MAPLEWOoD, NJ - A new master plan for Memorial Park was made public last night, after a year of research and input from the community and the Maplewood Historic Preservation Commission.
Virginia Kurshan, Chair of Maplewood Historic Preservation Commission, called the report "comprehensive" and said it will be “very useful to the governing body."
The recommendations include making better use of the space behind the library by opening up the area and possibly having a more interactive experience with the park. They also recommended that the area by the train station have the landscape restored to the original design of the Olmstead Brothers plan from 1922.
Other suggestions include forming a park advocacy group to help raise awareness of the park, spearhead fundraising, increase community support; and build a website. The group would work with the township and historical committee to maintain and guide the future direction of the park.
Committee member Marlon K. Brownlee said that all local parks should be represented by this group or there should be an advocacy group for each of Maplewood's parks as they are all "jewels" of the town.
To maintain the parks’ landscape design and maintenance, it was suggested that a horticulturist would be hired. The projected yearly cost would be $120,000 per year, including all budgetary expenses as well as the employee's salary.
The report was made possible, in part, from a grant from the Open Space Fund.
Next, the plan will go before Planning Board in September. After the Board reports back to the Township Committee, it will be put to a vote before it is adopted.
Memorial Park was purchased by the town in 1915. Its design was started by the Olmsted Brothers but finished by another firm in 1928, for reasons that were never made clear. The park was dedicated in 1931 as a memorial to those who served in World War I.