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Essex County Announces Improvements to Little League, Softball Fields

Essex County

“ By: Yuritza Arroyo

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that a project to update the Little League/softball fields in Essex County Brookdale Park in Bloomfield/Montclair with synthetic grass playing surfaces on the infields has been completed.

According to officials, the upgrades will enhance usage of the fields and reduce maintenance, especially after rainy weather. The improvements are part of the County Executive’s ongoing initiative to revitalize Essex County Parks System and ensure recreation facilities meet the changing demands of the community.

“High school athletic programs and municipal recreation programs rely on our fields and parks facilities to hold their practices and play games. Updating these four fields with synthetic playing surfaces on the infields will maximize use of the facilities and enable the field to be more quickly after a rainstorm,” DiVincenzo said.

“Our fields are where young athletes learn to play the game but also how important sportsmanship is. We want to make sure our fields can meet those needs,” he added.

“These are impressive improvements that make these fields more accessible after inclement weather,” Commissioner Pat Sebold said. Commissioner Brendan Gill also attended the ribbon cutting to show his support for the project.

“We are definitely excited about these absolutely beautiful field improvements,” Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia said.

“These types of improvements take vision and resources. The conservancy thanks the County Executive for making these fantastic upgrades possible,” said Donald McLoughlin, President of the Brookdale Park Conservancy.

“This is another example of the great job the county is doing to update recreation facilities,” Essex County Administrator and former Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson said.


The dirt infields on four Little League/softball fields were upgraded with synthetic playing surfaces. The outfields of the four fields were sodded with natural grass. A new drainage system was installed at each of the four fields.

The improvements address flooding in the area and will enable the fields to be used quickly after rainy weather. In addition to “the field improvements, new sports lighting was installed on the soccer field.

French and Parrello from Wall was awarded a professional services contract for $157,450 to design the field improvements. The LandTek Group from Bay Shore, N.Y., was awarded a publicly bid contract for $3,590,725 to perform the construction work.

The Department of Public Works monitored the project to ensure delays were avoided. The improvements were funded with grants from the the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund Advisory Board and the American Rescue Plan Act. Work started in November and was completed in six months.

DiVincenzo’s administration has completed several improvement projects in Brookdale Park as part of a comprehensive initiative to revitalize the Essex County Park System. 

The synthetic grass field and rubberized running track in the Oval were completed in May 2004 and was updated with new grass and rubberized surfaces in 2014. In 2006, the meadow underwent an extensive $1.15 million renovation that included the installation of new drainage and irrigation systems, the planting of sod on the entire meadow surface and the modernization of the baseball/softball field in the northern section of the meadow.

The development of the Brookdale Dog Park and the reconstruction of the 11-court tennis facility were completed in November 2007. In 2009, the Circuit Drive, the parking lots and the walking paths throughout the park were repaved. In 2014, a three-phase project to install 148 light poles at the park entranceways and around the walking paths and an 18-station fitness course were completed.

In 2015, the playground was updated with new climbing apparatus and a rubberized safety surface. In 2018, the welcome center received a comprehensive upgrade and in 2019 the tennis court complex was resurfaced and the county’s first pickleball courts were created.

In 2022, a permanent bandstand/open air pavilion to be used as a stage for the Essex County Summer Concert Series was built.

These projects were funded with grants from the NJ Green Acres program and the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund. DiVincenzo has established partnerships with the Montclair United Soccer and the Brookdale Park Conservancy to obtain the grant funding.