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Recreation Commission Requests Exceed Potential Open Space Funding

Voters approved the restoration of the Open Space Trust Fund this past November and now the Council will determine how $143,765 will be allocated.

With the restoration of the River Edge Open Space Trust Fund for the next five years, the borough will now need to trim over $465,500 in funding requests for 2013. The majority of funding requests, totalling $410,468 were on behalf of the Recreation Commission. The borough is estimated to have approximately $143,756 available funding come Feb. 10.

Voters defeated the Open Space Trust Fund ballot question in 2011 after much of the funding had been used to cover the salary and wages of three DPW workers who oversee the maintenace of the parks. Resident had a change of heart and restored the funding this past November after the total were split between several groups. 

"Everything you see here is what we've done from day one with Open Space funding," Recreation Commission Chairwoman Cindy Sherlock said. "If we don't maintain the parks, then shame on us."

Sherock and Recreation Director Bobbi Conway submitted several requests for Open Space funding including $21,270 for Park Maintenance, $20,670 for Field Maintenance, a $28,468 Lightning Detection System, $5,560 to extend the Little League fence, $325,000 to replace the current field lights at Kenneth B. George (KBG) fields and $9,500 to resurface the Memorial Park Handball Court.

According to Conway, many of the maintenance requests are meant to get the fields in order prior to the spring opening day for Little League and REGAL as well as laying down wood fibers underneath the playground and picnic areas. 

"Our insurance requires us to put the wood fiber surface down and we have to order it this year," Conway said. The Commission was unable to layer a new fiber surface in 2011 due to a lack of available funding. She added that the KBG lighting replacement project funding may be split up over the next three years.

One of the Commission's main requests for 2013 is to install a Strike Guard Lightning Warning system, similar to one utilized in Oradell, that would emit a flashing light and siren at KBG, the Little League field and Memorial Park upon detecting a lightning strike within a 10-mile radius. The main transiter and receiver system would be housed at Fire Company 1.

"The closest siren in Oradell is at the high school and it can not be heard three blocks into River Edge," Conway said. 

Councilman Vito Acquafredda stated that the regional district will be exploring with Oradell to add its own detection siren at the middle school in the future.

Additional allocation funding was requested as follows:

  • $9,200 - Department of Public Works (DPW)
  • $5,600 - Restoration of Soldier statue at Veteran's Memorial Park
  • $9,000 - Curb work at Cherry Blossom Park
  • $13,095 - Shade Tree planting 30 trees in borough parks
  • $11,460 - Removal of white pines around Tennis Courts and replace with mix of holly trees and rhododendron shrubs
  • $1,000 - Environmental Committee
  • $1,750 - 9/11 Memorial Gardens maintenance
  • $2,000 - Green Team
  • $2,000 - Beautification Committee

The DPW request, unlike past year's to cover salary and wages for employees, is for park maintenance items including grass seed and pesticide chemicals and maintenance of the department's mowers and trimmers used in the parks.

The Trust Fund allows for one cent per each $100 of a homeowners taxbill to be set aside for the preserveration of open space in the borough.

Future discussions on how the 2013 Trust Fund allocations will be divided will continue through the end of January and into February.

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