Hillman and Villano Fields Consider $ 1.9 Million Upgrade – Pascack Press & Northern Valley Press
EMERSON, NJ â A $ 1.9 million renovation project of two popular recreation grounds â Hillman and Villano â will be a priority if the city and school board receive a municipal park development grant of more than $ 600,000 of Bergen County.
A public hearing on the proposed grant is scheduled for Tuesday May 4 at 7:30 p.m.
The borough filed a letter of intent on April 9 to request nearly $ 633,333 in 2021 Bergen County Trust Fund Municipal Program for Park Development Funds and must submit a final grant proposal by May 14, according to county officials. .
The recreation grounds are co-owned by Emerson and the Borough School Board.
Borough administrator Robert Hermansen said if funds were given they would likely be notified by December. He said sodding of the two fields would be done during Phase II of the project, at a cost of around $ 2 million or more, and would likely be requested as part of a county grant in 2022.
The borough and local school district will also each contribute an equal match, $ 633,300, to complete a phased project with various upgrades.
The city and school district must sign a shared services agreement to complete the matching grant project.
The project will include the installation of lighting on three courts, the resurfacing of basketball courts, the installation of tennis and pickleball courts, a playground, a walking track, grass fields and an amphitheater. for outdoor events and concerts, among other improvements.
Hillman Park was established with a generous donation of land from Richard Hillman, a 60-year-old Emerson resident who died in 1959. Hillman Park consists of ball fields, playground equipment and a concession stand .
It is located between the Emerson Public Library and the Emerson Fire Hall on Thomas Street. Villano Field consists of two baseball fields located behind Patrick M. Villano Elementary School, off Linwood Avenue.
Hoffman speaks out against grant request
Although no formal vote was taken on submitting a letter of intent to apply, Board Chairman Kenneth Hoffman said he was not in favor of submitting a grant. if the cost of rounding was “too high”. He opposed the action.
All other council members were in favor of the borough grant consultant preparing a grant application for further review.
“To me it’s not worth it, if the final cost to the city is minimal or no, then fine, but if you’re talking about a substantial number of digits like last year, then I’m a no, “Hoffmann said.
Hermansen provided details on April 6, noting that although the district has a reserve fund for such expenses, the borough does not have one and must “pay as you go.”
He said the artificial turf for the fields would likely be done first, followed by lighting and improvements to various recreational facilities.
He also noted that if the board decided not to go ahead with its share of the grant through a shared services agreement with the district, the school board could still complete its part of the project.
âIt’s something that everyone would get something from and a lot of people would be very jealous of the facilities you will have there,â Hermansen said.
He added that it would take “a considerable amount of time” for the borough grant writer to assemble the open space grant, and that more “hard numbers” would be available for council review before any final submission. subsidy. This would include the supplier’s estimates for the work required to complete the improvements.
Hoffman said it surprised him that the school board has such a large reserve of capital and wondered why they didn’t want to keep it in case of an emergency, such as expenses not covered by insurance.
Hermansen told Hoffman that submitting a letter of intent or a grant does not bind the borough in any way. He said that if the project is not funded by a matching grant from the borough, the awarded grant funds must be returned to the county.
However, the school board could still pursue its share of park improvements.