EXAMPLES OF FEATURE PLANTINGS THAT REQUIRE ONLY MODERATE MAINTENANCE. A DRIFT STYLE ENSURES A BOLD, COLORFUL EFFECT.

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1. KNOCK OUT ROSE 2. PEACH DRIFT ROSE

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Drift Rose and Knock Out Rose are readily available at New Jersey nurseries. Both species bloom throughout the summer and do not require heavy pruning like many traditional rose species. Knock Out Rose grows to 4’ high x 4’ wide, while drift rose stays lower to the ground. 3. ‘CORAL BELLS’ AZALEA 4. ‘PINK GUMPO’ AZALEA

Both dwarf varieties, these azaleas bloom profusely in spring. 5. ‘RUBY SPICE’ CLETHRA

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This deciduous shrub is native to New Jersey and has a sweet scent while blooming from July to August. 6. SMOOTH HYDRANGEA 7, 8. P.J.M. RHODODENDRON

Semi-evergreen foliage turns a deep purple color in the fall, with purple blooms in spring.

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1, 2. ‘AUTUMN JOY’ STONECROP

Stonecrop is well adapted to dry conditions. 3. ‘AMERICAN DREAM’ COREOPSIS

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4. LANCE LEAF COREOPSIS 5. ‘MOONBEAM’ COREOPSIS

Coreopsis is a hardy and long blooming perennial to fill flower beds. All these cultivars are readily available at nurseries. 6, 7. YARROW

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Gray green fern like foliage and colorful blooms in yellow or pink throughout the summer. 8. PURPLE CONE FLOWER 9. WHITE SWAN CONE FLOWER 10. BLACK EYED SUSAN

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Cone Flower and Black Eyed Susan are long blooming - June to August, and do well in harsh conditions.


1. NEW ENGLAND ASTER

Blooms in fall. 2. HARDY GERANIUM

A good, low growing filler, best in areas of partial sun. 3. CAT MINT

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4, 5. ‘MAY NIGHT’ SALVIA

Both Cat Mint and Salvia bloom throughout the summer and grow well with minimal maintenance in flower beds. 6. ‘PARDON ME’ DAY LILY 7. ‘ROCKET CITY’ DAY LILY

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Day lilies are great to grow in large groups and create attractive drifts even before they bloom. Many great varieties are readily available at nurseries. 8. FEATHER REED GRASS 9. FOUNTAIN GRASS

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Both these ornamental grasses create a nice contrast to flowering perennials and shrubs. Feather reed grass grows in an upright, column-like shape, while fountain grass is more of a clump. Some species can be quite large, so be sure to check the size of the cultivar before planting.

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LANDSCAPE PLANTS To be used in planting beds within the parks, these hardy shrubs and perennials will create colorful and attractive drifts year-round with minimal maintenance. In general, these selections will not grow

much taller than 30�, reducing the need for regular pruning. Each year, perennials and shrubs will be cut to the ground and debris removed from beds. Every 2-3 years, these beds are re-edged and a new layer of mulch is added.

ABOVE: LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR LARGE BEDS WILL SOFTEN THE EDGES OF PATHS AND WALLS IN THE PARKS AND HELP TO DEFINE SPACES AND PARK PROGRAM ELEMENTS.

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1, 2. GRO-LOW FRAGRANT SUMAC

A low-growing New Jersey native shrub with brilliant fall color and a soft spice scent. 3,4. DWARF OAK LEAF HYDRANGEA

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Blooms white in the spring and turns a rust color in the fall. 5, 6. DWARF RED-TWIG DOGWOOD

Blooms white in spring and has bright red twigs in winter. 7, 8. LOWBUSH BLUEBERRY

This fruit-bearing shrub is native to the east coast. Blueberries bloom in early spring, produce berries in mid-summer, and have red foliage in fall.

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LANDSCAPE PLANTS, CONTINUED 1. KNOCK OUT ROSE 2, 3, 4. DRIFT ROSE

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Knock Out Rose is a tried and true hardy garden shrub which grows to about 4’ height. Drift roses grow closer to the ground and also bloom throughout the summer. 5, 6. ‘OTTO LUYKENS’ CHERRY LAUREL

A compact shrub with shiny evergreen foliage, blooms in spring. 7, 8. HOOGENDORN HOLLY

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A dense, compact evergreen shrub.


1, 2. ‘HAMELN’ GRASS

Forms dense green clumps with feathery seed heads in autumn. 3, 4. ‘LITTLE SPIRE’ RUSSIAN SAGE

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5. CAT MINT

Both of these fragrant perennials bloom throughout the summer. 6. BLACK EYED SUSAN 7, 8. ARKANSAS BLUE STAR/ AMSONIA

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The billowy foliage of this perennial creates spring to fall impact. Amsonia blooms April-May, displaying bright golden foliage in the fall.

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GROUNDCOVERS GROUNDCOVERS for SUN: 1, 2. NO-MOW FESCUE MIX 3. LIRIOPE 4. RUSSIAN ARBOVITAE 5., 6. SWEET BOX

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GROUNDCOVERS for SHADE: 1. HAY SCENTED FERN 2. PENNSYLVANIA SEDGE 3. GOLDEN GROUNDSEL 4. CREEPING PHLOX

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CLIMBING PLANTS FOR PERGOLAS 5. BOSTON IVY 6, 7. CAROLINA YELLOW JASMINE

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UNDERSTORY AND ORNAMENTAL TREES For areas of special signiďŹ cance, these trees are smaller than shade trees and provide excellent ornamental qualities. LEFT: FLOWERING DOGWOOD Blooms in early spring. Cultivars such as Cherokee Princess are prized for their fall color and disease resistance. RIGHT: STAR MAGNOLIA AND JANE MAGNOLIA These magnolias can be purchased as single stem trees or multi stem shrubs depending on the area where they will be used. Blooms in early spring.

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LEFT: CRAPE MYRTLE ProliďŹ c white, pink or red blooms in summer and attractive branching and bark in the winter. Fauriei varieties are hardy enough to withstand northern New Jersey winters. RIGHT: 1, 2. IRONWOOD Ironwood has a graceful branching habit and smooth bark for winter interest. 4. REDBUD Blooms in early spring.

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UNDERSTORY AND ORNAMENTAL TREES, CONTINUED LEFT: SERVICE BERRY A New Jersey Native with spring ямВowers and berries in early fall. RIGHT: FRINGE TREE Fragrant blooms in spring.

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LEFT: OKAME CHERRY A bright pink spring bloom and orange fall color. RIGHT: HIGAN CHERRY Blooms in April, with several cultivars blooming again in the fall.

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PARK TREES AND STREET TREES This group of trees will enhance the diversity of open park areas and street tree plantings. Adding to the abundance of mature trees already grow-

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ing in East Orange’s parks will ensure that the parks have plenty of shade well into the future.

1. RED MAPLE Several hardy cultivars, including ‘Sunset,’ will produce great fall color. 2. WILLOW OAK With willow-like leaves, this tree has a much finer texture and a more dappled shade than red oak. 3,4. LACEBARK ELM This tree does well in areas of excessive heat, such as parking lots, and it has attractive bark. 5. TULIP POPLAR


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1. HONEY LOCUST The ďŹ ne textured foliage creates dappled shade. 2. AMERICAN BEECH Smooth gray bark. 3. AMERICAN LINDEN A good tree for dense shade. 4. SWEET GUM Non-fruiting cultivars should be used. 5. TUPELO 6, 7. RIVER BIRCH Interesting exfoliating bark. ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED TREES: Red Oak White Oak Chestnut Oak Shagbark Hickory Sugar Maple Black Cherry Little Leaf Linden Japanese Katsura

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PLANTS FOR STORMWATER MANAGEMENT AND RIPARIAN BUFFERS In areas of stormwater management and those immediately adjacent to waterways, planting areas provide the opportunity to install locally adapted,

native species. Plants in this area provide important ecological services and will have high wildlife value, providing food and habitat to wildlife.

ABOVE: A VEGETATED SWALE FOR STORMWATER MANAGEMENT

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GRASS AND GRASS-LIKE PLANTS These selections can be planted in and among showy rain garden flowers as filler, reducing competition from weeds and making for a lush, functional rain garden. 1. COMMON RUSH Best for the wettest areas of rain gardens. 2. ‘THE BLUES’ LITTLE BLUESTEM This native wetland grass should be planted alongside flowering perennials such as Joe Pye Weed or Bee Balm so it doesn’t flop over. 3. FOX SEDGE This bright green, fine textured plant only grows to 2’ high. 4. PANIC GRASS The ‘Shenandoah’ cultivar has red colored foliage and grows between 2-3’.


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FLOWERING PERENNIALS 1. BUTTERFLY WEED 2. ‘HELLO YELLOW’ BUTTERFLY WEED A great butterfly attractor, Butterfly Weed blooms from June to August. 3. PURPLE CONE FLOWER Tolerates drought and heat with a long bloom season. 4. ‘OCTOBER SKY’ ASTER This aster blooms prolifically At the end of the season. 5. ‘GATEWAY’ JOE PYE WEED This wetland native plant grows to 3’ high and should be planted with plenty of room. 6. ‘LORD BALTIMORE’ HIBISCUS Large crimson-red blooms from July to September for bold a tropical look. 7. ARKANSAS BLUE STAR FLOWER Light blue flowers From April to May. This plant is prized for its billowy foliage throughout the growing season. 8. BEE BALM This showy late summer bloomer attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

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PLANTS FOR STORMWATER MANAGEMENT AND RIPARIAN BUFFERS, CONT’D

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1, 2, 3. SPICE BUSH A northern New Jersey Native, spice bush has interest in multiple seasons. 4, 5. WITCH HAZEL Blooms early spring and has great fall color. 6, 7. ‘HUMMINGBIRD’ CLETHRA A dwarf, sweet-smelling variety.


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1. ARROWWOOD VIBURNUM 2, 3. MAPLE LEAF VIBURNUM Vibunum’s berries are great for wildlife. 4, 5. SWEET BAY MAGNOLIA This multi-stem tree does well in moist areas. 6. STEEPLEBUSH

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a material palette For East Orange


a material palette For East Orange

A consistent palette of materials for the East Orange Parks system will raise the proďŹ le of the city parks as a whole. Through site furnishings, lighting, signage, fencing, and other site elements, the parks will develop a cohesive image. Each park can include custom elements that will reect that individual park’s unique character and neighborhood.

New materials used in the parks should have a modern and urban look, which will raise overall design standards and work well with restored historic elements.

CASE STUDY Bryant Park in New York City has a memorable and cohesive park look which is achieved through consistent hardscape materials, signage, umbrellas, trash receptacles, movable chairs, and even staff uniforms. Elements are both historic and modern, but they hang together through a consistent palette of color and material. Anywhere you are in the park, it looks and feels like Bryant Park.

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LIGHTING Feature lighting, pedestrian lighting, sports field, and sports court lighting.

MODERN FIXTURES

The light fixtures shown to the left have a more pared down and modern look to work well with historic fixtures already used in East Orange. By keeping a simple silhouette, the styling for lights can be kept consistent throughout all park lighting elements—street lights, path lights and area lights—creating a cohesive collection. A wide variety of styles are available, from very simple to cutting edge. Regardless of the specific style, the lights should have an urban aesthetic and respond well to site furnishings being used elsewhere.

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FEATURE LIGHTING

In signiďŹ cant areas, feature lights can be used to highlight the unique elevated design characteristics of these spaces as seen to the left. Light poles are a great place to install signage or banners for city events.

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SITE FURNITURE By choosing a customizable furniture collection or keeping a cohesive palette of materials, furniture can reect the character of the neighborhood and

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the park—modern for parks like Memorial, Oval and Francis Haire and traditional for historic parks like Elmwood.


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PLAY EQUIPMENT Non-traditional play equipment can help stimulate the senses and create a unique experience. Musical instruments, interactive elements, natural ma-

terials, and themed playgrounds could be a good ďŹ t for East Orange Parks.

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Tuned drums from Freenotes Harmony Park.

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2. CENTENNIAL HILLS PARK, LAS VEGAS 3, 4. PLAY FOR ALL ABILITIES PARK, ROUND ROCK, TX 5, 6. RIVERPLAY DISCOVERY VILLAGE, EUGENE, OR

Natural elements, such as sand and boulders, can be at home in a play area and allow for creative play.

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1, 2, 3. WATER ELEMENTS

Different scales and a variety of opportunities for interactive and imaginative play are provided. 4. BAIN DE BEAUPORT

Bold, whimsical straws spray water at this public park in Quebec.

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ATHLETIC EQUIPMENT AND FITNESS ZONES 1, 2, 3. FITNESS ZONES

Elliptical Runner, Arm Press, Ski Machine from Geenfields Outdoor Fitness. 4. ELLIPTICAL RUNNER

From Norwell Fitness 5, 6. CHEST PRESS AND LEG

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From Landscape Structures 7. A FULL FITNESS ZONE

Modern styling in a pop color from the Great Outdoor Gym Company

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Los Angeles, California has installed 41 fitness zones throughout the city as a way to combat obesity. The free equipment is durable, easy to maintain, and heavily used.


1, 2, 3. SYNTHETIC TURF

Installation at Hunting Park in Philadelphia. 4,5.

COVERED

SPECTATOR

SEATING

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RUBBERIZED

WALKING

PATH

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PAVING AND MATERIALS BASIC PAVING MATERIALS: 1, 2. ASPHALT AND CONCRETE

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As basic paving materials, asphalt and concrete can be combined in a number of ways to create an upgraded look. The combination of two different concrete treatments highlight a street corner. Asphalt gets an upgrade with a concrete band. SPECIAL PAVING MATERIALS: 3. ASPHALT BLOCK

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Durable and easy to maintain, asphalt block gives the look of pavers. 4. BRICK

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As an upgraded material, brick highlights special areas such as around ďŹ eld houses and entrances. At cross walks, it can enhance visibility in busy areas. 5. DYED CONCRETE 6. PRE-CAST, EXPOSED AGGREGATE CONCRETE PAVERS

Exposed aggregate concrete has extra texture. 7. STAMPED CONCRETE

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8. FEATURE BRANDING

Paving is a good opportunity for branding, to highlight the unique character of a neighborhood, or for donor recognition.

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POROUS

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PERMEABLE

PAVING MATERIALS: 1. POROUS ASPHALT PARKING STALLS

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In selected areas, such as the parking area in Soverel Park, porous parking stalls may be a good choice to aid in stormwater management. 2. POROUS ASPHALT IN A CHILDREN’S SPRAY PARK

The surface of this porous asphalt can be finished in a variety of bright colors. 3, 4. POROUS PAVING FOR

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WALKWAYS 5, 6. POROUS PAVERS

These pavers are installed with a porous material in the joints to allow water to soak through.

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SIGNAGE Signs at park entrances, within the parks, and in strategic locations throughout the city will raise the profile of the park system and create a cohesive image for the city parks. Signs should be in-

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formative and inviting, using multiple signs of differing styles in one location should be avoided. As the parks each have their own character, the signs could vary to reflect unique features.

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2 5 WAYFINDING SIGNAGE: 1,2,3. WALK PHILADELPHIA

Wayfinding signs illustrating downtown attractions, including city parks and commercial districts.

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4. URBAN GREENWAY TRAIL MARKERS 5. INFORMATION SIGNS

Maps and historic information included on the same sign.

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3, 4. PARK BRANDING AT JULIUS M. KLEINER PARK

Each park sign has its own character, but relates to other parks. 5. NYC PARKS

All park information consolidated on one sign.

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FENCING Simple uniform fencing will tie park elements together, but feature fencing is an opportunity to ex-

pand the overall branding of the parks, incorporate art, or help to define areas for children.

1, 2. BLACK STEEL OR ALUMINUM FENCING

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As the main fencing material used, a simple black fence will work well with other site furnishings, restored historic fences, and athletic fencing. These fences aren’t used for security, rather they define spaces and diverse park uses and add a decorative element. 3,

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HISTORIC

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Restoring existing historic fences will bring character into the parks that cannot be achieved with all new fences. 5, 6, 7. BLACK CHAIN LINK ATHLETIC FENCES

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To contain each sport, black chain link fences should be used. These have a smaller mesh than regular chain link and the black color coordinates with other site features and makes the fences disappear. Doubling up two tall fences beside one another does not use space efficiently and should be avoided. 8. DOG FENCES

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These fences should match athletic fences or area fences and include an ‘air lock’ to minimize escapes.


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7 ORNAMENTAL FENCES: 1,2. CUSTOM PLAY AREA PANELS

Color and art to contain play areas. 3,4,5,6. CUSTOM ART FENCE PANELS

Custom art panels to be incorporated into basic fences.

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KIOSKS, SHELTERS, AND OTHER STRUCTURES Food kiosks, transit shelters, ďŹ eld houses, and bridges will add another level of interest to the parks and should be evaluated on an individual basis. These structures are an opportunity to elevate

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1,2. FOOD KIOSKS

A designated place for event concessions. 3,4. PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE

For crossing the Second River.

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the design quality of the parks, respond to neighborhood character, activate the parks, and even provide a small source of revenue through vendor rentals.

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1 4 BUS SHELTERS: 1. BUS SHELTER

And an art feature. 2. BUS SHELTER

With integrated seating. 3,4. TEMPE, ARIZONA TRANSIT SHELTER

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art and community In East Orange


art + community in east orange Creative Placemaking in the Park System

THE IMPORTANCE OF ART IN THE PARKS Public art and arts activities can be powerful, subtle and cost-effective tools for enhancing parks and connecting streets. Public art—murals, sculptures, decorative fencing —can: • Help people navigate in the community and parks, making them feel more comfortable about walking around. This can help put more “eyes on the street,” making parks and streets feel safer. • Help residents and businesses feel more connected to their communities, if the art reflects the culture and aspirations of the people living there. • Help shape how residents and visitors feel about a place. Just as historic monuments can help people remember and think about the past, art that is whimsical and colorful can affect feelings about the environment. The more comfortable they feel in a place, the more likely they are to spend time and money, and to help protect the place. • Be big, small, vibrant or subtle. In short, public art can fit almost anywhere there are spaces or walls.

Public art should: • Be done as a partnership between artists and communities.The traditional approach to public art is that of a single artist representing his or her own ideas in a visible setting. The challenge is that communities choose what they preserve, and they are more likely to preserve art that they have helped design. This is a key to the success of murals in Philadelphia and other cities. • Celebrate local communities and reflect their beliefs and aspirations. This can lead to a greater sense of belonging, pride and stewardship of place. It is important to recognize the contributions of past residents and previous cultures. But public art in a community should be an ongoing conversation between the past, present, and hoped-for future. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PUBLIC ART IN EAST ORANGE • At the East Orange Oval: On the wall of the NJTransit tracks, paint a mural that features the Negro League players who were known to have played there. Have markers or sculptures commemorating the original sites of home plate and the pitchers’ mound. • At Elmwood Park: Repaint the play sculptures in the

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park (this could be a regular neighborhood event). Replace the sculpture walk that once existed along the Rhode Island entrance with new scupltures representing important figures that have impacted the city. • In all parks: Use decorative fencing that helps present themes or ideas about the park. For example, fencing in Soverel Park could include graphic elements inspired by the natural world. Fencing in other parks might be more playful or culturallyspecific. • Along bridges and park connector streets: Here, public art should be used as landmarks and beacons, and as ways to encourage people to walk more. Develop art that is fun, whimsical, and reflects colors and shapes in the surrounding area. The more that art reflects the aesthetics of residents in the community, the more comfortable they will feel with it.

a mural or sculpture that celebrates the professional basketball players who played pickup games there. • Consider a public art exhibition in which the fieldhouses in each park are lit every night for six months with decorative lighting (or even more if neighbors enjoy the lighting). The art can be connected to a public engagement effort to get resident input about how they would want their fieldhouses to be used. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ARTS PROGRAMMING AND EVENTS • Engage the New Jersey Theater Alliance and area theater directors to explore how the Elmwood Park Fieldhouse can be reused as a community theater. • Hold talent shows, pageants and art fairs that celebrate local talent and creativity. • Park planners should work with the city’s arts committee to engage residents about their preferences for arts and culture programming.

• Underneath the NJ Transit overpasses, especially by the Brick Church station. Develop art that is bright, colorful and reflective to help activate the space. Use decorative lighting to make the spaces feel more like plazas after dark. • Near the basketball courts in Elmwood Park: Have

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TOP AND BOTTOM: EXAMPLES FROM PHILADELPHIA’S MURAL ARTS PROGRAM

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how much park do we need? Assessing Park Need In East Orange


how much park do we need? Assessing Park Need in East Orange

PARK AREA STANDARDS A number of different methods exist to try to quantify whether a City’s park system is sufficient for its inhabitants. The 2006 Master Plan looked at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Standards to come up with a standard of 8.375 acres/thousand people. This would mean East Orange is short 377 park acres! However, since every community is different, it may not make sense to use the same standards regardless of population density. After all, a less urbanized municipality will have more land available for park space. It is also important to note that New Jersey’s Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) sets the standard for open space at 3%

of the developable land mass.This would translate to about 75 acres required for East Orange. According to this standard, the city is short about 30 acres. Another way to evaluate whether a City has enough parkland to support its communities is to look at the amount of parkland available per person and then compare that to other cities of similar density. Figure O1 illustrates how East Orange compares to other dense urban areas. It is easy to see from the table that of these six cities, only Boston is close to the 8.375 acres/1,000 people. This supports the idea that a standard, prescribed acreage does not really work on a practical level within the complex, built up environment of a dense city. However, the table clearly demonstrates

Figure O1: Park Acres/1,000 for Similarly Dense Cities City

Acres of Park/1,000 People 3

East Orange, NJ 1

Population Density 2 (Persons/Sq. Mile) 16,378

Newark, NJ Chicago, IL Jersey City, NJ Philadelphia, PA Boston, MA

11,458 11,864 16,736 11,457 12,752

2.9 acres 4.2 acres 6.8 acres 7.5 acres 8.3 acres

2.5 acres1

1 Source for East Orange Parks Acreage: Area takeoffs from the digital plan of the City, plus the published acreage for Orange and Watsessing County Parks. 2 Source: 2010 US Census. The population recorded in the 2010 Census has been used here (64,365); the actual population is most likely higher than this, based on sewer use and trash collection data collected by the City. 3 Source: Center for City Park Excellence, The Trust for Public Land.

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Among cities with similar population densities, East Orange has the least amount of parkland per person, even counting the entirety of Watsessing and Orange County parks.

Figure O2: Total Park Acreage for East Orange Park Soverel Park Memorial Park Rowley Park Elmwood Park Washington Playground East Orange Oval Francis Haire Park Columbian Playground Hoffman Park Subtotal: Municipal Parks Watsessing County Park Orange County Park Subtotal: County Parks Grand Total:

Acres 11.3 3.7 3.3 8.8 2.4 7.9 2.6 4.4 0.6 45 69.7 47.6 117.3 162.30

that compared to cities of a similar density, East Orange is on the low end in terms of park space. It has a higher population density than most of the other cities and the least amount of parkland. In order to be as fair as possible, the complete acreage for the adjacent Essex County Parks have been included to arrive at the total acreage for

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park space in East Orange. However, since the Golf Course is not easily accessible for most residents and is not within the city proper, that acreage has not been included. Figure O2 provides a summary of park acreage included in this calculation. In Figure O3, the green circles indicate the parkland available per 1,000 people, while the orange circles indicate the total area of city land per 1,000 people. The diagram clearly illustrates that while East Orange is extremely dense, it also has the least amount of parkland available for residents. Figure O4 serves to illustrate the size and distribution of parkland in the same selected cities.The same area of land is shown at the same scale to render an accurate comparison among the cities. The presence of large water bodies in all the cities most likely helped in the establishment of parkland. Again, it is easy to see that East Orange lacks the park distribution of the other cities and also lacks the presence of any large parks. East Orange is a unique place with its own set of constraints. Since it is almost completely developed, ďŹ nding creative ways to maximize existing open space and natural resources and identifying new ways to provide additional recreational space are key.


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FIGURE O3: PARK AREA PER 1,000 PEOPLE, SELECTED CITIES East Orange Park Master Plan

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WALKING DISTANCE TO PARKS Another tool to evaluate park coverage is to look at the time it takes for someone to walk to the parks. This can be a little problematic since everyone walks at different speeds. An elderly person using a walker would take a lot longer than a healthy teenager to walk somewhere. However, a distance of a quarter mile has been used for the purposes of this study, which is about the distance an average human can walk in 5 minutes. Figure O5 depicts a number of circles overlaid on the parks. Each circle has a radius of a quarter mile, representing a 5-minute walk. However, since these circles are overlaid ‘as the crow flies’, it is a little deceptive. Figure O6 shows the same distance from each park, but on the street level. It is clear where park coverage falls short based on this study. There are large areas throughout the city that are without park space within a quarter mile, especially in the first and second wards.

tors were used to arrive at this map: areas of the city with the most seniors; areas with the most children and teenagers; areas with the highest population densities; areas with the lowest median incomes; and areas not within a 5-minute walking distance to a park. Figure O7 illustrates this mapping, with the darkest colors indicating areas with the most overlap among the five factors mentioned above. According to this study, there is great need for quality parks and open space in the center of the city, and to the areas directly south and west of the center. The city center has the greatest numbers of children and teenagers, coupled wtih the lowest median household incomes. The second ward appears to be in the greatest need of quality parks and open space, with its high number of children and teenagers, dense population, and areas not within a 5-minute walk to a park.

AREAS OF GREATEST PARK NEED Rather than attempting to apply a one-size-fits-all standard to East Orange, this study attempts to objectively look at the city to determine where quality parks and open space are most needed. Five fac-

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5 Minute Walk-Aerial Circle


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Park Entrance 5 Minute Walk on the Ground 5 Minute WalkAerial Circle

East Orange Park Master Plan

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how can we add park space? Opportunity for Parks in East Orange


how can we add park space? Opportunity for Parks in East Orange

WHY ADD MORE PARK SPACE? For over 100 years, the parks in East Orange have been important to the physical and aesthetic quality of the City as a whole as well as each ward. But a new, broader view of the importance of parks beyond recreation alone is emerging nationwide. This new view showcases how parks serve as valuable contributors to important public policy issues such as capturing businesses, job creation, public health, youth development, and community building. The parks and open space system in a city is a highly visible and powerful quality of life indicator, as well as a vehicle for change. Not only will a more extensive park system directly benefit existing residents, but a visitor to East Orange will be a lot more likely to make the city their home if it has numerous, visible, high quality parks easily accessible to all. New parks can act as catalysts for change within the community, especially when used to transform vacant or contaminated lots. New and renovated parks have been proven to increase the property values of surrounding lots and attract new residents.

Environmentally speaking, additional park space will help clean the air, reduce overall temperatures in the city, and provide more space for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Overall, the health and long-term sustainability of the city will be proportionally increased as additional park space is added. As discussed in the previous section, East Orange lags behind other similarly dense cities in the amount of parkland available to its residents. Since the majority of the city is developed, a strategic, creative approach to adding park space is required, based upon the research that demonstrates that parks stimulate the local economy and lead to a vibrant, thriving community where people and business owners want to live, work and play. POCKET PARKS Small, ‘pocket parks’ that occupy undersized lots could contain small areas of native planting and seating. If there is a small available vacant lot in an area with lots of children, it could contain only play equipment and seating for parents. One plan view example of what could be accomplished in a small space is shown in Figure P3. A small unused piece of land abutting the elevated train line could be used for a few game tables and a few trees.

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“The city, like most similar cities, has grown up compactly without preserving enough land area for school, park and play space. Acquisition of sufficient area at any time will be expensive; delay in acquisition will be more costly, because inadequate open space is one of the factors contributing to neighborhood decline and decay.” - 1946 EAST ORANGE SCHOOLS AND RECREATION REPORT, CITY PLANNING BOARD

around the East Orange and Brick Church Train Stations are highly visible and heavily used centers of activity that should be celebrated as public urban spaces. This could be accomplished with new plantings, gathering spaces, paving treatments, furnishings, regular farmer’s markets, and public art. The spaces today are uninviting and provide a poor first impression of the city for a visitor. PARTNER WITH THE BOARD OF EDUCATION

THE SPACE BELOW THE EAST ORANGE TRAIN STATION COULD BE TRANSFORMED INTO AN EXCITING URBAN PLAZA WELCOMING VISITORS AND RESIDENTS TO THE CITY.

SMALL URBAN PLAZAS Within existing commercial corridors, such as on Central Avenue, small urban plazas would certainly be considered park space. The existing urban plaza space on Old Sanford Street off Central Avenue would be a fantastic spot for a contemporary urban plaza, complete with seating, game tables, and new planting.

Partnering with the Board of Education to better utilize existing school property for the public is another method to increase public park space without impacting existing rateable lots. This has been suggested in past park master plans for the city and is also suggested here. While it is a site with complicated environmental issues, the property at the center of the city adjacent to Cicely Tyson, would be a great site to showcase a collaboration with the Board of Education. This space is currently underutilized and could become an important part of the civic core.

TRAIN STATION PARKS The importance of the trains to East Orange cannot be overstated. The spaces below and THE ASPHALT LOT OF DIONNE WARWICK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IS ADJACENT TO THE CITY’S FRANCIS HAIRE PARK AND PRESENTS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR A MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL PARTNERSHIP.

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New York has successfully begun a shared schoolyard park program in partnership with the Trust for Public Land (TPL), the Department of Education, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and private funders (including MetLife, Credit Suisse, and others). The grounds are owned by the Department of Education and the renovation work is overseen by the Department of Parks and TPL. The schools are locked and fenced during school hours and opened to the public during hours set by each community. In some cases the school holds the key, while in others, a neighborhood organization holds the key to the locks. The completed parks are then maintained by the schools (Harnik 113-114). PARTNER WITH LIBRARIES The master plan for Memorial Park envisions a direct connection to the East Orange Main Library, but there are other opportunities throughout the city as well. At the Ampere Library for instance, there is currently unused lawn bisected by concrete sidewalk. This area could be redesigned as a library park with natural plantings, seating, games tables, and public art.

CREATE A LINEAR PARK ALONG THE ABANDONED RAIL CORRIDOR NORTH OF SOVEREL PARK Shown in Figure P1, the vacant rail corridor could connect Soverel Park with Watsessing Park, and provide residents with a walking/jogging/cycling path through natural plantings, terminating in great parks at either end. The trail would cross over the Second River as it enters Soverel Park, adding another point of interest along the route. This corridor would add about 5 acres to park space within the city.

“School gardens are an essential feature of the best-equipped schools. They are not to be found here; yet nature study cannot be properly carried on without them, and they should be provided as soon as they can be. � - 1912 REPORT OF THE EXAMINATION OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM OF EAST ORANGE

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HOLLYWOOD PLAZA At the eastern entrance to the city, and visible from the New JerseyTransit train lines, from the off-ramp of the Garden State Parkway, and from Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard, Hollywood Plaza presents a great opportunity to create a gateway to East Orange. This parcel of land is currently used by the Department of Public Works as a dumping ground for vegetative debris, especially after storms. During the course of this master planning effort, it was determined that there is no feasible location within the city that could be used for this purpose. It may be feasible to redesign the space so that a large portion of it could be used as a public park. One corner of the site is also a very busy bus HOLLYWOOD PLAZA AS SEEN FROM THE OFF RAMP OF THE GARDEN STATE PARKWAY. SUCH A PROMINENT SPACE SHOULD ADVERTISE A stop, and the Plaza is GREAT QUALITY OF LIFE IN THE CITY. THE TOP IMAGE SHOWS THE HUGE just on the other side POTENTIAL OF THIS LOT. of the train line from the East Orange Oval.

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>>> HOW CAN WE ADD PARK SPACE? OPPORTUNITY FOR PARKS IN EAST ORANGE


AERIAL VIEW SHOWING A SUGGESTED DECK PARK LOCATION TO CONNECT CITY HALL AND THE EAST ORANGE TRAIN STATION WITH THE NEW DECK PARK, MEMORIAL PARK AND THE EAST ORANGE PUBLIC LIBRARY.

CREATE A DECK PARK OVER I-280 Bridging over the interstate with a new park would be an enormous step in stitching the north and south sides of the city back together. The new park could add about two acres to the city’s park space, but more importantly, it could become a highly effective vehicle for positive change. If programmed and marketed effectively, an outdoor venue such as

this could draw visitors from all over the region, exposing potential residents to what East Orange has to offer. The new park would be directly adjacent to the East Orange Train Station and is located within the Transit Village. By no means an inexpensive improvement, the situation is eased somewhat by the fact that the interstate is already depressed and the city’s street grid travels over it.

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and shrubs, thousands of perennials, a large children’s park with water features, a dog park, a botanical garden, a grand plaza, performance pavilion, and large public sculptures and water features. The project cost a total of $110 million dollars: $20 million from the City of Dallas, $20 million in highway funds from the state and federal government, $50 million in private donations, and $16.7 million in federal stimulus funds. The park is privately operated and managed by the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, which also maintains a comprehensive website devoted to the park and its events. For East Orange, there may be some environmental justice justiďŹ cation for a deck park. Since 1994, federal policy has focused on improving environmental justice. This generally has two dimenTOP AND BOTTOM: KLYDE WARREN PARK, DESIGNED BY THE OFFICE OF JAMES BURNETT, WAS BUILT OVER A FREEWAY AND RECONNECTS DOWNsions: eliminating the long-standTOWN DALLAS (PHOTOS: MEI-CHUN JAU). ing practice in communities of concentrating polluted and toxic CASE STUDY: KLYDE WARREN PARK, DALLAS, TEXAS environments near low-income and minority commuRecently opened in October 2012, the new Klyde nities, and giving those communities the same acWarren Park in Dallas is a 5.2 acre public park built cess to open space and nature as white and wealthy over a sunken freeway. It boasts hundreds of trees communities receive.

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When I-280 was built, it destroyed a portion of Memorial Park, reducing access to parkland for downtown-area residents. Rowley Park was provided to compensate for the loss of Memorial Park. But because the highway is such a strong barrier to residents, it is a poor substitute for the lost parkland.

or cyclists to complete a loop that connects City Hall, the Main Library, the East Orange Train Station, Elmwood Park, and the potential future deck park.

PARK CONNECTOR STREETS Streetscape treatments along selected streets could visually connect the parks to each other and “expand” park space within the city. Improvements could include improved perennial and tree plantings between street and sidewalk, distinctive paving treatments, new street furnishings such as benches and games tables, bicycle lanes, directional signage to the parks, and public art. The Complete Streets initiative is aimed at ‘completing’ the country’s streets so that they can be used by everyone, including walkers, joggers, wheelchair users, bus riders, business owners, and anyone else using a public way. The National Complete Streets Coalition provides a wealth of information on adopting a Complete Streets policy, technical assistance, news, and advocacy. In 2012, Newark adopted a Complete Streets policy and has completed or designed improvements for Irvine Turner Boulevard, Ferry Street, Broad Street, and Mount Prospect Avenue. Figure P2 illustrates one scenario for these Park Connector streets. These streets cover the whole city and connect all municipal parks. Also shown is a civic loop which would enable strollers, joggers,

STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS IN NORMAL, ILLINOIS, DESIGNED BY HOERR SCHAUDT LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS.

THE COMPLETE STREETS CONCEPT PROVIDES FOR ALL USERS OF PUBLIC WAYS.

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nity gardening. With so many vacant lots throughout the city, these spaces have been truly transformed to the benefit of the whole community. One organization based in Philadelphia, The Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land, supports this movement and selects “Best/Worst Lots” throughout the city to encourage transformation. The Campaign’s website states: “The Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land is a coalition of Philadelphia community, faith and labor groups that have joined together to pass a law that gives communities control of vacant land in their neighborhoods. Its membership is growing every day.” According to the New Jersey Association of County Tax Boards, there were 360 vacant lots in East Orange as of September 2012. These lots are shown in Figure P1. A COMMUNITY GARDEN IN SOUTH PHILADELPHIA IN A SMALL FORMER VACANT LOT.

VACANT LOTS AS COMMUNITY GARDENS One program that has been successful in other cities is the conversion of vacant land into spaces for community gardens. Newark has implemented an “Adopt-a-lot” program where residents improve city owned vacant lots by planting flowers, mowing lawns, or installing community gardens. Philadelphia also has a strong interest in commu-

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URBAN TREE CANOPY Figure P4 illustrates a broad look at the city’s tree canopy coverage and makes recommendations for areas where the street tree coverage could be increased. Maintaining and extending the tree canopy within urban environments can dramatically decrease the urban heat island effect, help clean the air we breathe, intercept stormwater, and make our cities healthier overall. There are many existing mature trees lining streets throughout East Orange, but additional plantings would make a huge impact. Planting street trees

>>> HOW CAN WE ADD PARK SPACE? OPPORTUNITY FOR PARKS IN EAST ORANGE


along Freeway Drives East and West would be a great and highly visible improvement, and would help to soften the divide between the north and south sides of the city. PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARKS Another idea for the creation of public parks would be to partner with private landowners in the city to

use part of their property as park space. Creation of park space could be a requirement of new development, tax incentive, or lead to zoning concessions. In New York City, for example, the zoning laws since the early 1960s have provided for zoning concessions for real estate developers in exchange for public space. Today, there are over 520 such parks, ranging from parks to arcades and plazas.

PART OF THE OVERSIZED PARKING LOT AT MANUFACTURER’S VILLAGE COULD BECOME A SMALL COMMUNITY PARK.

One example of a great space to explore is the large parking lot adjacent to Manufacturer’s Village. Whether or not this would be a feasible project for partnership, a small park and enhanced streetscape would transform this area. Currently, the parking lot appears to be oversized and extends all the way to the sidewalk. Glenwood Place is a heavily travelled street used by many students walking to and from East Orange Campus High School and by residents in the area. The large amounts of asphalt and the concrete plant across the street create a dismal, uninviting environment that could be vastly improved.

THE EXPANSE OF ASPHALT AND LACK OF VEGETATION CONTRIBUTE TO AN UNINVITING SPACE.

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organization + management


organization + management

Effective and efficient management is the key to success in public parks and recreation. Management brings together all resources in orchestrating actions to reach the vision and goals set forth by the community. Essential management functions for parks and recreation include planning, directing, controlling, and evaluating operations.

CITY OF EAST ORANGE GOVERNMENT East Orange was incorporated into a city in 1909. The City operates under a Mayor-Council form of government. The City Charter defines the scope of municipal government and is an act of incorporation of East Orange. East Orange derives its authority from enabling laws of the State of New Jersey. These laws authorize the City to manage its affairs in fiscal operation, tax levy, care and protection of public property and to punish for violation of ordinance.

Office of the Mayor The Mayor is the executive officer, responsible for enforcement of laws and supervision of departments. He/she has the power to approve or veto resolutions and city ordinances. He/she also has

the power to veto actions of some boards and commissions. The Mayor recommends legislation and delivers annual messages to the City Council on the general state of the City government and its finances. He/she does not participate in Council meetings.

Office of the City Council The City Council is the local legislative body responsible for appropriating funds and enacting ordinances and resolutions governing the City. The ten Council members represent the five wards with two council members per ward. The City Council reviews and approves the Mayor’s appropriations and annual budget. The City Council reviews and approves the Mayor’s appointments to municipal departments and several Citizen Advisory Boards and Commissions. The City Council Chairperson serves as an ex-officio member of every committee and is liaison to the Mayor, Essex County Freeholder Board, the NJ State Legislature, the United States Congress and the East Orange Parking Authority. The Chair of City Council, appointed by the Council annually, appoints each council member to oversee a standing committee. These standing committees serve as Council liaisons to City departments, public agencies, civic groups and public service organizations.

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City Administration and Departments

municipal golf course located in Short Hills.

City Administrator

• Policy, Planning & Development strives to enhance the quality of life for residents by promoting affordable housing, economic development and revitalization, and innovative community development. The Department oversees special projects in parks and recreation including special projects, grants and planning.

The City Administrator, reporting to the Mayor, serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the City. Responsibilities include day-to-day oversight for the delivery of all municipal services, including planning and economic development, public works/ sanitation, recreation and cultural affairs, tax and revenue collection, police, fire, office of emergency management, and health and human services. The Administrator manages a workforce of 1100 employees and directs the development of an annual operating budget of approximately $130 million. Departments The City’s organizational structure includes 16 departments. The departments most closely related to parks, recreation and open space include the following: • Public Works maintains the parks as part of its public works responsibilities. • Recreation & Cultural Affairs serves as a catalyst for the delivery of supervised, comprehensive, structured and organized forms of recreation and cultural programs and oversees the

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• Finance ensures fiscal stability, accountability, and integrity through comprehensive financial management. • Health and Human Services promotes and ensures the delivery of public health services and education to the residents of East Orange. The Division of Senior Services, among its many service functions ranging from providing transportation to food centers, includes the oversight of the City’s 16 senior centers. • Library helps people of all ages meet their informational, educational, and recreational needs by acquiring, organizing, and assisting in the use of print and non-print resources. • Municipal Courts provides for the fair and just resolution of disputes in order to preserve the rule of law and to protect the rights and liberties


guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States and this State. Many Community Service Workers fulfill their sentences in carrying out park maintenance tasks. • Police Department is committed to the concept of Community Policing and as such is committed to excellence in response to the needs of all our citizens.The East Orange Police Department exists to serve all the people within the community in a professional and ethical manner. Board of Education The Board of Education oversees the public school system of the City of East Orange.The Mayor of East Orange appoints the seven board members. The vision of the School District is to be the educational model of excellence for learning institutions in the State of New Jersey. One of the Board’s goals is to promote community involvement. Although the planning team sought input from the school district to the parks and recreation plan, none was received. With the low amount of parkland in the City, the Board of Education’s playgrounds are a critically important part of the parks and recreation system. The use of schools for recreation programming is vitally important. Cicely Tyson Community School of Performing Arts was originally

conceived, funded and constructed as a community school, a model in the State of New Jersey. However, this school appears not to function as a true community school with extended use by the community during non-school hours. City Advisory Boards & Committees Related to Parks, Recreation & Open Space • Municipal Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Advisory Board is composed of 14 members. The Board was instituted in 2012 to provide advice on the use of the newly enacted open space tax for parks and recreation capital improvements. • Arts, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Committee brings together the department heads and administrative staffs of Recreation & Cultural Affairs and the Library with other departments including City Administration; Policy, Planning and Development; and council members to coordinate efforts and projects in this area of public service.

Parks and Recreation Administration Parks and Recreation administration is distributed among several city departments all under the aegis of the City Administrator. Figure Q1 depicts the cur-

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rent organizational structure of parks and recreation. Recreation and Cultural Affairs The Assistant Superintendent of Recreation and Cultural Affairs is charged with the operation and management of the Department. The position of Director has been left vacant since the previous director’s passing in 2010. The Department holds one of the largest budgets in the City and has with a staff of about 30 workers.The focus of the Department is on programs and services although in the past, the Director was responsible for major park improvement decisions such as the selection and construction of major playgrounds. The Department is also responsible for the management of the East Orange Golf Course in Short Hills. A separate study on the golf course undertaken in conjunction with this City Parks Master Plan addresses golf course management.The Director coordinates with the Park Maintenance Superintendent on maintenance in the parks related to recreation programming.The Director also coordinates with the Board of Education on use of the schools for recreation programs and services. The Department successfully uses five schools for recreation programming for children and youth: Mildred Barry Garvin, Whitney Houston, Langston Hughes, Cicely Tyson and

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the Hart Complex. Public Works The Department of Public Works is responsible for the maintenance and improvements of the City’s infrastructure as it pertains to streets, drainage, streetlights, traffic signals and city buildings. In 2010, Park Maintenance was transferred from Parks & Recreation to the Public Works Department. While the parks look safe and clean due to the diligence of the staff, park maintenance is a struggle largely directed toward taking care of immediate needs and repairing worn facilities to keep them free of hazardous conditions. Park maintenance has been largely deferred over the years leading to the current park conditions that now require major capital investment. Park maintenance has ten workers. In addition, the Department uses Community Service workers sentenced by the courts to perform community service. PARK MAINTENANCE WORKERS IN 1931 AND 2013 1931 2013 Number of Park Maintenance Workers

20

10


Community Service

Pools & Splash Pad

Capital Improvements

Park Maintenance

Public Works (10 Workers)

(Appoints only)

City

Community Outreach

Grants

Capital Projects

Parks & Recreation Planning

Policy, Planning & Development

Mayor

Activities

Education 

Programs

Library

City Council

Senior Centers

Division of Senior

Health & Human Services 

Arts, Recreation & Cultural Affairs Committee

Open Space, Recreation & Historic Preservation Advisory Committee

East Orange Park Master Plan

FIGURE Q1: EXISTING ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE RELATED TO PARKS + RECREATION

East Orange Golf Course

Community Center

Summer Recreation

After School Programs

Sports

Recreation (20-30 Workers)

Board of Education

Citizens of East Orange

Park Patrols

Police


Parks & Recreation Supporting Organizations Generally the Recreation & Cultural Affairs focus of coordination is with the Board of Education on use of the schools for recreation programs. Outreach is through fliers and Facebook. The City of East Orange has a number of sports organizations that provide football, soccer, baseball and softball leagues. There are no park friends groups. For the purposes of this plan, the Policy, Planning & Development Department conducted the citizen outreach component.

PARK AND RECREATION MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS Public parks and recreation has a broad set of mandates. These mandates are related to the health, safety, and welfare of the citizenry. Trends and issues that have impacted East Orange’s parks and recreation include mandated legal requirements, park safety, the aging of the population, custodial care issues of youth participants, obesity as the number one public health issue, limited open space and aging recreation facilities, fiscal challenges, decreased staff, increasing participation in sports, life-time leisure interests beyond sports

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alone, natural resource conservation, and the need for planning and formalizing management and information management systems. Policy and Operating Procedure Development Municipal parks and recreation departments are required to develop policies, procedures, and guides that contribute to the professionalism and accountability of public services in this area. Policies are needed in areas such as fees, charges, revenues, donations, sponsorships, and naming of facilities. Risk Management and Safety The most effective means to reduce exposure to liability is through the establishment of a formalized maintenance management program. At present, park maintenance is conducted without a formalized maintenance management program. A maintenance management program would set forth in writing the policies and procedures to plan, direct, control, evaluate, monitor, and report all actions regarding park maintenance. Written and filed documentation either manually or through a computer software program serves as the City’s record regarding the action taken on park maintenance as well as what remediation was done to correct problems in the parks. A formalized maintenance management system provides information on which to make decisions such as staff-


ing, fees and charges, partnership agreements and allocation of human and financial resources. A formalized system facilitates transitions through the inevitable changes in management, personnel, and elected and appointed officials. Park safety emerged as a concern during the citizen participation process for this plan. There appears to be a difference between actual safety and the public’s perception of park safety. While the Police Department indicated that few incidents of crime occur in the parks, children, parents, and sports coaches expressed concern about how safe the parks are. Part of the concern was not the parks themselves but the access to and from the parks on city streets. Information Management Every job, project, and task in parks and recreation involves decision-making. The right information, in the right form, at the right time is needed to make correct decisions in every area of management, programming, maintenance, financing, park planning and design. Information regarding parks and recreation in East Orange can be one of the system’s greatest assets in terms of enhancing public service, reducing costs, increasing efficiency, improving decision-

making, and generating public private partnerships. Unfortunately information management is underutilized in parks and recreation as a key management strategy. Records, data, and information are key to planning, directing, controlling and evaluating parks and recreation operations is extremely limited and fragmented. No standards or evaluation systems are in place for any management function including citizen satisfaction, programs, services, maintenance, financing, and benefits to the community. While past management practices included an annual report, no annual reports have been developed for many years. MANAGEMENT ANALYSIS In this time of economic crisis and increasing accountability from all levels of government, decisionmakers, staff and citizens alike expect efficient and effective operating systems. The following analysis includes the strengths challenges and opportunities regarding parks and recreation management. Management Strengths Accomplishments – East Orange has a long history of successful public service through parks and recreation going back for more than 100 years. East Orange was once a model of parks and recreation management as cited in the 1931 Parks and Recreation Annual Report. The report mentioned visits by offi-

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cials from cities in other states seeking lessons about parks and recreation management here. Investment – The City of East Orange adopted an open space tax in 2012 signifying its commitment to the importance of parks and recreation. Parks’ Appearance - The park maintenance staff does as much as they can given the decrease in staffing and budget which leaves them with about 50 percent maintenance capacity and a per acre budget of less than half of other cities across the country. Recognition of the Importance and Value of Parks and Recreation – The public participation found a ubiquitous theme: all of those interviewed expressed the recognition of the importance and value of parks and recreation to the citizens of East Orange. In looking ahead, they want their city parks and recreation system to be the best possible and that would bring back the glory days of East Orange’s outstanding parks and recreation. Instead of traveling to parks in other cities, they want to have outstanding facilities right here and are willing to support the City’s efforts to make that happen. Support Exists Outside the Department of Recre-

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ation & Cultural Affairs – Other Departments in East Orange are undertaking important initiatives and programs that could extend to parks and recreation. These departments have expressed interest in working with parks and recreation collaboratively. For example, Policy, Planning and Development is undertaking a sustainability plan and program that could incorporate recreation facilities as a component that could lead to energy efficiency and cost savings. The Division of Senior Services has potential volunteer support. The Library has a master plan that could provide a joint venture with Recreation & Cultural Affairs regarding the management, security and programming of memorial Park. Management Challenges Organizational Structure – Parks and recreation organization, management and operations are fragmented among many diverse city departments. There is no single organizational entity responsible for planning, directing, operating, controlling and evaluation parks and recreation. The Recreation & Cultural Affairs Department has been operating without a Director since 2010. Coordination and Collaboration – Coordination among various parks and recreation providers is lacking. A city parks and recreation department typi-


cally serves in the role of the “convener” of parks and recreation providers and services. Opportunities that are particularly important for coordinating public parks and recreation are with the Library, the Division of Senior Services, and community groups that could emerge as Park Friends groups. Vehicles such as the Arts, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Committee have the potential to be instrumental in coordination when applied strategically. Information Collection and Management – You can’t manage what you can’t count.The development of a database for parks and is essential for the effective and efficient management of parks and recreation. Formal Park Maintenance Management System – No system is in place to plan, direct, control, and evaluate park maintenance. Without a formal written system, responding to emergencies, urgent requests, and individual demands is the norm and more expensive than routine task performance. Workload and equipment costs are not available on which to base decisions and allocate resources effectively. No quality standards for the parks and recreation facilities have been established. Park Planning – Generally, park planning has been undertaken informally, based upon safety or wear

concerns, without the involvement of key stakeholders, a public participation process, and professional qualified consultants early enough in the project. It is not a designated function with defined parameters and requirements under the purview of a skilled professional with expertise in this area. Major projects go forward without a plan in place that has been developed through a thoughtful and creative planning and design process. Major park projects have not addressed the long-term responsibility for maintenance, programming, financial and human resources, potential partners, or alternatives to traditional support by the City of East Orange. It is important to note that Rowley Park captured a state award from the New Jersey Recreation & Park Association in 2013 which is a tribute to the city staff involved in the planning and construction of this new park. Role of the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Board - Since the adoption of the open space tax and the establishment of the Board, the roles, responsibilities, visions and mission of this board need to be worked out and fine tuned in conjunction with emerging needs and opportunities. Communication – Communication tends to be fragmented and disjointed among Recreation, Public Works, elected and appointed officials and the citizenry. No formal communication system is in place.

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Program Management Plan – While programs are offered and advertised, an overall program management plan, evaluation system and information database have not yet been put into place. Figuring out how best to serve identified client groups could be facilitated through timely data collection, analysis and the implementation of public involvement strategies. Role of the Board of Education in Parks and Recreation – Although five schools are used for after school programs for children, the Board of Education and school administration appear to be disconnected from all other city functions. The schools represent a vital component of pubic recreation and parks in this City with such limited recreational facilities. Credibility of the City – Citizens expressed concern about the credibility of the City delivering on promises regarding parks and recreation. The selection of pilot projects to demonstrate City commitment to parks and recreation is particularly important. The incorporation of a robust public participation process as part of any park improvement project will be key to its success.

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Management Opportunities The following strategies could increase organizational effectiveness, make the best use of City resources, and help to control costs: • The East Orange Parks Master Plan will provide an organized framework for improving the parks and recreation system. • The widespread recognition that the recreation system needs improvement will result in public support for future positive changes in operations, services and facilities. • City has the power to re-organize parks and recreation strategically for optimum public service, use of municipal resources and protection of the future capital investment in the parks. • The Public Works Director is supportive of city efforts to establish the best framework for park maintenance. • City departments such as City Administration; Policy, Planning, & Development; and Public Works are already working to improve parks and recreation while other departments such as the Library and Division of Senior Services have expressed interest and willingness to collaborate


with parks and recreation. • The Police Department is vested in community policing and expressed willingness to do whatever is needed to help parks and recreation. This would include changing patrols from car to foot here needed in parks such as Elmwood when improvements may not be compatible with motor vehicles. • Citizens and community organizations expressed interest in becoming “Park Friends” during the outreach meetings and interviews for this plan. • The City recently passed the Open Space tax that will help to improve the public parks and recreation system. •The newly formed Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Board has the potential to become a very strong advocate for taking the parks and recreation system back to its roots as a model for other cities nationwide.

RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Re-organize parks and recreation. Refer to Fig-

ure Q2 depicting the proposed future organizational structure. Important aspects of this re-organization include the following: • Merge parks and recreation under the newly configured East Orange Parks & Recreation Department. • Establish the chief position as the Director of Parks & Recreation. The Director would be a Certified Parks & Recreation Professional with expertise, experience, education and communication skills necessary to establish East Orange’s parks and recreation system as a model of excellence nationwide. Refer to the sample job description in the Appendix. • Transfer park maintenance from Public Works to the Department of Parks & Recreation. Include park maintenance in all discussions about park planning and capital improvements. • Create three cabinet level positions: Park Superintendent, Recreation Superintendent and Partnerships & Volunteer Coordinator. 2. Provide for the Park Planning Function as an Interim Measure – Until parks and recreation is reorganized, it is important to provide professional park planning services.With this Park Master Plan, the Open Space

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Community Centers

Custodians

Urban Forestry

Sports

Youth Arts

Learning through Play

Camps

Playgrounds

Youth Sports

Children, Youth, & Families

Community Relations & Volunteer Coordinator

Summer Clerk PT

Administrative

Parks & Recreation

Adult Sports 

Adult Arts 

Fitness & Wellness

Community Events & Programs

Adults & Special Events

Recreation

Park, Recreation& Open Space Commission

Senior Centers Collaboration

East Orange Park Master Plan

Active Healthy Living

Fun & Fellowship

Senior Citizens

Park Friends

FIGURE Q2: PROPOSED PARKS + RECREATION DEPARTMENT ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

Pools & Splash Pads

Natural

Buildings Maintenance

Grounds Maintenance

ParksSuperintendent

Library

Public Works

Policy, Planning & Development Dept.


Tax and the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Advisory Board in place, the City has the action plan and the means to make major park improvements. These improvements will require additional planning, public involvement, and decision-making. To ensure that highest quality, cost efficient, sustainable design is put into place, the City should secure the services of a professional design and operations team with specific expertise and experience in park planning, design, management and operation such as a registered landscape architect with support from parks and recreation professionals to oversee the capital improvements and provide assistance in other park changes. These services could be secured on a contract basis such as a retainer for ongoing consultation. The services of a professional park planning team should be required for every park project that costs more than $10,000 and have longevity of more than five years. When the Park and Recreation Department is established, the Director would function in the role of park planner and use landscape architects on a consulting basis for major capital improvement projects. 3. Develop a Planned Maintenance Management System. Establish quality standards for the parks using the National Recreation & Park Association

guidelines. Use the guidelines on park maintenance modes shown in Figure Q3 to establish quality standards for the parks and zones within the parks. Not all parks and recreation areas need to be maintained at the highest level. It is perfectly acceptable to maintain facilities at varying levels based upon use, importance and resources available. Establishing standards is the foundation for planning a maintenance management system. Establish a workload-cost tracking system for parks and recreation facilities by beginning to record tasks and time by facility and purpose. Consider creating cost centers for parks and recreation facilities. Cost centers are specific functions or facilities that require labor and materials for operation and maintenance. Cost centers could include maintenance by park; by maintenance function such as sports fields or grass mowing; specific parks; or program area such as special events like the Mayor’s Picnic. Cost centers help with establishing fees and charges, staffing decisions, and planning. Consider using a computerized software program such as TRIMS for maintenance tracking. Looking to the future, consider the use of programs compatible with Smart Phones to enable data capture in real time. Since 75 percent of the lifetime cost of a park is in maintenance and operations, planning for maintenance whenever a

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Modes and Tasks for Park Maintenance Task

Mode I

Mode II

Mode III

Mode IV

Turf Care

Mowed every 3-5 working days. Aeration four times annually. Weed control to maintain 99% weed free turf.

Not owed except for parking lots or along pathways. Weed control on noxious weeds.

Adequate supply of fertilizer applied to achieve even supply of nutrients for entire year. Sprinkler irrigated.

Cut once every 10 working days. Not aerated. Weed control with 50% weeds. Re-seeding with major bare spots only. Only when turf vigor is low.

Periodic mowing to meet city requirements. Weed control only for noxious weeds.

Fertilizer

Cut once every 5 working days. Aeration twice annually. Weed control with 5% weeds. Re-seed bare spots. Adequate to insure turf and plants are healthy and growing vigorously. Some type of irrigation available. Minimum of once daily five days a week. Once a season.

None

None

Climate dependent.

None

None

2-3 times daily maximum.

Once a week or fewer.

Based on visitation.

Once every 2-3 years when health or appearance warrants.

No regular trimming. Safety may dictate pruning requirements. None except if epidemic threatens public or resources. None except where major access is required.

For safety only.

Only for safety or for public use.

On complaint or discretionary basis.

On complaint or discretionary basis.

When safety is a concern or budget is available.

Cleaned on complaint basis and if budget is available. Same year service when appearance is poor.

Irrigation Litter Control

Minimum of once daily seven days a week.

Pruning

Dictated by species for high quality, well maintained appearance.

Disease/Insect Control

Preventive to control disease so that a problem is not evident.

Done when disease is noticeable.

Only on epidemic or serious complaint basis.

Snow Removal

Same day after ½” accumulates

Removed by noon day after snowfall.

Lighting

Repaired as soon as problem is discovered.

Surfaces

Sweeping, cleaning and washing so that at no time does dirt detract.

Repairs

Immediately done upon discovery of the problem.

Inspection

Daily.

Floral Plantings

Extensive and unusual. Multiple blooming seasons.

Restrooms

Multiple servicing daily.

Repaired when reported as not working. Cleaned and swept when appearance has notably deteriorated. When safety, function or appearance is in question. Daily when staff is scheduled. Some plantings present. No more than two blooms per year. At least once per day. Maybe more in high use areas.

Based on local requirements usually within one day of snowfall. When there is a complaint or an employee notices. Cleaned on complaint basis.

When safety or function is in question.

When safety or function is in question.

Once per week.

Once per month.

Only perennials or flowering trees and shrubs.

None, just wildflowers, perennials, and flowering trees. 5 times per week.

Minimum of five times per week. Seldom more than once per day. Minimum – only for safety and function.

Mode V

Only for special purposes related to safety.

When staff is available. None except at special locations like buildings.

Geared to visitor level, once a day usually. More if visitation is high. Only when required for safety and function.

Minimum – only for For safety function Highest possible safety and function. and appearance. maintenance for flags, fountains, art, parking, etc. 

Special Features

FIGURE Q3: PARK MAINTENANCE MODES East Orange Park Master Plan

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significant project is undertaken is essential. Refer to Figure Q4 that depicts the Management Impact Statement Tool. Parks and recreation planners can use this tool to determine if the resources from either City or non-city sources or a combination of both are available to support the improvement long term. If not, it would be advisable not to undertake the improvement or work toward establishing a source of support if it is vitally needed. 4. Establish an Information Management System. Begin the establishment of an Information Management System with a needs assessment to determine the types of information needed for decision-making, planning, and departmental operations. Prioritize information needs and phase in the collection of information and development of the information management system over the next ten years. Start with the production of an “Annual Parks & Recreation Report” to be used in conjunction with budget discussions and development of an annual work program for the subsequent year. Consider acquiring and implementing a parks and recreation software program to track identified information. Coordinate with the City’s IT Department. 5. Institute a Five-Year Employee Development Program. Since the budget shows that personnel is the

biggest expenditure that the City makes in Parks and Recreation, invest in a sound program to make the most use of this most important resource: the people in whose hands the success of the future parks and recreation system rests. Conduct a needs assessment about the skills, certifications, and expertise available in all aspects of parks and recreation operations: what is needed, sources of training, and employee development plans for individuals. Prioritize the training components and establish a five-year program of training for both the Department and individuals. Allocate one to two percent of the budget for the Employee Development Program annually. Consider sending two-park maintenance managers to the National Recreation & Park Association Park Maintenance Management School. The school goes for one week in year one and one week in year two in order and upon completion, the participants get a maintenance management certificate and have a network of contacts on which to build. 6. Establish a Park Friends Program. As budgets grow tighter, partnerships have become a way for city parks and recreation systems to accomplish more with less. Most parks look towards their Friends for access to resources that would otherwise be unavailable. “Friends” refers to the collective group of nonprofit entities dedicated to the support of city parks.

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MIS Management Impact Statement Purpose 1. To assess the impact of a significant proposed project or a major program on operations and management. Consider the capital and operating costs including human resources and the effect the project or program would have on other parks and recreation facilities and services. 2. To use the assessment to make an informed decision about feasibility of the proposed project. Method Determine: 1. Capital cost of the proposed project. 2. Operating costs of the proposed project. Include: • • • • •

Number of staff hours required Cost of the staff hours Cost of materials and supplies Miscellaneous costs Volunteer support over the long term

3. Impact on other facilities and programs with the implementation of the proposed project. • • • •

Will the project/service require funds needed for other facilities/programs? Will the project/service require staff time needed for other services/programs? How will the project impact the quality of service in East Orange? Will the project require resources from the community and are they available?

4. Revenue Sources • • • • •

Grants Donations Municipal funds – additional appropriation Municipal funds – within current budget Non-tax funds to be generated from the project/program

Decision-Making Based upon the above information, does the City of East Orange have the staff and budget to support the project or program or are alternative means in place to assume the responsibility for the project or program maintenance and management?

FIGURE Q4: MANAGEMENT IMPACT STATEMENT TOOL East Orange Park Master Plan

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Common Elements of Successful Park Friends Groups 1. Have the Same Mission and Goals: Long-term planning is important, as the process of mapping out the mission and vision of both the park and Friends group ensures that the partners are working toward mutual goals and are aware of their respective roles. 2. Trust is Earned over Time: Rome was not built in a day, and with each successful project, the park staff and the Friends add to an atmosphere of mutual trust allowing Friends groups to implement larger and more successful projects.

The greatest appeal of these Friends is their ability to fundraise and serve as advocates. Friends groups can conduct major capital campaigns for special projects and others create endowments for parks to use in perpetuity. However, Friends add more than economic value; they provide community legitimacy and access to key business and political leaders. Friends fundraise, friend-raise and advocate. Given the reality of city budgets for parks, Friends are a vital part of the future success of urban park systems. Many Directors are now often judged by their ability to partner successfully. Establishing the Friends groups needs thoughtful consideration. East Orange could work with a group to establish the East Orange Parks Conservancy as a citywide support organization or develop individual friends groups for each park or a combination of both. See Figure Q5 for a potential organizing structure for the city’s Park Friends groups. Starting with an interested group with a champion willing to lead the effort would be a great start such as with Columbian Playground

3. Both Partners Must Contribute to the Relationship: As the senior partner, parks should promote their Friends at every opportunity. The park should also allocate resources to help build the capacity of their Friends. Friends need to help parks develop projects that meet park needs while having donor appeal. 4. Clear and Constant Communication Leads to Understanding: Formal communications and agreements should clearly outline the roles and expectations of each partner. Regular "check in" meetings create an open atmosphere and keep all parties moving forward. 5. Both Partners are in Relationship for Long Haul: Efforts should be made towards institutionalizing the partnership so that it is sustained beyond staff changes on both sides. Top park management tends to be transitory, and efforts should be made to institutionalize the importance of Friends group as part of the park's long-term strategy. Both partners should have long-term horizons. 6. Create Culture of Sharing and Collaboration: The Director must be able to share the control of the park with Friends groups. This does not mean Friends should be involved in park management, but rather, they should offer a community perspective. Also, the Director must create a culture of cooperation with Friends. Creating park staff "buy in" is often quite difficult and requires efforts of both the Friends and management. 7. Mutual Respect is Key: The Director and the Friends group leader must be able to work together and establish a culture of openness and communication for their staff and stakeholders. Even in situations where they disagree, they should retain the ability to work together out of mutual respect. Partnerships often function like personal relationships, whereby mutual respect and trust between the two parties are built over time through equal contribution and clear communication of roles and expectations. Source: Center for Park Management. (2005). Friends Group Best Management Practices. Washington, D.C.: national Parks Conservation Association. p. 4.

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based upon expressed interest in the public meeting for this park. 7. Review the Vision, Mission, Roles, Responsibilities, and Goals of the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Board in light of this Park Master Plan and update accordingly. Develop an annual work program with the Board. Hold an annual tour of the parks with the Board inviting the Mayor and City Council along. Develop a training program for board members to enhance their knowledge and understanding of parks, recreation and advisory board functions. 8. Join organizations that will increase the expertise and knowledge of staff, advisory boards, elected and appointed ofďŹ cials about parks, recreation, trends, issues, and potential revenue sources such as grants, foundations etc. This would include the City Parks Alliance, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the New Jersey Parks & Recreation Society. Share their information with key stakeholders. Consider their training programs and conferences as part of the Employee Development Program as well as potential venues for board members and volunteers.

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Friends of Washington Playground

Friends of Rowley Park

Ward 3 Team

Friends of Elmwood Park

Ward 2 Team

Friends of Memorial Park

Ward 4 Team

East Orange Park Master Plan

Friends of the Oval

Friends of Francis Haire Park

FIGURE Q5: POTENTIAL ORGANIZATION FOR PARK FRIENDS GROUPS

• ParkTeams: Ward residents, businesspeople and organization representatives with special interest in specific spaces.

• Ward Teams: Residents and businesspeople from the ward and Councilmember, representatives of institutions in those wards.

• City-wide Group: representatives of each ward, city staff, city-wide institutions.

Who should be on which teams?

Friends of Soverel Park

Ward 1 Team

Citywide Parks Team or Parks Conservancy

Ward 5 Team

Friends of Columbian Playground

Friends of Hoffman Park


programs + services


programs + services

The City of East Orange invests over $1.7 million annually in programs and services. The programs are vital to the quality of life in East Orange and the success of the park system. The RAND Corporation completed a study of park use and activity to determine the factors that correlate with park use. They concluded that park programming is the most important correlate of park use and park-based physical activity. They suggested that there are considerable opportunities for facilitating physical activity. The presence of organized and supervised activities was the strongest predictor of park use and physical activity. These activities attract people to parks and include competitive sports where moderate and vigorous physical activity is implicit. Events may also have a multiplier effect, as they can attract friends, family, spectators, and visitors from across the region. The strongest correlates of the number of people using parks were the park size and the number of organized activities observed. The study found that a variety of factors including neighborhood population density, neighborhood poverty levels, perceptions of park safety, and the presence of a park advisory board were not associated with park use. While perceptions of low safety have been considered a barrier to park use, perceptions of high safe-

ty do not appear to facilitate park use. Having events at the park, including sports competitions and other attractions, appears to be the strongest correlate of park use and community-level physical activity1. RECREATION: AN ESSENTIAL PUBLIC SERVICE Recreation is an important part of a well-balanced lifestyle. People who are engaged in active healthy lifestyles live longer2, are less in danger from heart disease and stroke3, are at signiďŹ cantly reduced risk of cancer4, and have improved chances of combating a wide range of chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, asthma and depression5. Participation in a broad range of leisure activities has the potential to improve physiological and mental health. It contributes to personality development and improves psychological well-being by reducing anxiety and stress. Recreation participation increases a sense of well being, deters addictions, and assists in the social learning of tolerance and respect for others. Recreation plays an important role in promoting a strong sense of community by providing settings for people to socialize, share common interests and being a major driver of community interaction and pride. Recreation facilities make an important contribution to the physical infrastructure of communities. They provide a social focus for the community and affect people’s perception of their neighborhood. It is widely accept-

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ed that parks and recreation influences how a community looks, feels and functions. Public recreation is considered to be public health. In 2009, the U.S. Center for Disease Control enlisted local communities in the fight against diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension by offering easier, plentiful and convenient places and programs that will help citizens to increase physical activity. This will help to reduce national health care costs, one of our country’s most pressing challenges. RECREATION OPPORTUNITIES IN THE CITY OF EAST ORANGE Services also include cultural and art experiences, through ceramic workshops, arts &crafts, Black History, Women’s History, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Veterans & Memorial Day and other event/holidays. Special initiatives for youth, including Essay and Goal Poster contests, are geared toward providing youth an opportunity to freely express themselves and celebrate their cultural diversity. In the sports arena, the Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs serves as a feeder program to build strong minds and bodies. The Department’s primary focus is working with city youth, through

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various forms of sports, such as baseball, basketball, soccer, track, wrestling, tennis, archery, swimming, cheerleading, and physical fitness. Recreation Values Community recreation values were determined through input from the public through the public engagement process for this plan. They include the following: • Service for citizens of all ages, • Opportunities for citizens that are both organized and self-directed, • A broad range of activities that enable citizens to try out recreation opportunities, • Partnerships with other public and private entities such as the YMCA, the Library, and the Senior Centers (principally through the Division of Senior Services), • More organization, timely promotion, collaboration, responsiveness, improved recreation leadership, and innovative programming beyond sports is desired, • Focus on the broad base of citizenry, especially regarding more programs for adults and senior


citizens, older youth and females. • Provision for more after school programs for children to serve many people now on wait lists, • Programming and scheduling of the pools to facilitate use by adults, • Information about recreation opportunities that is timely and accessible, and • Facilities that are safe, clean, attractive and ready-to-use. RECREATION PROGRAM INVENTORY The program inventory was derived from the budget as information on programs was not available from the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs. The public participation process including focus groups and on-site interviews in the parks and the after school programs provided additional insight. Programs Special events and special event program areas in East Orange include the following:

• Winter Celebrations, • Martin Luther King Jr. Day, • Memorial Day, and • Fourth of July. Jazz on the Plaza is now offered by the Arts Council. In addition, the Mayor and Council members sponsor community festivals. The Mayor’s Community Picnic in Elmwood Park is a major public celebration. Other programs and venues include: • Day Camp Program • Swimming Pool Program • Neighborhood Facilities • Golf Course Unique Opportunities for Self-Directed Recreation Many people want to participate in a variety of recreation activities at their own discretion. These activities include: • Swimming in the outdoor pools and playing in the Rowley Park Splash Pad • Using the Community Center and fieldhouses for group activities and parties

• Farmers Market,

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• Working out in the Fellowship Civic Center Fitness Center and in the parks • Playing basketball on the iconic basketball court in Elmwood Park • Playing in city playgrounds • Resting and relaxing with family and friends outdoors • Walking on the park paths • Using the programs and services of related recreation providers such as the Library, Senior Centers and the YMCA. OTHER RECREATION PROVIDERS In addition to the Recreation & Cultural Affairs programs and services, other recreation providers offer important recreation opportunities to the citizens. Organized Sports East Orange is renowned for its organized park and playground based sports leagues.They include soccer, football and cheerleading, softball and baseball. In 2011, the Recreation and Cultural Affairs Division began a successful adult kickball league.

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In July of 2013, as part of the renovation of the Elmwood Park basketball court, the Summer Basketball Leagues were reinstated. East Orange Library The East Orange Main Library adjoining Memorial Park is a thriving, vibrant facility that offers a host of recreation and educational programs in addition to books. The Library offers meeting space, programs, events, activities, computer lab, children’s and family areas and free Wi-Fi service. The Library and the Recreation Department could have a valuable partnership in recreation programming. With its location next to Memorial Park and its plans for facility improvements, the Library and the Recreation & Cultural Affairs Department could forge collaborative partnership with the possibility of demonstrating an advanced way of managing, programming, providing security and community engagement through a joint venture. While “community school parks” are common, East Orange has the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of a new type of facility: a “community library park” with joint program planning and management. . The Library Staff has indoor space and facilities while the Recreation Department has programming staff. Joining forces could result in maximizing limited resources and


public service. The Library management team has employed a visionary approach to programming and public service that has made the Library a center of community life. East Orange Senior Centers East Orange has 16 senior centers. The Bowser Family Senior Center is the flagship senior center having recently opened in 2010. This center provides a wide range of services including health and medical care, education, fitness and wellness, recreation, trips, camaraderie, performing arts, studio arts, special events, volunteerism, and others. More than 3,000 people are registered with the center.The center offers an opportunity for collaboration with Recreation & Cultural Affairs in terms of programming, fitness, volunteerism, community gardening and intergenerational activities and projects. East Orange Golf Course The Golf Course is a public recreation facility owned by the City of East Orange but located in Short Hills. Recommendations regarding the Golf Course are included on a separate study undertaken in conjunction with this plan. East Orange Board of Education Recreation & Cultural Affairs uses five schools

for after school recreation programs for children. On-site interviews found these programs to be oversubscribed with waiting lists attributed to lack of facilities and limited staff. The public school system offers the opportunities for expanded recreation opportunities, but the contentious relationship that appears to be over 100 years old between the Board of Education and the City of East Orange inhibits progress in this area. The past is present in the Board of Education’s Report of 1912 that detailed that the educational efficiency of the school system requires ample attention to playgrounds. Since they were beginning to see that physical training is really more important than any mental training, the report recommended that the Board of Education make more and better provision for it in any way that they could6. East Orange YMCA As the largest YMCA Association in the State of New Jersey, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges is a powerful Association of members, volunteers and staff who are joined together by a shared passion to strengthen the foundation of the communities they serve, including East Orange. The YMCA is dedicated to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility, which ensures that every individual has access to the essentials needed to learn, grow

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and thrive. Serving more than 181,000 members and program participants, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. Due to the small size and unusual configuration of the YMCA building in East Orange and the need for expanded indoor recreational facilities in the City, a partnership to explore a cooperative venture in expanding, managing, and programming a larger indoor community recreation center should be considered.

ANALYSIS Strengths The public supports and desires more recreational programs and services. The City of East Orange invests more than $1.7 million in programs annually. The Recreation & Cultural Affairs Department instituted the practice of charging fees for programs in 2010, which helps the City to recover some of its costs.

Challenges • There is no program management plan in place. • No information is collected about programs, goals, objectives, outcomes and benefits. • There is no information about participation, users and non-users, trends, issues and opportunities. • Program evaluations are not conducted. • Negative public perception about the organization of community recreation programs should be considered and addressed. • Services are focused primarily on sports and youth with more opportunities for boys than for girls. Programs and activities for adults and senior adults are lacking. • Recreation programming is undertaken as an independent function of Recreation & Cultural Affairs, instead of as a collaborative effort with related providers such as the Library and the Division of Senior Services. • Workload and cost tracking is not done. Therefore, effective program planning, decision-making, and policy development regarding fees and

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charges is limited, if not impossible. There are no policies regarding fees and charges and the collection and handling of money. • Waiting lists exist for afterschool programs that in some locations could easily double participation.

programs after each programming season. Include recreation reporting in the proposed annual report. Strive to focus the report on accomplishments and the benefits of offering the programs rather than just on the staff and budget resources that go into the programs. Be outcome-based.

Recommendations

3. Add programming for adults and senior citizens.

1. Develop a three-year program management plan. Develop an annual work program for programs prior to budget discussions. Use focus groups from targeted client groups to help guide the planning.

4. Based on the research that found that programs and activities in parks are the single most important factor in increasing park use, include a component in the program management plan that specifically addresses program planning in each park. Set goals for programs in parks in terms of frequency, target audience, and park locations.

2. Develop a formalized program evaluation system. This should include a mix of methods including written evaluations during and after programs; focus groups among target client groups; telephone interviews; Internet surveys; and informal conversations with program participants and park visitors. Also include non-participants to determine why people are not using the parks or engaging in programs. For major programs such as summer camps and playground programs, conduct concise evaluations weekly of both parents and participants in order to gain timely information to make improvements, correct situations, and seize opportunities. The importance of the evaluation system cannot be overstated. Develop a report on

5. Program the pools to facilitate use by adults. Consider offering fitness activities in the pools for adults before the pools open to the general public. 6. Explore the potential to keep specific parks or recreation facilities open after dark at specified times of the year and days of the week especially for youth and families. Work with the Police Department on this and involve key stakeholders from the public in the planning and implementation for the effort. Look for a sponsorship that could cover the extra staffing and security costs. Use Los Angeles’ “Parks After Dark” as a model.

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Parks After Dark (PAD) in Los Angeles With a focus on youth and families, PAD will offer extended park hours and activities on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 p.m.-10p.m. June 20 through August 17. Activities offered will include organized sports, classes on such subjects as acting and film, free concerts and movies, and resource fairs for residents of all ages.

7. Expand nature based recreation opportunities. Strive to create opportunities to get children and youth to experience the great outdoors. 8. Develop a formalized plan for partnering with related recreation providers, principally the Library, the Division of Senior Services, and non-proďŹ t providers of recreation and educational services. 9. Develop a fees and charges policy that is based upon cost recovery, which includes administrative, advertising, and facility costs. This policy should give consideration to the community’s ability to pay. Make provisions for those who cannot afford to pay through partners and sponsors that could help to cover costs.

By providing youth and families with positive recreational activities in their communities, the initiative plays an important part in reducing the likelihood of participation in at-risk behaviors. Initially implemented in three parks as a component of the County's Gang Violence Reduction Initiative, the program transforms areas that have been adversely affected by gang activity into vibrant community centers that provide health and other resources in locations where residents can feel safe and secure. PAD has been highly successful during its first three summers, resulting in decreased violent crime and high community participation. Between 2010 and 2012, there were more than 120,000 visits to the PAD parks. A 2012 survey of participants found that 94% would participate in the program again, and 96% felt safe during the program. Serious and violent crimes in the communities surrounding the original three parks declined 40% during the summer months between 2009 and 2012, compared to a 5% increase in serious and violent crime during this period in nearby communities with parks that did not receive the PAD program. "Our department's motto is 'Parks Make Life Better!' and Parks After Dark is a wonderful example of the important role that parks play as a safe, unifying hub in our communities," said Russ Guiney, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.

10. Establish a young teen advisory council for program planning for this age group. Identify ten great ideas for teen services with them. Select one pilot project to carry out with teen participation, ideally one with the greatest chance of being successfully implemented. 11. Address the waiting list problem for after school programs.

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12. Be conscious of the fact that self-directed recreation opportunities are key. Advertise these to inspire citizens to get out and engage in a recreational activity on their own. Use testimonials and photos on the website and other promotional materials to promote involvement with activities in city parks. Provide ideas for walks, bicycle rides and things to do in the leisure-counseling vein to spark participation and engagement in recreation.


ENDNOTES Cohen DA, Han B, Derose KP, Williamson S, Marsh T, Rudick J, McKenzie TL (2012). Neighborhood poverty, park use, and park-based physical activity. Social Science Medicine. 75(12):2317-25. 1

Gibbons LW, Macera CA. 1995. Changes in physical ďŹ tness and all-cause mortality: a prospective study of healthy and unhealthy men. Journal of the American Medical Association. 273:1093-1098 2

Blair SN, Kohl HW and Gordon NF. 1992. How much physical activity is good for health? Annual Reviews of Public Health. 13:99-126 3

Slattery ML. 1996. How much physical activity do we need to maintain health prevent disease? Difference diseases –different mechanisms. Research Quarterly Exercise and Sport 67(2):209-212 Slattery ML, Potter J, Caan B et al. 4

United States Department of Health and Human Services; Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. 1996. Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Georgia. Glasgow RE, Ruggerio L, Eakin EG et al. 5

Moore, Ernest. (1912). Report of the Examination of the School System of East Orange, New Jersey. East Orange, NJ: Board of Edcuation. P.22 6

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investing in parks + recreation


investing in parks + recreation

The two major areas to be considered in financing parks and recreation are the operating budget and capital improvement budget. • The operating budget supports the daily operation of parks and recreation. The largest category is personnel, which covers salaries, wages, and benefits. • The capital improvement budget is used for improvements that cost more than $10,000 and last more than five years. Such improvements include park and recreation facility development, purchase of major equipment such as trucks, or

the rehabilitation of existing facilities. It also includes land acquisition. Ways to fund capital improvements include municipal funds, grants and gifts, fundraising, donations, bond issues, partnerships, mandatory dedication of parkland, and loans. EAST ORANGE’S PARKS AND RECREATION OPERATING BUDGET East Orange has three major areas included in the operating budget: Park Maintenance, Recreation & Cultural Affairs, and the East Orange Golf Course. Table 1 presents the Park Maintenance budget.

Table 1: East Orange Parks Maintenance Budget 2009 - 2013 2013 2012 2011 2010 Requested Adopted Requested Requested

2009 Requested

Parks Maintenance Division

Salaries & Wages Longevity Overtime Park Maintenance Seasonal Sub-total S&W Other Expenses Prof Training Operating Costs of Auto Equip Materials and Supplies Renovations Repair & Maintenance of Buildings-Fixed Pool Maintenance Miscellaneous & Other Expense CDBG Grant - Multi-park project

Less: CDBG Grant - Multi-park project Subtotal O/E Total Park Maintenance

289,879 16,221 47,775

289,879 15,370 39,200

226,181 12,668 20,833

369,565 23,612 40,679 9,446 443,302

339,116 25,704 25,000 36,720 426,540

353,875

344,449

259,682

1,300 12,000 3,000

1,300 12,200

2,000 1,300 15,000 10,000

10,000 37,000 1,500

10,000 37,000 3,000

62,000

78,300

62,000 505,302

78,300 504,840

12,000 26,500

15,000 33,000

4,500 60,000 1,200

5,000 60,000 2,000

104,200

115,000

5,000 40,000 2,000 50,000 113,300

104,200 458,075

115,000 459,449

(50,000) 63,300 322,982

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Table 2 presents the Budget for Recreation & Cultural Affairs. It includes four divisions: Director’s Office, Programs, Division of Neighborhood Facilities, and the East Orange Golf Course. Summary budget information for the golf course is only shown because a separate golf course study and report was undertaken in conjunction with this project.

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 Table 2: East Orange Recreation & Cultural Affairs Budget 2009 - 2013 2013 Requested

Recreation & Cultural Affairs Director’s Office Salaries & Wages Longevity Overtime Sub-total S&W Director’s Office

Other Expenses Stationery, Printing & Off Supplies Convention Expense Association Dues Repair, Maintain & Replace Office Equipment Postage Professional Training & Staff Development Operating Costs of Auto Equipment Materials and Supplies Rental of Office Equipment Printing of Newsletter Miscellaneous Other Expenses Subtotal O/E Total Director’s Office

PROGRAMS Special Events Farmers Market Winter Celebrations Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Memorial Day Fourth of July Jazz @ the Plaza Misc Other Expenses Sub-total Farmers Market Off Set Sub-total Special Events

Day Camp Program Salaries & Wages Overtime Materials & Supplies Bus Transportation Miscellaneous Other Expenses

Camp Offset Sub-total Day Camp Program

2012 Adopted

2011 Requested

2010 Requested

2009 Requested

192,329 16,336 0 208,665

289,879 15,370 39,200 344,449

167,357 14,481 181,838

219,243 9,300 3,069 231,612

218,358 10,777 2,000 231,035

140 540 200

200 900 600

200 1,000 600

350 1,000 0

1,000 4,000 1,000

0 190

250 300

500 200

0 200

500 300

0 3,000 500 3,367 0 0 7,937 216,602

0 4,000 2,000 0 0 0 8,250 352,699

300 3,000 2,000 0 0 1,000 8,800 190,638

300 4,000 1,900 0 0 6,339 14,088 245,700

500 7,000 3,500 0 300 2,000 20,100 251,135

350 4,500 500 8,500 20,000

1,000 42,787 (75) 42,712

350 6,500 1,500 8,500 20,000 2,000 3,000 50,100 (75) 50,025

350 10,000 2,500 8,500 13,000 0 2,000 53,950 (75) 53,875

350 8,000 0 8,500 24,000 0 1,400 70,427 (75) 70,352

350 14,000 2,500 8,500 20,000 5,000 5,000 95,550 (75) 95,475

219,386 0 10,000 30,000 5,000 264,386 (45,000) 219,386

269,586 0 10,000 30,000 5,000 314,586 (45,000) 269,586

150,817 0 12,000 27,295 21,053 211,165 (60,348) 150,817

181,854 0 12,000 33,825 1,500 229,179 (47,325) 181,854

146,186 10,459 18,000 0 1,500 176,145 (47,325) 128,820

3

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Table 2: East Orange Recreation & Cultural Affairs Budget 2009 – 2013 (continued) 2013 Requested

Recreation & Cultural Affairs Programs Continued Instructional and Recreational Leaders Salaries & Wages Longevity Overtime Seasonal and Emergency Sub-total S&W Programs

Other Expenses Comprehensive Recreation Umpire & Official Fees Miscellaneous Other Expenses CDBG Program for Youth Sub-total: Expenses Inst. & Recr. Leaders

TOTAL Programs

Swimming Pool Program Salaries & Wages Longevity Overtime Seasonal and Emergency S&W Sub-total Swimming Pool Revenue Offset Sub-total S&W Swimming Pool

Other Expenses Special Events Materials and Supplies Miscellaneous Other Expenses Swimming Pool Program Expenses Sub-total Swim offset Sub-total Swimming Pool Program Expenses

TOTAL Swimming Pool

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2012 Adopted

2011 Requested

2010 Requested

2009 Requested

479,006 35,272 3,640 266,565 784,483

416,421 34,350 3,597 311,099 765,467

354,553 33,983 15,000 160,902 564,438

415,200 36,089 7,300 153,763 612,352

447,859 31,042 13,000 109,294 601,195

10,000 10,000 2,000 30,000

20,000 10,000 2,000 30,000

20,000 11,000 2,000 20,000

20,000 11,300 6,600 0

20,000 17,520 5,000 0

52,000

62,000

53,000

37,900

42,520

836,483

827,467

617,438

650,252

643,715

196,577 (12,973) 183,604

191,644 (17,800) 173,844

163,888 (13,320) 150,568

123,696 0 123,696

105,189 0 105,189

250 500 1,200

250 0 1,200

250 3,000 3,500

200 3,000 0

300 1,500 0

1,950 (1,950)

1,450 (1,450)

6,750 (6,750)

3,200 (3,200)

1,800 0

0

0

0

0

1,800

183,604

173,844

150,568

123,696

106,989


Table 2: East Orange Recreation & Cultural Affairs Budget 2009 – 2013 (continued) 2013 Requested

Division of Neighborhood Facilities Salaries & Wages Longevity Overtime Sub-total S&W Neighborhood Facilities

Other Expenses Stationery, Printing & Off Supplies Convention Expense Special Projects Consumable Supplies Professional and Special Service Materials and Supplies Utilities Other Equipment- new Repair & Maintenance of Buildings fixed Cleaning Expenses Machine/equipment Rental Miscellaneous Other Expenses Sub-total Expenses Neighborhood Facilities

Total Neighborhood Facilities

TOTAL Recreation & Cultural Affairs East Orange Golf Course Salaries & Wages Expenses (2009 Local Aid Stimulus Program) Total Golf Course

TOTAL Recreation & Cultural Affairs & East Orange Golf Course

2012 Adopted

2011 Requested

2010 Requested

2009 Requested

166,039 15,845 1,497 183,381

166,039 15,095 1,387 182,521

126,971 14,321 5,000 146,292

126,323 11,543 5,000 142,866

122,559 10,337 13,000 145,896

0 0 500 10,000 2,500 5,000 1,500 3,379

0 0 500 20,000 0 5,000 3,000 7,798

0 0 0 1,200 0 500 0 1,200

0 0 365 1,100 0 510 0 1,100

0 0 500 1,500 0 1,500 0 10,000

5,000 2,500 2,000 3,000

6,760 2,000 0 3,000

5,000 0 0 2,900

9,800 500 0 3,500

1,000 120 0 4,000

35,379

48,058

10,800

16,875

20,120

218,760

230,579

157,092

159,741

166,016

1,719,560

1,906,212

1,322,439

1,433,605

1,394,159

478,503 340,007 0 818,510

487,412 323,278 0 810,690

391,222 332,555 0 723,777

502,138 571,175 (225,000) 848,313

567,965 272,150 0 840,115

2,415,184

2,477,792

1,950,541

2,206,731

2,232,265

         

5

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Table 3: East Orange Park Maintenance, Recreation & Cultural Affairs and Golf Course Budget 2009 – 2013 2013 Requested Maintenance and Recreation & Cultural Affairs Maintenance 458,075 Recreation & Cultural Affairs 1,719,560 Sub-total Park Maintenance & 2,177,635 Recreation

Golf Course

Total Maintenance, Recreation, & Golf Course

2012 Adopted

2011 Requested

2010 Requested

2009 Requested

459,449 1,906,212

322,982 1,322,439

505,302 1,433,605

504,840 1,394,159

2,365,661

1,645,421

1,938,907

1,898,999

818,510

810,690

723,777

848,313

840,115

2,996,145

3,176,351

2,369,198

2,787,220

2,739,114

Table 4: Funding Sources for Parks and Recreation in East Orange 2013 Requested

Alternative Revenue Sources Grants CDBG Offset Camp Farmer’s Market Swim Fees & Charges Swimming Pool Day Camp Total Alternative Revenue Sources Alternative Revenues as % of Operating Budget or % of Cost Recovery

2010 Requested

2009 Requested

30,000

20,000

0

0

45,000 75 1,950

45,000 75 1,450

80,348 75 2,200

47,325 75 3,200

0 0 0

12,973 82,936 172,934

17,800 62,000 156,325

13,320 55,280 171,223

0 45,000 95,600

0 0 0

7.9%

6.6%

10.4%

4.9%

0

OPERATING BUDGET FUNDING SOURCES Funding for public parks and recreation in East Orange is primarily derived from the City’s operating budget. In 2013 about 92 Percent of the parks and recreation operating budget is from city funds.

>>> INVESTING IN PARKS + RECREATION

2011 Requested

30,000

Table 3 presents the budget for the three main divisions of parks and recreation: Park Maintenance, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and the East Orange Golf Course.

276

2012 Adopted

CAPITAL BUDGET The 2013 Capital Improvement Budget for Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs and the Golf Course includes $70,811 for improvements to the Golf Course in 2013 and 2014. The only improvements to the parks and recreation facilities shown are pending costs for stairway improvements at the Fellowship Civic Center. Although the Capital Improvement Budget is laid out for six years, only 2013 and 2014 are slated for the Golf Course improvements and pending work on the stairs at the Civic Center. The improvements are for safety reasons reflecting the Maintenance Division’s


challenges of repairing problems or dealing with emergencies. Although the Elmwood Park basketball courts were upgraded at a cost of over $40,000, this improvement was not included in the Capital Improvement Program. Any project over $10,000 with an expected longevity of more than five years should be considered a capital improvement and listed in the program.

BUDGET ANALYSIS The budget analysis is based upon information provided by the Finance Department. It includes the City’s requested budgets for 2013, 2011, 2010, and 2009 and the City’s adopted budget for 2012. The information provided contains only budget figures and does not include actual expenditures. The revenue sources were derived solely from the provided budget information. However, interviews and work sessions found that there were other revenue sources such as for the after school program. These would increase the cost recovery rate for the Recreation & Cultural Affairs operating budget. The operating budget analysis includes Park Maintenance and Recreation & Cultural Affairs.

Since the Golf Course was covered under a separate study it is not included here. As a special use facility, it should be considered an enterprise fund, which operates as a business separate from the public parks and recreation system. Annual Per Capita Investment in Parks and Recreation Based upon a population estimate of 64,270 and the 2013 parks and recreation budget of $2,177,635, the City of East Orange is spending about $33.88 per capita. The national average is $65. The City of Newark spends about $113 per capita on parks and recreation. Ratio of Parks and Recreation to the City’s Operating Budget The City of East Orange’s 2013 operating budget of $113,799,223 includes the funds required to operate the City on a daily basis. It does not include the funding for capital improvements or debt service. The $2,177,635 operating budget for parks and recreation equates to 1.9 percent of the operating budget, which is 0.5% lower than the national average of 2.14 percent. Cost Recovery The Recreation & Cultural Affairs Department re-

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277


covers eight (8%) percent of its operating costs through fees, charges, CDBG funds and offsets. Cost recovery in urban park systems is a challenge. The political realities of instituting fees and charges and public reaction cause concern to elected and appointed officials. Some of the bigger parks and recreation systems offer benchmarks for cost recovery: New York City recovers 22 percent and Chicago recovers 30 percent. Most cities are recovering under ten percent of their operating budgets. However, economic pressures are driving cities toward establishing fees and charges policies for the department’s economic sustainability. Current thinking is moving toward putting a value on specialized facilities, programs and services that could generate revenues, put fees and charges into place, and make provisions for those who cannot afford to pay the fees through scholarships and “workreation” programs, in which participants can undertake public service tasks in parks and recreation or related city functions in return for participation in programs. Maintenance Investment Maintenance investment is averaging about $10,179 per acre. In research conducted by the Trust for Public Land in cities nationwide, the typical cost per acre for city parks is about $22,000. The more

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specialized the park or recreation facility, the higher the costs, which can climb into hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre for park maintenance. Challenges Parks and Recreation provide important public, economic, social, environmental and health benefits. Investing in parks and recreation enhances the quality of life in the City of East Orange. Nevertheless, these are difficult economic times. The public and private sectors are facing major budgetary challenges. The challenges for the City include the following: revenue that will not grow without tax and fee rate increases and expenses that grow based upon the economic forces of inflation, infrastructure aging, personnel costs and service expectations. The City has a long history of providing services for free and the public has come to expect this. The collection of fees varies in some of the programs providing inconsistency in administration and public perception. No revenue policy is in place that would address fees and charges. This type of policy serves to guide management, financing and decision-making regarding programs and services and special use facilities that require higher levels of maintenance and financial support, such as swimming pools, community centers, and ball fields.


• The park maintenance budget has decreased by 10.2 percent in the last five years.The value of the 2009 budget in 2013 dollars would be $549,429, a difference of $91,354, the equivalent of a full time worker and seasonal staff. In 2009, the park maintenance staff was already down by 10 workers from earlier years. The decrease in funding, the loss of staff, the high demand of deteriorating and aging facilities, and a per acre budget of less than half compared to cities nationwide makes park maintenance in East Orange a major challenge. • In 2013, the budget for Special Events Programs is less than half of that of 2009. • However, funding for the Day Camp has increased by 50 percent and fees help to offset costs. • Funding for Instructional and Recreational Leaders grew by 30.4 percent. Information on staffing was not available from the Recreation & Cultural Affairs Department to describe the trend and its benefits. • Swimming pool costs have increased by 88 percent since 2009, mostly in the area of salaries and wages.

• The use of CDBG funds for recreation programs is a major benefit to the community. • Utilities are now a part of the Neighborhood Facilities budget. In the past, the cost of utilities was covered by the city apart from parks and recreation. • Neighborhood Facilities has a budget 32 percent higher than five years ago due to increases in salary, wage and consumable supplies. • Even with the increase in the divisions within Recreation & Cultural Affairs, the Department is still operating at a lower cost overall than it was in 2009 in terms of real dollar value due to economic forces such as inflation and cost of living increases. • In the last four years, the Recreation & Cultural Affairs Division has increased alternative revenue sources by 80 percent. It important to note that five years ago, Recreation & Cultural Affairs was completely subsidized by City funds. This is a noteworthy accomplishment. Working toward increasing this cost recovery rate of eight percent will be important in the future. • Capital Improvement Planning appears to be relatively minimal, perhaps due to lack of fund-

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279


Research shows that for every dollar invested by a city or metropolitan area in parks and recreation has a return of $1.70. 1

ing to make the improvements. However, capital improvements are still being made without benefit of a Capital Improvement program. Having a five to seven year capital improvement program in place does more than identify projects and costs. It serves as a catalyst for a host of management practices such as public participation, professional design consultation, partnership building, pursuit of alternative funding sources for the project, and so on. Opportunities The advent of the Open SpaceTax and the adoption of this Park Master Plan will position the City to undertake a strategic Capital Improvement Program and Budget. The development of management systems suggested in the section on Organization and Management, increasing outside revenue sources and partnerships, and ensuring that recreation programs strive to recover costs is a winning formula. Ways to help enhance this include the following recommendations. RECOMMENDATIONS • Strive to increase the park maintenance budget. Phase in increases over time in conjunction with the park and recreation facility improvements

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>>> INVESTING IN PARKS + RECREATION

made in the implementation of this park Master Plan. • Evaluate programs and services to document the benefits of parks and recreation as a result of the City’s annual investment. Promote these benefits to create heightened public awareness of the economic, social, individual and environmental benefits of Parks and Recreation to the City of East Orange. • Consider using three methods for gauging financial support increases phased in over time: - Management Impact Statement. For all capital improvement projects or major additional programs, use the Management Impact Statement to project costs. The goal of this tool is to protect the investment and ensure its long-term sustainability. Budget accordingly and use a mix of public and private support where possible. - Budget Ratio. Use the benchmark of 2.14 percent of the City’s operating budget as a guide for budget development based upon the identification of projects and programs with resources needed and the expected benefit to the public. In 2013, that would mean an additional $257,688.


- Per Capita Investment. Use the average annual per capita investment as a guide for increases to be phased in over time. In 2013, the difference between East Orange’s per capita investment of $33 and the national average of $65 would be over $2 million. Research shows that for every dollar invested by a city or metropolitan area in parks and recreation has a return of $1.70.1 This connection between urban parks and neighborhood quality is receiving renewed attention from community developers as they strive to make their neighborhoods more attractive to low-income and, increasingly, middleincome residents. A survey for Community Development Corporations (CDCs)—which were once focused largely on housing and commercial development activities—reveals that about 20 percent of CDCs invest in openspace programs, and that this activity area is undergoing the most rapid expansion.2 • Undertake a Revenue Resources Study. Since the City does not have all the resources that it needs to provide for parks and recreation independently, it is imperative to seek additional revenue sources. The goal should be to understand the full spectrum of potential revenue

sources from facilities, programs, and events in the Parks to help sustain the Parks economically. In addition to the Open Space Tax and city operating funding that the Parks currently receive, all available sources of funding should be explored, including: bond issues, gift catalogs, TIFs (Tax Increment Financing), park impact fees, concessions, and outsourcing management, such as for the East Orange Golf Course. The study should include concessions, visitor fees, special event fees, the swimming pools, community centers, and all other potential revenue sources. The Appendix includes a list of potential funding sources from grants. • Create and Adopt a Revenue Policy. A revenue policy spells out the City’s philosophy on generating revenues to support parks and recreation. This is generally from a mix of public and private support. With the City’s history of providing parks and recreation without charge, combined with the public perception that this is a good thing, it is important to establish a strong foundation of policy, public awareness, and promotion of the benefits of parks and recreation in order to help the City provide the kinds of facilities, programs and services needed. A sample Revenue Policy is included in the Appendix.

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281


• Develop a Five to Seven Year Capital Improvement Program for Parks and Recreation. Use the Criteria for Project Selection proposed in the Implementation Plan section to select projects. Use the Open Space Tax revenue estimates to guide the planning. Strive to leverage the Open Space Tax proceeds with grant money, with a goal of trying to match every dollar generated through the tax. • Develop a workload cost tracking system for maintenance. Assess software such as TRIMS to support this function. The TRIMS website (www.trims.com) provides a wealth of information on the capabilities of this software. ENDNOTES Crompton, John L. (2010). Measuring the Impact of Parks and Recreation Services, Arlington, VA: National Recreation & Park Association. P.37. 1

Walker, Chris. (2004). Beyond Recreation: A Broader View of Public Parks. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute. P.1. 2

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priorities + budget estimates for physical park improvements


priorities + budget estimates For Physical Park Improvements

BUDGETING FOR PARK IMPROVEMENTS The following spreadsheets provide orderof-magnitude budget estimates for the plan improvements shown in each park. For each park, improvements are divided into low, medium, and high priority improvements. The category an improvement falls under is based on the following: • Public safety • Most impact per dollar spent • Relative ease of implementation • Public demand Qualifications for the estimates: • Pricing is current as of July 2013 • Architectural-Engineering design fees are excluded • Escalation due to inflation is not included (this is usually calculated as 4% per year) • Overtime labor is excluded • Asbestos abatement is excluded • Assumed no rock excavation or dewatering will be required See Appendix for full cost estimates and for selected design alternates.

BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR PHYSICAL PARK IMPROVEMENTS >>>

283


ELMWOOD PARK Ranking factors include safety; most impact per dollar spent; relative ease of implementation; public demand

High Priority Improvements Base cost

General Cond. (10%)

Replace all sports courts and add court lighting

$

Install sidewalk along street

$

150,000.00 $

Replace all fencing

$

170,000.00 $

Remove/prune undesirable trees/branches

$

50,500.00 $

Design Overhead and Contingency Profit (15%) (25%)

1,150,000.00 $ 115,000.00 $

Construction Contingency (10%)

LINE ITEM TOTAL

189,750.00 $

363,687.50 $

181,843.75 $

2,000,281.25

15,000.00 $

24,750.00 $

47,437.50 $

23,718.75 $

260,906.25

17,000.00 $

28,050.00 $

53,762.50 $

26,881.25 $

295,693.75

5,050.00 $

8,332.50 $

15,970.63 $

7,985.31 $

87,838.44

Fitness zones

$

45,000.00 $

4,500.00 $

7,425.00 $

14,231.25 $

7,115.63 $

78,271.88

Signage

$

15,000.00 $

1,500.00 $

2,475.00 $

4,743.75 $

2,371.88 $

26,090.63

Planting at entrances

$

20,000.00 $

2,000.00 $

3,300.00 $

6,325.00 $

3,162.50 $

34,787.50

SUBTOTAL

$

2,783,869.69

Construction Contingency (10%)

LINE ITEM TOTAL

Medium Priority Improvements Base cost

General Cond. (10%)

Design Overhead and Contingency Profit (15%) (25%)

Field House renovation

$

550,000.00 $

55,000.00 $

90,750.00 $

173,937.50 $

86,968.75 $

956,656.25

Pool House renovation

$

450,000.00 $

45,000.00 $

74,250.00 $

142,312.50 $

71,156.25 $

782,718.75

Pedestrian and sports field lighting

$

420,000.00 $

42,000.00 $

69,300.00 $

132,825.00 $

66,412.50 $

730,537.50

Replace all remaining paving (except rubber track)

$

270,000.00 $

27,000.00 $

44,550.00 $

85,387.50 $

42,693.75 $

469,631.25

$

105,000.00 $

10,500.00 $

17,325.00 $

33,206.25 $

16,603.13 $

182,634.38

$

70,000.00 $

7,000.00 $

11,550.00 $

22,137.50 $

11,068.75 $

121,756.25

Pool Deck

$

45,000.00 $

4,500.00 $

7,425.00 $

14,231.25 $

7,115.63 $

78,271.88

Remove/replace old benches

$

40,500.00 $

4,050.00 $

6,682.50 $

12,808.13 $

6,404.06 $

70,444.69

Replace all drain lines and grates

$

85,000.00 $

8,500.00 $

14,025.00 $

26,881.25 $

13,440.63 $

147,846.88

Demo. Selected walls and steps; repair ex. Walls All remaining planting and ex. Plant demo

SUBTOTAL

$

3,540,497.81

Construction Contingency (10%)

LINE ITEM TOTAL

Low Priority Improvements Base cost

General Cond. (10%)

Design Overhead and Contingency Profit (15%) (25%)

New play equipment

$

120,000.00 $

12,000.00 $

19,800.00 $

37,950.00 $

18,975.00 $

208,725.00

Regrade and reseed lawn, add underdrain

$

120,000.00 $

12,000.00 $

19,800.00 $

37,950.00 $

18,975.00 $

208,725.00

Rubberized track

$

205,000.00 $

20,500.00 $

33,825.00 $

64,831.25 $

32,415.63 $

356,571.88

Spray park

$

100,000.00 $

10,000.00 $

16,500.00 $

31,625.00 $

15,812.50 $

173,937.50

Food Kiosk

$

50,000.00 $

5,000.00 $

8,250.00 $

15,812.50 $

7,906.25 $

86,968.75

Chess and picnic tables

$

35,000.00 $

3,500.00 $

5,775.00 $

11,068.75 $

5,534.38 $

60,878.13

Outdoor music equipment

$

20,000.00 $

2,000.00 $

3,300.00 $

6,325.00 $

3,162.50 $

34,787.50

SUBTOTAL

GRAND TOTAL

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>>> BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR PHYSICAL PARK IMPROVEMENTS

$

1,130,593.75

$

7,454,961.25


MEMORIAL PARK Ranking factors include safety; most impact per dollar spent; relative ease of implementation; public demand

High Priority Improvements Base cost

Design Construction General Overhead and Contingency Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%) (10%)

Replace play area

$

Relocate sculpture and flagpole

$

275,000.00 $ 27,500.00 $

Create new open lawn

$

Install stormwater swales

$

50,000.00 $

5,000.00 $

Plant evergreen buffer

$

10,000.00 $

Install selected areas of new paving

$

Fitness zones

$

Renovate entrances

$

Fencing

$

LINE ITEM TOTAL

45,375.00 $

86,968.75 $

43,484.38 $

478,328.13

800.00 $

1,320.00 $

2,530.00 $

1,265.00 $

13,915.00

100,000.00 $ 10,000.00 $

16,500.00 $

31,625.00 $

15,812.50 $

173,937.50

8,250.00 $

15,812.50 $

7,906.25 $

86,968.75

1,000.00 $

1,650.00 $

3,162.50 $

1,581.25 $

17,393.75

60,000.00 $

6,000.00 $

9,900.00 $

18,975.00 $

9,487.50 $

104,362.50

30,000.00 $

3,000.00 $

4,950.00 $

9,487.50 $

4,743.75 $

52,181.25

28,000.00 $

2,800.00 $

4,620.00 $

8,855.00 $

4,427.50 $

48,702.50

110,000.00 $ 11,000.00 $

18,150.00 $

34,787.50 $

17,393.75 $

191,331.25

8,000.00 $

Signage

$

15,000.00 $

1,500.00 $

2,475.00 $

4,743.75 $

2,371.88 $

26,090.63

Selected benches

$

12,000.00 $

1,200.00 $

1,980.00 $

3,795.00 $

1,897.50 $

20,872.50

New junior basketball court

$

50,000.00 $

5,000.00 $

8,250.00 $

15,812.50 $

7,906.25 $

86,968.75

Remove selected trees

$

12,000.00 $

1,200.00 $

1,980.00 $

3,795.00 $

1,897.50 $

20,872.50

New field house

$

87,450.00 $ 167,612.50 $

83,806.25 $

921,868.75

530,000.00 $ 53,000.00 $

SUBTOTAL

$

2,243,793.75

Medium Priority Improvements Base cost

Design Construction General Overhead and Contingency Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%) (10%)

140,000.00 $ 14,000.00 $

LINE ITEM TOTAL

Library plaza

$

23,100.00 $

44,275.00 $

22,137.50 $

Relocate library parking

$

75,000.00 $

7,500.00 $

12,375.00 $

23,718.75 $

11,859.38 $

243,512.50 130,453.13

Demo. Sports courts

$

80,000.00 $

8,000.00 $

13,200.00 $

25,300.00 $

12,650.00 $

139,150.00

58,000.00 $

5,800.00 $

9,570.00 $

18,342.50 $

9,171.25 $

100,883.75

52,800.00 $ 101,200.00 $

50,600.00 $

556,600.00

Install remaining paving

$

Lighting

$

All remaining planting

$

47,000.00 $

4,700.00 $

7,755.00 $

14,863.75 $

7,431.88 $

81,750.63

Replace all drain lines and grates

$

26,000.00 $

2,600.00 $

4,290.00 $

8,222.50 $

4,111.25 $

45,223.75

150,000.00 $ 15,000.00 $

24,750.00 $

47,437.50 $

23,718.75 $

260,906.25

New full-size basketball courts $

320,000.00 $ 32,000.00 $

SUBTOTAL

$

1,558,480.00

Low Priority Improvements Base cost Bandshell

$

Spray park

$

Design Construction General Overhead and Contingency Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%) (10%)

30,000.00 $

LINE ITEM TOTAL

3,000.00 $

4,950.00 $

9,487.50 $

4,743.75 $

52,181.25

200,000.00 $ 20,000.00 $

33,000.00 $

63,250.00 $

31,625.00 $

347,875.00

Natural play elements

$

15,000.00 $

1,500.00 $

2,475.00 $

4,743.75 $

2,371.88 $

26,090.63

Community gardens

$

40,000.00 $

4,000.00 $

6,600.00 $

12,650.00 $

6,325.00 $

69,575.00

Outdoor music equipment

$

15,000.00 $

1,500.00 $

2,475.00 $

4,743.75 $

2,371.88 $

26,090.63

Picnic tables, remaining benches, game tables

$

30,000.00 $

3,000.00 $

4,950.00 $

9,487.50 $

4,743.75 $

52,181.25

SUBTOTAL

GRAND TOTAL

$

573,993.75

$

4,376,267.50

BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR PHYSICAL PARK IMPROVEMENTS >>>

285


SOVEREL PARK Ranking factors include safety; most impact per dollar spent; relative ease of implementation; public demand

High Priority Improvements Base cost Remove/prune undesirable trees/branches Demo. Sports courts New Sports courts and lighting (basketball/tennis)

Design General Overhead and Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%)

Construction Contingency (10%)

LINE ITEM TOTAL

$

32,000.00 $

3,200.00 $

5,280.00 $

10,120.00 $

5,060.00 $

55,660.00

$

100,000.00 $

10,000.00 $

16,500.00 $

31,625.00 $

15,812.50 $

173,937.50

$

535,000.00 $

53,500.00 $

88,275.00 $

169,193.75 $

84,596.88 $

930,565.63

Selected Pedestrian lighting

$

110,000.00 $

11,000.00 $

18,150.00 $

34,787.50 $

17,393.75 $

191,331.25

River path, riparian planting, and guardrail Clean river channel Fitness zone Stormwater swales Fencing Signage Planting at Entrances Selected Benches

$

500,000.00 $

50,000.00 $

82,500.00 $

158,125.00 $

79,062.50 $

869,687.50

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

20,000.00 50,000.00 280,000.00 100,000.00 15,000.00 25,000.00 15,000.00

2,000.00 5,000.00 28,000.00 10,000.00 1,500.00 2,500.00 1,500.00

3,300.00 8,250.00 46,200.00 16,500.00 2,475.00 4,125.00 2,475.00

3,162.50 7,906.25 44,275.00 15,812.50 2,371.88 3,953.13 2,371.88

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

34,787.50 86,968.75 487,025.00 173,937.50 26,090.63 43,484.38 26,090.63

$

3,099,566.25

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

6,325.00 15,812.50 88,550.00 31,625.00 4,743.75 7,906.25 4,743.75

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

SUBTOTAL Medium Priority Improvements Base cost Field House renovation New natural turf field New artificial turf field Sports lighting Pedestrian lighting Remaining paving Demo. Grandstand Rubberized path Handball and volleyball

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

Replace drain lines and grates $

260,000.00 380,000.00 1,750,000.00 50,000.00 160,000.00 360,000.00 125,000.00 70,000.00 100,000.00

Design General Overhead and Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%) $ 26,000.00 $ 42,900.00 $ 82,225.00 $ 38,000.00 $ 62,700.00 $ 120,175.00 $ 175,000.00 $ 288,750.00 $ 553,437.50 $ 5,000.00 $ 8,250.00 $ 15,812.50 $ 16,000.00 $ 26,400.00 $ 50,600.00 $ 36,000.00 $ 59,400.00 $ 113,850.00 $ 12,500.00 $ 20,625.00 $ 39,531.25 $ 7,000.00 $ 11,550.00 $ 22,137.50 $ 10,000.00 $ 16,500.00 $ 31,625.00

55,000.00 $

5,500.00 $

9,075.00 $

Construction Contingency (10%) $ 41,112.50 $ 60,087.50 $ 276,718.75 $ 7,906.25 $ 25,300.00 $ 56,925.00 $ 19,765.63 $ 11,068.75 $ 15,812.50

17,393.75 $

LINE ITEM TOTAL $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

452,237.50 660,962.50 3,043,906.25 86,968.75 278,300.00 626,175.00 217,421.88 121,756.25 173,937.50

8,696.88 $

95,665.63

SUBTOTAL

$

5,757,331.25

Low Priority Improvements Base cost New field house Line river walls with stone Flexible lawn Ecology pergola Community gardens Food kiosk New parking lot New children's play equipment Remaining benches, picnic tables Remaining planting

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

680,000.00 1,000,000.00 38,000.00 80,000.00 40,000.00 50,000.00 36,000.00

Design General Overhead and Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%) $ 68,000.00 $ 112,200.00 $ 215,050.00 $ 100,000.00 $ 165,000.00 $ 316,250.00 $ 3,800.00 $ 6,270.00 $ 12,017.50 $ 8,000.00 $ 13,200.00 $ 25,300.00 $ 4,000.00 $ 6,600.00 $ 12,650.00 $ 5,000.00 $ 8,250.00 $ 15,812.50 $ 3,600.00 $ 5,940.00 $ 11,385.00

100,000.00 $

10,000.00 $

16,500.00 $

Construction Contingency (10%) $ 107,525.00 $ 158,125.00 $ 6,008.75 $ 12,650.00 $ 6,325.00 $ 7,906.25 $ 5,692.50

31,625.00 $

$ $ $ $ $ $ $

1,182,775.00 1,739,375.00 66,096.25 139,150.00 69,575.00 86,968.75 62,617.50

15,812.50 $

173,937.50

$

46,000.00 $

4,600.00 $

7,590.00 $

14,547.50 $

7,273.75 $

80,011.25

$

110,000.00 $

11,000.00 $

18,150.00 $

34,787.50 $

17,393.75 $

191,331.25

SUBTOTAL

GRAND TOTAL

286

LINE ITEM TOTAL

>>> BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR PHYSICAL PARK IMPROVEMENTS

$

3,791,837.50

$

12,648,735.00


EAST ORANGE OVAL Ranking factors include safety; most impact per dollar spent; relative ease of implementation; public demand

High Priority Improvements Base cost

Design General Overhead and Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%)

Construction Contingency (10%)

LINE ITEM TOTAL

Remove/prune undesirable trees/branches

$

18,000.00 $

1,800.00 $

2,970.00 $

5,692.50 $

2,846.25 $

31,308.75

Resurface (1) existing basketball court and add (1) new court; new bleachers

$

100,000.00 $

10,000.00 $

16,500.00 $

31,625.00 $

15,812.50 $

173,937.50

Remove and restore ex. Fence

$

16,000.00 $

1,600.00 $

2,640.00 $

5,060.00 $

2,530.00 $

27,830.00

Remove chain link (except baseball fence)

$

1,500.00 $

150.00 $

247.50 $

474.38 $

237.19 $

2,609.06

Demo. Ex. Retaining walls at unused courts and $ regrade

35,000.00 $

3,500.00 $

5,775.00 $

11,068.75 $

5,534.38 $

60,878.13

New Signs for 3 entrances

$

11,500.00 $

1,150.00 $

1,897.50 $

3,636.88 $

1,818.44 $

20,002.81

Planting at entrances

$

15,500.00 $

1,550.00 $

2,557.50 $

4,901.88 $

2,450.94 $

26,960.31

Rubberized track

$

160,500.00 $

16,050.00 $

26,482.50 $

50,758.13 $

25,379.06 $

279,169.69

$

375,500.00 $

37,550.00 $

61,957.50 $

118,751.88 $

59,375.94 $

653,135.31

$

33,000.00 $

3,300.00 $

5,445.00 $

10,436.25 $

5,218.13 $

57,399.38

Lighting

$

355,000.00 $

35,500.00 $

58,575.00 $

112,268.75 $

56,134.38 $

617,478.13

Replace drain lines and grates

$

42,000.00 $

4,200.00 $

6,930.00 $

13,282.50 $

6,641.25 $

73,053.75

Concrete treads for spectator seating

$

52,000.00 $

5,200.00 $

8,580.00 $

16,445.00 $

8,222.50 $

90,447.50

Remove and replace existing fieldhouse

$

720,000.00 $

72,000.00 $

118,800.00 $

227,700.00 $

113,850.00 $

1,252,350.00

Majority of new paving and demo. of most ex. paving (except at ex. Fieldhouse and at existing lots to acquire) Remove retaining wall and play area at north end of park

SUBTOTAL

$

3,366,560.31

Construction Contingency (10%)

LINE ITEM TOTAL

Medium Priority Improvements Base cost Demo. Remaining ex. Paving and install remaining new paving

Design General Overhead and Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%)

$

120,000.00 $

12,000.00 $

19,800.00 $

37,950.00 $

18,975.00 $

208,725.00

Demo. Remaining ex. Walls

$

2,000.00 $

200.00 $

330.00 $

632.50 $

316.25 $

3,478.75

Artificial turf field

$ 2,050,000.00 $ 205,000.00 $

338,250.00 $

648,312.50 $

324,156.25 $

3,565,718.75

New fencing between park and adjacent lots

$

25,000.00 $

2,500.00 $

4,125.00 $

7,906.25 $

3,953.13 $

43,484.38

Majority of planting, including stormwater features

$

290,000.00 $

29,000.00 $

47,850.00 $

91,712.50 $

45,856.25 $

504,418.75

SUBTOTAL

$

4,325,825.63

Construction Contingency (10%)

LINE ITEM TOTAL

Low Priority Improvements Base cost

Design General Overhead and Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%)

Replace benches

$

33,000.00 $

3,300.00 $

5,445.00 $

10,436.25 $

5,218.13 $

57,399.38

Picnic tables

$

16,000.00 $

1,600.00 $

2,640.00 $

5,060.00 $

2,530.00 $

27,830.00

New parking lot

$

60,000.00 $

6,000.00 $

9,900.00 $

18,975.00 $

9,487.50 $

104,362.50

Remove 3 garages on adjacent lots to acquire, install fence along street, and new paving in this $ area

160,000.00 $

16,000.00 $

26,400.00 $

50,600.00 $

25,300.00 $

278,300.00

New entrance sign and planting for (1) entrance $

20,000.00 $

2,000.00 $

3,300.00 $

6,325.00 $

3,162.50 $

34,787.50 130,453.13

Install 3rd basketball court

$

75,000.00 $

7,500.00 $

12,375.00 $

23,718.75 $

11,859.38 $

Small spray park for children New children's play equipment at north end of park

$

125,000.00 $

12,500.00 $

20,625.00 $

39,531.25 $

19,765.63 $

217,421.88

$

100,000.00 $

10,000.00 $

16,500.00 $

31,625.00 $

15,812.50 $

173,937.50

SUBTOTAL

GRAND TOTAL

$

1,024,491.88

$

8,716,877.81


WASHINGTON PLAYGROUND Ranking factors include safety; most impact per dollar spent; relative ease of implementation; public demand

High Priority Improvements Base cost

Design General Overhead and Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%)

Construction Contingency (10%)

LINE ITEM TOTAL

Remove/prune undesirable trees/branches

$

37,000.00 $

3,700.00 $

6,105.00 $

11,701.25 $

5,850.63 $

64,356.88

Remove basketball courts

$

90,000.00 $

9,000.00 $

14,850.00 $

28,462.50 $

14,231.25 $

156,543.75

New basketball court with lighting

$

175,000.00 $

17,500.00 $

28,875.00 $

55,343.75 $

27,671.88 $

304,390.63

New perimeter fence

$

84,000.00 $

8,400.00 $

13,860.00 $

26,565.00 $

13,282.50 $

146,107.50

Entrance signage

$

12,000.00 $

1,200.00 $

1,980.00 $

3,795.00 $

1,897.50 $

20,872.50

Planting at entrances

$

11,000.00 $

1,100.00 $

1,815.00 $

3,478.75 $

1,739.38 $

19,133.13

Partial new paving

$

145,000.00 $

14,500.00 $

23,925.00 $

45,856.25 $

22,928.13 $

252,209.38

Replace drain lines/grates

$

22,000.00 $

2,200.00 $

3,630.00 $

6,957.50 $

3,478.75 $

38,266.25

SUBTOTAL

$

1,001,880.00

Construction Contingency (10%)

LINE ITEM TOTAL

Medium Priority Improvements Base cost

Design General Overhead and Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%)

Skatepark with lighting

$ 1,280,000.00 $ 128,000.00 $

211,200.00 $

404,800.00 $

202,400.00 $

2,226,400.00

Replace furniture

$

17,000.00 $

1,700.00 $

2,805.00 $

5,376.25 $

2,688.13 $

29,569.38

New play areas with custom fence, sand feature and boulders

$

390,000.00 $

39,000.00 $

64,350.00 $

123,337.50 $

61,668.75 $

678,356.25

New vehicular paving between $ school and park

141,000.00 $

14,100.00 $

23,265.00 $

44,591.25 $

22,295.63 $

245,251.88

95,000.00 $

9,500.00 $

15,675.00 $

30,043.75 $

15,021.88 $

165,240.63

Pedestrian lighting

$

SUBTOTAL

$

3,344,818.13

Construction Contingency (10%)

LINE ITEM TOTAL

Low Priority Improvements Base cost

Design General Overhead and Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%)

Replace fieldhouse

$

522,000.00 $

52,200.00 $

86,130.00 $

165,082.50 $

82,541.25 $

907,953.75

Regrade field as open lawn

$

75,000.00 $

7,500.00 $

12,375.00 $

23,718.75 $

11,859.38 $

130,453.13

Remaining planting, including stormwater features

$

58,000.00 $

5,800.00 $

9,570.00 $

18,342.50 $

9,171.25 $

100,883.75

Community gardens

$

30,000.00 $

3,000.00 $

4,950.00 $

9,487.50 $

4,743.75 $

52,181.25

Remaining paving

$

32,000.00 $

3,200.00 $

5,280.00 $

10,120.00 $

5,060.00 $

55,660.00

Dog Park

$

58,000.00 $

5,800.00 $

9,570.00 $

18,342.50 $

9,171.25 $

100,883.75

SUBTOTAL

GRAND TOTAL

288

>>> BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR PHYSICAL PARK IMPROVEMENTS

$

1,348,015.63

$

5,694,713.75


COLUMBIAN PLAYGROUND Ranking factors include safety; most impact per dollar spent; relative ease of implementation; public demand

High Priority Improvements Base cost Remove/prune undesirable $ trees/branches Demo. Ex paving, sport courts, play area, fencing, and $ selected light fixtures

Design Construction General Overhead and Contingency Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%) (10%)

45,000.00 $

LINE ITEM TOTAL

4,500.00 $

7,425.00 $

14,231.25 $

7,115.63 $

78,271.88

195,000.00 $ 19,500.00 $

32,175.00 $

61,668.75 $

30,834.38 $

339,178.13

12,375.00 $

23,718.75 $

11,859.38 $

130,453.13

61,050.00 $ 117,012.50 $

58,506.25 $

643,568.75

New basketball court

$

New large play area

$

75,000.00 $

7,500.00 $

Fitness zone

$

21,000.00 $

2,100.00 $

3,465.00 $

6,641.25 $

3,320.63 $

36,526.88

Entrance signage

$

10,000.00 $

1,000.00 $

1,650.00 $

3,162.50 $

1,581.25 $

17,393.75

Planting at entrances

$

10,000.00 $

1,000.00 $

1,650.00 $

3,162.50 $

1,581.25 $

17,393.75

New paving throughout

$

300,000.00 $ 30,000.00 $

49,500.00 $

94,875.00 $

47,437.50 $

521,812.50

New fencing

$

75,000.00 $

7,500.00 $

12,375.00 $

23,718.75 $

11,859.38 $

130,453.13

Rubber track

$

90,000.00 $

9,000.00 $

14,850.00 $

28,462.50 $

14,231.25 $

156,543.75

Stormwater features

$

70,000.00 $

7,000.00 $

11,550.00 $

22,137.50 $

11,068.75 $

121,756.25

Replace drain lines/grates

$

37,000.00 $

3,700.00 $

6,105.00 $

11,701.25 $

5,850.63 $

64,356.88

370,000.00 $ 37,000.00 $

SUBTOTAL

$

2,257,708.75

Medium Priority Improvements Base cost

Design Construction General Overhead and Contingency Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%) (10%)

330,000.00 $ 33,000.00 $

Renovate field house

$

52,181.25 $

573,993.75

Replace benches

$

26,000.00 $

2,600.00 $

4,290.00 $

8,222.50 $

4,111.25 $

45,223.75

Bleachers

$

10,000.00 $

1,000.00 $

1,650.00 $

3,162.50 $

1,581.25 $

17,393.75

New field lighting

$

50,000.00 $

5,000.00 $

8,250.00 $

15,812.50 $

7,906.25 $

86,968.75

Remaining planting

$

40,000.00 $

4,000.00 $

6,600.00 $

12,650.00 $

6,325.00 $

69,575.00

New natural turf field

$

125,000.00 $ 12,500.00 $

20,625.00 $

39,531.25 $

19,765.63 $

217,421.88

Community gardens

$

6,600.00 $

12,650.00 $

6,325.00 $

69,575.00

40,000.00 $

4,000.00 $

54,450.00 $ 104,362.50 $

LINE ITEM TOTAL

SUBTOTAL

$

1,080,151.88

Low Priority Improvements Base cost

Design Construction General Overhead and Contingency Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%) (10%)

Skate park

$

Sand pit and boulders for children

$

7,000.00 $

700.00 $

1,155.00 $

Outdoor musical equipment

$

15,000.00 $

1,500.00 $

Picnic tables

$

12,000.00 $

Game tables

$

10,000.00 $ 37,000.00 $

3,700.00 $

6,105.00 $

11,701.25 $

5,850.63 $

64,356.88

230,000.00 $ 23,000.00 $

37,950.00 $

72,737.50 $

36,368.75 $

400,056.25

10,395.00 $

19,923.75 $

9,961.88 $

109,580.63

Expanded pool deck and new pool fence

$

Pedestrian lighting

$

New court, skate park, and pool lighting

$

450,000.00 $ 45,000.00 $

63,000.00 $

71,156.25 $

782,718.75

2,213.75 $

1,106.88 $

12,175.63

2,475.00 $

4,743.75 $

2,371.88 $

26,090.63

1,200.00 $

1,980.00 $

3,795.00 $

1,897.50 $

20,872.50

1,000.00 $

1,650.00 $

3,162.50 $

1,581.25 $

17,393.75

6,300.00 $

74,250.00 $ 142,312.50 $

LINE ITEM TOTAL

SUBTOTAL

GRAND TOTAL

$

1,433,245.00

$

4,771,105.63


FRANCIS HAIRE PLAYGROUND Ranking factors include safety; most impact per dollar spent; relative ease of implementation; public demand

High Priority Improvements Base cost Remove/prune undesirable trees/branches

$

New children's spray park

$

Replace fence

$

Permeable paver plaza with game tables $

Design Construction General Overhead and Contingency Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%) (10%)

9,000.00 $

900.00 $

440,000.00 $ 44,000.00 $

1,485.00 $

2,846.25 $

LINE ITEM TOTAL

1,423.13 $

15,654.38

72,600.00 $ 139,150.00 $

69,575.00 $

765,325.00

7,500.00 $

12,375.00 $

23,718.75 $

11,859.38 $

130,453.13

130,000.00 $ 13,000.00 $

21,450.00 $

41,112.50 $

20,556.25 $

226,118.75

75,000.00 $

Bus stop improvements

$

5,000.00 $

500.00 $

825.00 $

1,581.25 $

790.63 $

8,696.88

New shade trees

$

23,000.00 $

2,300.00 $

3,795.00 $

7,273.75 $

3,636.88 $

40,005.63

Replace children's play equipment

$

215,000.00 $ 21,500.00 $

35,475.00 $

67,993.75 $

33,996.88 $

373,965.63

Majority of new paving

$

135,000.00 $ 13,500.00 $

22,275.00 $

42,693.75 $

21,346.88 $

234,815.63

Stormwater features

$

20,000.00 $

2,000.00 $

3,300.00 $

6,325.00 $

3,162.50 $

34,787.50

Replace drain lines/grates

$

16,000.00 $

1,600.00 $

2,640.00 $

5,060.00 $

2,530.00 $

27,830.00

SUBTOTAL

$

1,857,652.50

Medium Priority Improvements Base cost

Construction Design General Overhead and Contingency Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (10%) (25%)

380,000.00 $ 38,000.00 $

LINE ITEM TOTAL

Replace Field house

$

62,700.00 $ 120,175.00 $

60,087.50 $

660,962.50

Lighting

$

85,000.00 $

8,500.00 $

14,025.00 $

26,881.25 $

13,440.63 $

147,846.88

Benches and picnic tables

$

30,000.00 $

3,000.00 $

4,950.00 $

9,487.50 $

4,743.75 $

52,181.25

Fitness zone

$

28,000.00 $

2,800.00 $

4,620.00 $

8,855.00 $

4,427.50 $

48,702.50

Regrade and reseed little league field

$

20,000.00 $

2,000.00 $

3,300.00 $

6,325.00 $

3,162.50 $

34,787.50

SUBTOTAL

$

944,480.63

Low Priority Improvements Base cost Paving under pergola areas

Construction Design General Overhead and Contingency Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (10%) (25%)

LINE ITEM TOTAL

$

105,000.00 $ 10,500.00 $

17,325.00 $

33,206.25 $

16,603.13 $

182,634.38

Pergola with vines at new fieldhouse

$

175,000.00 $ 17,500.00 $

28,875.00 $

55,343.75 $

27,671.88 $

304,390.63

Remaining planting

$

3,877.50 $

7,431.88 $

3,715.94 $

40,875.31

23,500.00 $

2,350.00 $

SUBTOTAL

GRAND TOTAL

290

>>> BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR PHYSICAL PARK IMPROVEMENTS

$

527,900.31

$

3,330,033.44


HOFFMAN PARK Ranking factors include safety; most impact per dollar spent; relative ease of implementation; public demand

All Improvements Base cost Remove/prune undesirable trees/branches

$

Design Construction General Overhead and Contingency Contingency Cond. (10%) Profit (15%) (25%) (10%)

6,500.00 $

650.00 $

1,072.50 $

150,000.00 $ 15,000.00 $

LINE ITEM TOTAL

2,055.63 $

1,027.81 $

11,305.94

All paving

$

24,750.00 $

47,437.50 $

23,718.75 $

260,906.25

Lighting

$

60,000.00 $

6,000.00 $

9,900.00 $

18,975.00 $

9,487.50 $

104,362.50

Furnishings

$

19,000.00 $

1,900.00 $

3,135.00 $

6,008.75 $

3,004.38 $

33,048.13

Entrance signage

$

8,000.00 $

800.00 $

1,320.00 $

2,530.00 $

1,265.00 $

13,915.00

All planting

$

37,000.00 $

3,700.00 $

6,105.00 $

11,701.25 $

5,850.63 $

64,356.88

Small water feature

$

35,000.00 $

3,500.00 $

5,775.00 $

11,068.75 $

5,534.38 $

60,878.13

Replace drain lines/grates

$

10,500.00 $

1,050.00 $

1,732.50 $

3,320.63 $

1,660.31 $

18,263.44

Replace fence between park and adjacent lots

$

65,000.00 $

6,500.00 $

10,725.00 $

20,556.25 $

10,278.13 $

113,059.38

Custom bus shelter

$

25,000.00 $

2,500.00 $

4,125.00 $

7,906.25 $

3,953.13 $

43,484.38

SUBTOTAL

GRAND TOTAL

$

567,036.25

$

567,036.25

BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR PHYSICAL PARK IMPROVEMENTS >>>

291


implementation plan strategy + timeline


implementation plan Strategy + Timeline YEAR ONE • Establish Leadership for Parks + Recreation The most critical step for the success of this plan is to identify and install the East Orange Parks and Recreation Director. This individual would be ultimately responsible for the implementation of all aspects of this parks master plan—not only the physical improvements, but the operational, programmatic, recreational, marketing, and outreach improvements as well. Without this clear leadership, simply investing in capital improvements in the parks may not be efficient or sustainable. The role of this individual is described in the section on Organization and Management, and a job description is provided in the appendix. It is strongly urged that a national search for the right individual be conducted, using the job description provided. While the search for a qualified professional is underway, a team of qualified park planning and design professionals should be retained to initiate the improvements of the parks master plan in a cost efficient, sustainable, and inclusive manner. This is also discussed in the section on Organization and Management. • Make decisions on Organizational Structure Based on the recommendations given in the Organization and Management section, decisions should be made regarding whether and how to

reorganize the Parks and Recreation functions in the city to ensure quality, long-term, sustainable improvements. In relation to this restructuring, the mission, vision, roles and responsibilities of the Open Space, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Advisory Committee should be clearly defined. • Outline a Strategy for Public Involvement The citizens of East Orange clearly want to be involved in decisions regarding parks and recreation. At each community meeting held during this master planning process, over 50 individuals came forward, gave their contact information, and expressed interest in being part of a Park Friends group for their community park. This list of contacts is on file in the Planning department. Continued public engagement is strongly urged for the success of all master plan improvements. The most significant way to bring about revitalization in parks and recreation is through the organization of citizens serving as advocates for park improvements clamoring for change with the elected officials. The Park Friends groups could be nurtured through effective communication and by being provided meeting space, receiving help and support for initial organization and role definition, a modest administrative budget could be provided, and ideas given for how they can help maintain, monitor, and build stewardship for the parks. Above all, the Park Friends could offer their insight

IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: STRATEGY + TIMELINE >>>

293


into the specific improvements to the parks going forward. The city could identify someone currently on staff to coordinate and support the Park Friends groups. It could also retain the services of a public engagement professional or an organization such as the Trust for Public Land to help get these groups organized and off the ground. The Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Advisory Board should assess its vision, mission, roles and responsibilities in light of this Park Master Plan. The Board should develop an annual work program to make the best use of the volunteer time in accomplishing goals. Develop a training program to ensure that members have the kind of information needed to be effective board members and to train new members as the board composition changes. • Undertake the Pilot Project(s) It is of the utmost importance that the pilot project create the momentum and set the stage for how future park improvements are made. It should inspire future success and be inclusive of the surrounding community. The pilot project should also be substantial enough that it does not appear to be a “band-aid” fix to a park. It should help to create a “buzz” about the parks and showcase how responsive the City can be. Three potential projects stood out as excellent pilot projects for the improvements identified in the master plan:

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Elmwood Park: There is consensus in the city that Elmwood Park is the most popular and well-loved park in the city. The high priority improvements at Elmwood would perhaps have more city-wide impact than improvements made at any other park and would create the most “buzz” and excitement. Refer to the section on Priorities and Budget Estimates for a list of high priority improvements. Memorial Park: Situated in the city center, within the planned transit village and within one of the poorest sections of the city, the high priority improvements for this park could be a great first step in the transformation of the city’s parks. Refer to the section on Priorities and Budget Estimates for a list of high priority improvements. This project could demonstrate new and effective ways to expand programming, provide park security, and foster collaboration among city departments, including the Library, Parks & Recreation and the Division of Senior Services. Columbian Playground: More than any other park, Columbian Playground exemplifies the problems within the park system for the surrounding community. The high priority improvements for this park would transform a once burned-down playground next to a vacant building into a beautiful community park geared toward the inclusion of all generations of users. The community support for this park was also overwhelming. This would be a great opportunity to demonstrate how resi-


dents can become directly involved in the design and decision-making process. There could be a neighborhood planting day where the community helps to install new planting in the park. Refer to the section on Priorities and Budget Estimates for a list of high priority improvements. • Reporting and Data Collection During Year One, make decisions on what information and data to track and collect throughout the year. The goal should be to produce the right information at the right time to make decisions about the allocation of resources, capital improvement projects, programming, staffing, budgeting, and so on. This information should also be the foundation for the creation of an annual Parks and Recreation report, like those that used to be produced in East Orange. At the end of Year One, the annual report should be created that not only catalogs all the relevant data related to Parks and Recreation, but also lists the accomplishments of Year One and identifies the emerging needs, opportunities, goals, priorities, and work plan for Year Two. These annual reports will guide future planning efforts, increase accountability and transparency, and increase efficiency.

YEAR TWO AND BEYOND There are many improvements recommended for parks and recreation. To fully complete all recommendations, a twenty-year time frame may be realistic. All high-priority improvements could be made in the first five years, with medium- and low-priority improvements following. Refer to the section on Priorities and Budget Estimates for a list of recommended high-, medium-, and low-priority improvements for each park, as well as budget costs. Due to its small size, Hoffman Park is not divided into priorities and improvements are listed under one category. This chapter contains Figure U2, a graphic representation of the suggested timeline for implementing all improvements and Figure U3, a matrix to help evaluate the importance and achievability of an improvement. Potential improvements should also be weighed against operating and management impacts. The Management Impact Statement presented in the section on Organization and Management will help assess the impacts of physical improvements.

Refer to Figure U1 for a graphic representation of suggested Year One actions.

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295


2014 January

February

March

April

Action

1 Identify and recruit Department Director 2 Select a qualified team of park planning and design professionals until a Director is found and to design and oversee Year One improvements 3 Make decisions on organizational structure 4 Determine information and data to track 5 Outline a strategy for public involvement 6 Determine the Pilot Project 7 Public engagement for Pilot Project 8 Design and construction documentation for Pilot Project (duration dependent on scope) 9 Pilot Project drawings and specifications issued for bidding 10 Pilot Project construction (duration dependent on scope) 11 Prepare and issue Annual Report for Year One and Work Plan for Year Two

FIGURE U1: PARKS & RECREATION YEAR ONE SCHEDULE East Orange Park Master Plan

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>>> IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: STRATEGY + TIMELINE

May

June

July


June

July

August

September

October

November

December

IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: STRATEGY + TIMELINE >>>

297


0-5 Years

5-10 Years

Ward Park

High Priority: $3.1 Million

1

Soverel Park

2

Memorial Park

2

Rowley Park

3

Elmwood Park

3

Washington Playground

High Priority: $1.1 Million

4

East Orange Oval

High Priority: $3.4 Million

4

Francis Haire Park

High Priority: $1.9 Million

5

Hoffman Park

Imrovements: $0.6 Million

5

Columbian Playground

High Priority: $2.3 Million

Medium Priority: $1.6 Million

High Priority: $2.8 Million

M

High Priority: $2.3 Million

FIGURE U2: PARKS & RECREATION IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE East Orange Park Master Plan

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Medium

Medium Priority: $


5-10 Years

Million

10-15 Years

15-20 Years

Medium Priority: $5.8 Million

Low Priority: $3.8 Million

Low Priority: $0.6 Million Limited Improvements Medium Priority: $3.6 Million

Low Priority: $1.2 Million Medium Priority: $3.4 Million

Medium Priority: $4.4 Million

illion

Medium Priority: $1.0 Million

Low Priority: $1.4 Million Low Priority: $1.1 Million

Low Priority: $0.6 Million

illion Medium Priority: $1.1 Million

Low Priority: $1.5 Million

IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: STRATEGY + TIMELINE >>>

299


1

Does the proposed project respond to public demand based on community engagement?

2

Does the project benefit a majority of the citizens (does it have city-wide impact)?

3

Will the project meet the safety and accessibility needs of the community?

4

Is the project consistent with the parks master plan?

5

Is the project in an area of the community that needs investment?

6

Is funding available for the project?

7

Does a community group support the project or is one ready to be engaged?

8

Are there private or public partners willing to help offset the construction or maintenance costs?

9

Will the City or other provider be able to maintain the improvement on completion?

10

Will the quality of the project enhance the public image of East Orange?

Total Points

Low Priority (1)

Medium Priority (2)

High Priority (3)

No (1)

Criteria

Yes (2)

For each capital improvement project under consideration, identify: Project Scope, Capital Cost, Annual Operating Cost, Operating Budget Source(s), and Funding Source(s)

TOTAL POINTS

1) Mark either ‘2’ for yes or ‘1’ for no. 2) Determine whether the project is high priority ‘3’, Medium ‘2’, or Low ‘1’. 3) Multiply the yes/no points by the priority points and put this number in the Total Points column. 4) Add up the Total Points and write the score in the box at the bottom. 5) Use the Total Points to compare one improvement to another.

FIGURE U3: SAMPLE CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS East Orange Park Master Plan

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bibliography


bibliography

Alexander, Garvin. Public Parks: The Key to Liable Community. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011. Blair SN, Kohl HW, and Gordon NF. How Much Physical Activity is Good for Health?. Annual Review of Public Health. 1992. Board of Recreation Commissioners. East Orange: 1931. Twenty-fifth Report. East Orange, 1931. City Planning Board. East Orange: Schools & Recreation. Fifth Series of Reports. East Orange, 1946. City Plan Commission. City Plan of East Orange. East Orange, 1922. Cohen, DA, Han B, Derose KP, Williamson S, Marsh T, Rudick J, McKenzie TL. Neighborhood Poverty, Park Use, and Park-based Physical Activity. Social Science Medicine. 2012. Collins, Beryl Robichaud and Karl H. Anderson. Plant Communities of New Jersey: A Study in Landscape Diversity. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1994. Crompton, John. L. Measuring the Impact of parks and Recreation Services. Arlington, VA: National Recreation & Park Association, 2010. Gerrish, Jim and Frederick Goode. “An Interactive Timeline History of East Orange”. http://eohistory.info/ eotimeline/index.html. 2013. Gibbons LW, Macera CA. Changes in Physical Fitness and All-cause Mortality: A Prospective Study of Healthy and Unhealthy Men. Journal of the American Medical Association. 1995. Harnik, Peter. Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2010. Hart, William. Postcard History Series: East Orange in Vintage Postcards. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2000. Hart, William. Images of America: East Orange. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2006.

BIBLIOGRAPHY >>>

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The League of Women Voters of East Orange, NJ. This is East Orange: A Community Handbook and Map. East Orange, 1965. Pierson, David Lawrence. History of The Oranges to 1921, Reviewing the Rise, Development and Progress of an Influential Community. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1922. Slattery ML. How Much Physical Activity Do We Need to Maintain Health Prevent Disease? Different Diseases – Different Mechanisms. Research Quarterly Exercise and Sport. 1996. United States Department of Health and Human Services; Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA, 1996. Walker, Chris. Beyond Recreation: A Broker View of Public Parks. Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2004.

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>>> BIBLIOGRAPHY

East Orange Parks Master Plan 2013/09/04  

The full parks master plan report.

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