One-day playground makeover planned in Newark

Newark, NJ, 10/28/2005: The nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL) and NJ-NAIOP (the National Association of Industrial Office Properties) will renovate a Newark playground from the ground up on Friday, October 28. More than $100,000 worth of volunteer labor, in-kind services, and donations will be poured into the rebuilding of El Club del Barrio Peace Park. Dozens of volunteers will assemble and install playground equipment, pour concrete and safety surface, repair cracks in the playground, lay sod, and landscape the South Ward park as part of NJ-NAIOP’s sixth annual Build Day.

The ten-year-old playground was built by TPL to help address the critical need for safe, accessible places for children to play in Newark. The space is owned by El Club del Barrio, a community nonprofit that uses the playground for their after school program and recreational activities throughout the year. Children from the adjacent Lady Liberty Academy depend on the space for recess and recreation, and nuns from the nearby convent help supervise the playground, which serves as the site for recreational activities and also is a popular retreat for nearby residents and children.

“Newark’s children suffer from an acute lack of open space. Safe, well-designed outdoor places can anchor neighborhoods and afford children the chance to participate in organized activities,” said Terrence Nolan, director of TPL’s New Jersey Field Office. “Through Build Day, we will make this playground even better.”

“Newark, which is experiencing phenomenal growth, especially in housing, education and cultural areas, is in great need of recreational spaces. We hope El Club del Barrio Peace Park will continue to be a catalyst to reinforce community life and add to Newark’s competitive advantages. Beyond physical revitalization, our members and partnerships have supported programs like Build Day that have made neighborhoods safer, stronger, and better educated,” said Michael McGuinness, executive director of NJ-NAIOP.

Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. is serving as project manager and is responsible for overseeing the playground design. The day’s work is also being done in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Adopt-A-Neighborhood Program. Build Day participants include various community groups and even the neighborhood youngsters themselves.

NJ-NAIOP and its Community Action Committee have a distinguished history of developing plans and designs to build and refurbish playgrounds in several New Jersey urban areas. During the past five years, the organization has refurbished the Florida Street Playground for the children of the Frog Hollow neighborhood in Elizabeth; built a play area and community garden in the Town of Harrison; constructed a playground at the Thomas Mundy Peterson School in Perth Amboy; refurbished the West Side Recreation Area, including the construction of a tot lot, renovation of an existing gazebo and other improvements in the City of Asbury Park; and created a state-of-the-art playground in Paterson.

NJ-NAIOP is the trade association for developers, owners, investors, and other professionals active in the industrial, office, and commercial real estate industry. Founded in 1970, the New Jersey Chapter is comprised of more than 500 members who benefit from a variety of business and networking opportunities, education, and professional development programs, research on trends and innovations and strong legislative and public affairs representation. The New Jersey Chapter is part of the larger NAIOP organization founded in 1967, which is comprised of more than 12,000 members in 50 chapters throughout North America.

The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Through Parks for People—Newark, the organization is addressing the overwhelming need for additional safe playgrounds in the underserved communities of New Jersey’s largest city. Since 1995, six community parks have been created by the Trust for Public Land in Newark. The Trust for Public Land’s Parks for People initiative works in cities across America to ensure that everyone—in particular, every child—enjoys access to a park, playground or open space.