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Groundwork Elizabeth Receives Donation for Nature Outpost at Phil Rizzuto Park

Nestled alongside one of the busiest intersections in Union County, Phil Rizzuto Park hosts football and soccer fields, a playground, a running track, and something else that is just as significant to community health….a small tract of unspoiled land.

Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery, a Linden based refinery, has agreed to fund an outdoor pavilion and associated activities by Groundwork Elizabeth’s Green Team, which will serve as a headquarters for learning about our ecology and the need to preserve nature in our urban communities.

A $30,000 grant has been awarded to Groundwork to work with the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Union County Division of Parks and Recreation to build and staff this outpost.

A partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which has hosted Groundwork Elizabeth youth activities at its Great Swamp Preserve, will be leveraged with the Phillips 66 commitment.

USFWS has a wealth of experience in preserving and restoring the natural environment and will be working hand in hand with the County and Groundwork in the process to design and build the outpost, and associated practices which will slow erosion along the Travers Brook which intersects the park. When completed, the new facility will serve youth, adults, and seniors from Elizabeth and Union.

Nancy Sadlon, manager, Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery Public Affairs said, "Phillips 66 is proud to sponsor projects that protect and enhance the environment and add benefits to our local communities. We’re dedicated to habitat preservation and sustainability in the areas surrounding our operations.” She added, “Phillips 66 encourages us to live our company values of safety, honor, and commitment.

The Bayway Refinery is proud of our partnership with Groundwork Elizabeth and looks forward to a new relationship with the partners for the project. We hope to cut the ribbon on the project by next summer.”

“The County of Union is proud to partner with Groundwork and Phillips 66 to promote environmental education in one of the state’s most populated regions,” said Freeholder Chairman. “Rizzuto Park is a wonderful County asset that straddles a green way and waterway and is a picturesque oasis that will provide outstanding opportunities for this endeavor.”

Michael T. Horne, US Fish and Wildlife Project Leader for the Great Swamp, Wallkill River, Cherry Valley, Shawangunk Grasslands, and Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuges is eager to include urban communities in these types of shared partnerships, “The collaborative approach adopted by Groundwork, Phillips 66, FWS, Union County, the City of Elizabeth and agencies such as the NJ Department of Environmental Protection is a great example of how many different resources can be brought together to achieve great things for communities and for conservation. We are honored to be a small part of this team.”

Jonathan Phillips, Executive Director for Groundwork Elizabeth echoes Horne’s sentiment, “Phillips 66’s commitment to building at Phil Rizzuto Park demonstrates their willingness to work with the entire community to educate and improve our open spaces.”