By Douglas E. Hall
The Borough Council voted final approval unanimously for the redevelopment of Veterans Field amid applause from an approving audience Wednesday, Aug. 26. The vote was taken at a special meeting of the council after it heard a detailed presentation from executives of Consulting and Municipal Engineers (CME) Associates, who have redesigned the borough park on River Road.
The newly approved plans include three ball diamonds and a football/soccer field. Mayor Michael McPartland said he envisions “aThanksgiving football game, Leonia football, girls’ softball, t-ball. This goes beyond my expectations and if we have to take bells and whistles off, we’ll deal with that”.
Going forward from the current state of the park in its continuing remediation, the new plans represent an on-going expenditure of $6 million and a finished park of 60 percent natural grass and 40 percent artificial turf.
New to the plans is a water splash/play area divided for children five years old and under and a similar area for older children. All parking has been moved to the western-most section of the park nearest to River Road, with two entrances and one exit for vehicles. There will be lighting for all sports fields on 14 poles.
Mayor McPartland called the new plan, “Quality work” as he endorsed the revised project. He suggested an opening date of next July 4, but he offered that the parts of the park could be ready for use at various dates. Department of Public Works Director Tom Quinton said there would be 70 to 100 trees planted in the park that lost most of its large trees in Hurricane Sandy in November of 2012.
The park is being remediated and redeveloped under a $19.7 million bonding ordinance with the most recently completed section being the park’s portion of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, which stretches 18.5 miles from Bayonne to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee. Much of the walkway was undermined and damaged by Hurricane Sandy.