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The Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy has worked diligently with the Essex County Park System since 2001 to improve the conditions of Grover Cleveland Park. Our initial concern was safety. With this in mind, the existing playground, which did not meet today’s safety standards, was replaced in 2003. In 2004, the tennis courts and Children’s House, next to the playground, were refurbished. New benches, trash receptacles, and light stanchions were installed throughout the park. In 2006, the Pond House was renovated and the upper ball field was upgraded to include team and spectator benches and wing fences to protect spectators from foul balls. In 2006, 100 dead and dangerous trees were pruned or removed. In 2011, the brook bed, wall, weir, and dam were repaired. Fourteen trees were planted through the park and general maintenance and repair are kept in check.
Our current projects include concentrating on maintaining the existing landscape, buildings, and grounds. The GCPC is working to incorporate more of the original landscape plans envisioned by the Frederick Law Olmsted Firm although some modifications will be made as many species chosen by Olmsted are not deer-resistant or are even now considered “invasive.” Olmsted strove to create interest in his parks by introducing a variety of plants and shrubs, and ornamental and hard-wood trees. It is the GCPC’s goal to follow the original planting plan as a guide while adjusting it for the landscape challenges faced in the present.
Specific goals include:
- Enhance entrances with new species of trees and shrubs
- Remove invasive species throughout park
- Replace lost trees
- Maintain trees (remove & prune as necessary)
- Clean up pond
- Bring back children’s programs
- Art gallery in 1 or both buildings
- Restore bridges
- Implement Olmsted planting plan
- Movies in the park under the stars