A place to rest
As part of a project to revitalize the Essex County, N.J., Hall of Records Complex last year, the county constructed a Veterans Memorial Park and Armed Forces monument adjacent to the county courthouse. The 2.7 acres of open space, which is the first county park developed in Newark in more than 80 years, is the former site of a parking garage.
County officials wanted the park to be a relaxing area where people could eat lunch, have a conversation or listen to the water fountain in the center of the park. The county contracted with Millburn, N.J.-based Hatch Mott MacDonald to design the park and South Orange, N.J.-based The Shauger Group for construction and landscaping.
When parking garage demolition began in August 2008, material recycling was a priority. Before demolition, all fixtures, elevators and piping were removed, and as the brick and concrete structure was razed, steel from the reinforced concrete was extracted. The brick and concrete were pulverized and used onsite or sold to other construction sites as fill.
Park construction began in January 2009. More than 400 trees, shrubs and perennials were planted, and two small meadow areas were created. Walking paths of ornamental brick pavers meander throughout the green space. Construction and landscaping crews used a compact track loader and skid steers by Fargo, N.D.-based Bobcat Company to complete the work.
In the middle of the park is the Armed Forces monument, which includes a circular water fountain surrounded by 10 flagpoles and a granite wall. Flags of all seven branches of the military — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Army National Guard and Air Force National Guard — fly from 25-foot poles, while the New Jersey state flag and Essex County flag fly from 30-foot poles. The American flag flies from a 35-foot pole at the center of the display.
After nearly nine months of construction, a dedication ceremony was held in late September 2009 with more than 500 residents and many veterans in attendance.
Project: Essex County Veterans Memorial Park
Jurisdiction: Essex County, N.J.
Agency: Public Works Department
Companies involved: Millburn, N.J.-based Hatch Mott MacDonald; South Orange, N.J.-based The Shauger Group
Cost: $4 million
Date completed: September 2009