BELVIDERE, NJ (Warren County) – Garret D. Wall Park, located in the heart of Belvidere across from the Warren County Courthouse, will see the benefits of a long-awaited improvement project including new sidewalks compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and streets lamps that match the Victorian-era neighborhood while enhancing safety.
Engineer Paul Sterbenz of Maser Consulting P.A. presented plans for the project to the Warren County Board of County Commissioners, which is looking to upgrade the County’s first – and for many years, only – county park as Warren approaches its bicentennial.
“I am so proud to announce this project in our County seat. Belvidere is a historic and beautiful community and Garret Wall Park is a key part of these attributes,” Commissioner Director James R. Kern III said.
The land for the Courthouse and a four-acre “town square” in front of it was donated by Garret D. Wall, a wealthy landowner, attorney, judge and general who later served as a U.S. Senator from New Jersey. He stated the park was “always to be kept and continued open as a public square, walk, promenade for the free common and uninterrupted use of the county of Warren forever.”
An 1824 act of the New Jersey Legislature allowed Warren to separate from Sussex County, and Belvidere was chosen as the county seat in 1825, in a large part due to Wall’s donation of the land for the courthouse and park.
Belvidere Mayor Joseph Kennedy said, “I can’t thank you guys enough, this is terrific.” The Belvidere Historic Preservation Commission and New Jersey’s Historic Preservation Office have already approved the plans.
“Mayor Kennedy and I have discussed these improvements for years and finally we can bring them to fruition. These new sidewalks and lighting in connection with our courthouse improvements will add to Belvidere’s charm,” Kern said.
“Garret Wall Park is the heart of our county seat. Many groups use it as a gathering place for county-wide events including our veterans and law enforcement groups. It is the face that people see when they visit our county seat. Making the park as beautiful as we can benefits all of Warren County,” Commissioner Jason J. Sarnoski said.
“Warren County has the most picturesque county seat in all of New Jersey. Garret Wall Park is a major aspect of Belvidere’s charm and this project will only add to its beauty,” County Commissioner Lori Ciesla said. “People come from all over to enjoy all our county has to offer, and these enhancements will be appreciated by many in the years to come,” she added.
County Administrator Alex Lazorisak estimated the project would cost about $500,000 with funding coming from the county’s Municipal and Charitable Conservancy Trust Fund, a dedicated tax collected to finance farmland and historic preservation and recreation projects.
“It will be completed by this fall with a goal of wrapping it up before Belvidere’s annual Victorian Days celebration. In addition, the county Public Works Department will reconstruct the park’s interior paths and add more picnic tables and seating,” Lazorisak said.
“It’s a project I’ve always wanted to do since I was hired as superintendent of Buildings and Grounds,” Lazorisak, who was hired in 2010, said.