BLOOMFIELD, NJ-- The
Township of Bloomfield held its Groundbreaking Ceremony for the upcoming Lion
Gate Municipal Complex project this morning, with distinguished guests from New
Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and county, state and local
elected officials. The long discussed project will re-purpose the 18.2 acre site
of the former Scientific Glass Factory, creating a soccer field, a children’s
park and walking paths along Third River.
The project, which Mayor Michael
Venezia’s administration has been working to adopt for over three years, will
include restoring historic and ecologically important wetlands that will reduce
the impact of floods in the area, and the Soccer field will feature an
underground water draining system.
The creation of this Complex will
be one of the largest infrastructure projects in Bloomfield in decades, costing
approximately $13.3 million, which includes a $1.7 million Freshwater Wetlands
Mitigation Council grant and a $3 million New Jersey Department of
Environmental Protection grant.
“We are very excited to break
ground on this exciting project that will have tremendous public benefits, like
providing much-needed open space and lowering flood insurance rates for nearby
residents and businesses,” said Mayor Michael Venezia. “By taking an
underutilized parcel of land and turning it into beautiful park and waterfront
space to be enjoyed by the public, we are fulfilling our commitment to
preserving and enhancing open space. We would not have accomplished this
without the efforts of Councilman Nick Joanow, who has advocated for this park
for many years, Township Administrator Matthew Watkins, our excellent
contractors and environmental experts, and I would like to thank them all. I
also want to thank the Department of Environmental Protection and Freshwater
Wetlands Mitigation Council for their important grant assistance to help us
jump start this complex which will enrich the lives of Bloomfield residents for
decades to come.”
amazing project is transforming a brownsfield site that was unused and an
eyesore into open space and recreation facilities that the residents of
Bloomfield can enjoy,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.
“Parks are the lungs of our county and municipalities and creating attractions
like this contribute to the physical and social health of our residents,
enhance our property values and make our communities more livable.
Congratulations to the Mayor, Council and the residents of Bloomfield.”
Also at the
event were State Senators Ron Rice and Teresa Ruiz, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo,
Essex County Freeholder and former Bloomfield Councilman Carlos Pomares, and
the entire Bloomfield Council.
is the next generation of green infrastructure projects and it’s happening
right here in Bloomfield. This is the real deal and it’s a project that rose up
from the community and will now benefit all the residents of Bloomfield for
years to come,” said Gregory Remaud, Chief Executive Officer of the New
York/New Jersey Baykeeper. “I can’t imagine how much work Matt Watkins and
Mayor Venezia did to make this a reality. This is an extraordinary project, and
we’re proud to be part of it.”
“By removing a little over four
acres of upland historic fill in this densely developed area and converting it
to a functioning floodplain wetland, the project will restore valuable
ecological functions, increase flood storage capacity, and enhance wildlife
habitat," said Mark Gallagher, Vice President of Princeton Hydro,
the ecological engineering firm contracted by Bloomfield Township.
Phase One of the project, which includes
the wetland construction and plantings, will be completed by September 1, 2019.
A maintenance building, concession stand and Environmental Center are planned
as part of Phase Two. Over 500 trees and shrubs will be planted in the new
wetland with additional trees and shrubs being planted along Lion Gate Drive
and in existing woodlands. The selected native plant species all provide
important wildlife value such as providing fruit for migratory birds.