By Elaine Van Develde
It’s all about the green right now at Rumson’s Piping Rock Park — money, grass and a green light for improvements.
The borough was recently one of 15 municipalities in the county awarded $250,000 in 2014 Monmouth County Open Space Trust Fund grant money to fund mostly playing fields improvements at the park.
The $250,000 is a maximum grant amount allocated to go toward eligible projects that are slated to come to fruition in 2015.
All 53 municipalities in the county are eligible to apply for the now annual county grant which requires that projects suit an open space need, such as improvements to or acquisition of passive or active open space and/or recreation swaths of land.
Rumson officials’ choice was based on an impending need to upgrade the highly used, now war-torn natural grass fields.
They get so much use, Mayor John Ekdhal said, that there’s been “no time to ‘rest’ or repair the grass surface,” so turf is the way to go in order to accommodate the “amount of children using the fields for all the various sports.”
The mayor estimates that the cost for an artificial grass field (alone) “is upwards of $600,000, and hence the plan is to apply and hopefully receive a second $250,000 grant in 2015 to move forward (into Phase II of the plan).”
In addition to the turf installation, there will be a few more associated improvements as part of Phase I of the project as it was outlined by Rumson Engineer David Marks, of the Middletown-based T&M Associates, in September of 2014.
The plan for Phase I, according to borough minutes, is as follows:
- a multi-sport synthetic turf field for regulation size soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and practice football (no end zones or goal posts), which could also be used for two side-by-side child soccer fields;
- a 10-foot-high vinyl buffer fence along the southern end of the park, from Forrest Avenue to East River Road;
- a 10 to 15-foot-high chain link perimeter fence in the field area along Forrest Avenue;
- paver walkways on the north side of the field by the Carton Street parking lot which will connect to the playground area and south side of the field and parking lot by East River Road.
- relocation of the 9/11 Memorial and flagpole;