HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ – At the recent board meeting Commissioner Director Zach Rich, recognized the 50th Anniversary of the Hunterdon County Park System and announced the approval of the debt-free capital funding for repairs and renovation to the Arboretum and Parks Headquarters.
The first county park was established when the Arboretum was sold to the county in 1974, and the building became the Parks Headquarters in 1977 following an initial renovation.
Today, more than 9,000 acres of land, 140 miles of trails, 2 campsites, and 3 playgrounds – including the new inclusive playground at Deer Path Park, make up the over 40 Hunterdon County Park system properties.
Commissioner Director Rich said, “As our Park System celebrates its 50th Anniversary, now is the appropriate time to make a needed investment in improving our facilities to better meet the needs of our public and staff. Over 300,000 citizens annually enjoy our parkland and associated programming offered by the Division of Parks and Recreation. Thanks to careful planning, we will be able to modernize the Arboretum with no debt issued.”
Upgrades to the Arboretum will include a 4,077 square foot addition to the existing 10,838 square foot structure, upgrades to the main entrance, greater access to public restrooms with ADA compliant upgrades, configuration of office and conference space to meet current code requirements, replacement of outdated mechanical and electrical systems, and the addition of quality storage space. A full-scale rendering of the project will be available in the near future.
In addition to upgrading the Arboretum, the Board also approved funding for the needed repairs to the dam and pond at Deer Path Park, to include a new outfall and road crossing at the site, along with the dredging of the pond to provide a successful and healthy habitat for future generations to enjoy.
Proposed construction will begin following the acceptance of the lowest responsible bidder, with a planned completion date of July 2024.
These new upgrades come on top of the ADA all-inclusive playground at Deer Path Park, that was completed in June of this year. Upgrades to the playground included ADA compatible equipment and new playground structures that are designed to be enjoyed by children of all abilities.