Friends of Maplewood Recreation Dehart Proejct sign now

The Friends of Maplewood Recreation is a non-profit charitable conservancy dedicated to assisting the Township of Maplewood in developing or improving the cultural, art, recreational programs and facilities utilized by the residents of the town and the local school system. The Friends, in partnership with the Township of Maplewood, have applied for a series of Green Acres Grants from the State of New Jersey, Essex County, and grants from local groups, and private foundations to improve the playing fields at DeHart Park.

Overall, the project involves the design and construction of a new, lighted, artificial turf, handicap-accessible, multi-use athletic field to replace the existing athletic field complex at DeHart Park. The benefits from this project include:

1.Increase the athletic/recreational opportunities for field sports, baseball, and softball for all age groups.

2.By reconfiguring the space, and installing artificial turf, the Township will double the availability of safe, playable soccer/lacrosse fields within the same footprint

3.Over 2,000 community youth soccer, lacrosse, baseball and softball players will be the immediate primary beneficiaries of the project.

4.The entire facility will be handicap-accessible, allowing the Township to further develop its programming for citizens with special needs.

5.The project calls for upgrading the current lighting at the fields. Dehart is the only Maplewood athletic field which is lighted.


The DeHart Park playing fields are used by a number of constituents including the residents of Maplewood and South Orange, the South Orange/Maplewood School Districts athletic teams, the Maplewood Recreation Department, organized clubs (Travel Soccer and Lacrosse whose members consist of residents from not only Maplewood but also South Orange), organized baseball/softball teams, summer YMCA Camps and Maplewoods camp for handicapped children. As you know, field usage has increased dramatically with the popularity of soccer and lacrosse and the transition of those sports programming to year round programming. Answering the demand for field time from the various sports has resulted in an over utilization of the field and a deterioration of field conditions. Requests for field time by these users have been denied on a regular basis.
The cost of the project is estimated to be $1,400,000. To date, we have raised over $686,000 with $100,000 in negotiation. The Friends will be applying for an additional $300,000-$400,000 in grants. On April 4, 2006 the Township will vote on whether to apply for funding from Green Acres. This represents the last piece in the puzzle. If the grant application is successful, the financial impact on the town and taxpayers will be minimal and the town will have a state of the art facility. The newly established Open Space Trust Fund is one potential source of servicing the cost of funding the project.

We are asking you to sign this e-based petition for your support for the DeHart project. We also asked that you attend the Town Meeting on Tuesday, April 4, 2006 from 8-9pm at Town Hall to speak in favor of the project and the Towns application for funding from Green Acres. The Committee members need to hear from you. Please plan on attending the meeting. In addition, we are asking that you circulate a petition to Maplewood residents in support of the project. We will present this petition to the Township on or before the April 4 meeting. We are also asking that you place a call to David Huemer, Township Committee Member, in support of the project. His contact info is: 973-763-7793/ [email protected] When you speak with him please cover the following topics: I am a resident of Maplewood and I live @..., I wish to express my support for the DeHart Project, the need that soccer and lacrosse have for the additional field, and that you want the Township to proceed with the application for Green Acres funding.

Please do not hesitate to call me if you have any questions.
Sincerely,

Richard Sirois, Grantwriter, Friends of Maplewood Recreation
973-762-2388

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Sylvia WhitakerBy:
International PolicyIn:
Petition target:
Maplewood Community Residents

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