Posted Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
Randolph, Morris Twp., Mt. Olive, Denville, Madison Honorees
The nonprofit Morris County Park Alliance has presented its 2019 Community Recognition Awards to Morris County residents, organizations and municipalities that have done outstanding work to promote county or municipal parks and open spaces.
The Alliance supports the Morris County Park Commission to provide recreation, conservation, education, and community wellness. Award winners for 2019, announced at a recent Parks Alliance event, were:
“Congratulations to all of the award winners, whose efforts have made their communities and our entire county a great place to live,” said Morris County Freeholder Deborah Smith. “Thank you, also, to the Park Alliance for its continued support our our parks and recreation opportunities in our county.” .
Here is detailed look at each award winning effort:
Parks and Recreation Facility Award: Morris Township’s Cornine Field at Streeter Recreation Complex
The original football/sports field was built in 1993-94 over a capped municipal landfill on property donated by the Streeter family. This field was known as a “mud pit” during its years of operation. After extensive research and investigation of a possible site for the development of synthetic turf facilities, Cornine field was selected.
The redevelopment design of Cornine Field was planned to meet the needs of youth football, cheerleading, youth soccer, girls and boy’s lacrosse, and youth baseball and softball. This includes field availability for after school practices of Morris School District athletic teams. The ultimate goal of the project was to provide a weather resistant synthetic turf field complex that would provide the community’s first facility with recreational field sports lighting.
The overriding concept for the facility is to support school based and non-profit youth sports activities. Under current operating guidelines, this facility is not available for adult sports, nor is it open to for-profit organization rentals. Seasonal schedules have been brokered to give maximum practice and game time during the seasons of operation to recreational youth sports users.
Outstanding Support Organization Award: Randolph Recreation Booster Club
The Randolph Booster Club has supported recreation in Randolph for more than 25 years. It has been committed to supporting current and future programs, managing funds raised through sponsorships, merchandise sales, donations, and other activities.
Using proceeds from their events, the club provides scholarships to Randolph High School seniors who have been involved in recreation programs. Over the past five 5 years, the booster club has provided more than $18,000 in scholarships, as well as providing $60,000 in field and gym improvements.
Russ Newman, Director of Parks and Recreation, nominated the organization stating it has provided needed funding beyond what is available through the township’s municipal budget. The group’s interest in providing improved facilities, equipment and events has made programs safer and more rewarding for all involved.
Outstanding Historical/Cultural Facility Award: The Randolph Museum
The Randolph Museum is located in the Trowbidge-Brundage House, which was built around 1867 and is now surrounded by Freedom Park on Millbrook Ave in Randolph.
The Randolph Historical Society was approved to use the house as its new home for the Randolph Museum, which previously had been housed in a resort bungalow in Brundage Park. With the additional space and exhibits donated by residents, the museum was able to expand and better display its collection.
The museum, which is managed by volunteers, is open to the public on Sundays from April-October. In addition, it is open to community groups and schools by appointment. Special events are held throughout the year including an annual Peach Festival, four Randolph Reminisces programs, which are designed to share the history of Randolph, and spring and fall bus tours. Projects by local scout groups have helped to provide improvements to the gardens and grounds with benches, gates and other repairs and maintenance.
Outstanding Volunteer award: Cathie Coultas of Madison
Cathie Coultas, who spearheaded the Nature Nuts program, has been a volunteer for the Madison Recreation Department since its inception 41 years ago. Nature Nuts is a five-week summer program sponsored by the Madison Recreation Department and the Madison Parks Advisory Committee. The summer program is used to teach youngsters about nature and how important it is to be a good steward of the environment.
Nature Nuts provides an opportunity for children in grades one through six to learn about and interact with the environment in a way that’s often missing from school or athletics.
Cathie’s continued commitment to the program has ensured that Madison children have had a place to learn about and experience the outdoors every summer. With a nature related theme each week, participants further their understanding through games, crafts, presentations and fieldtrips.
Outstanding Parks and Recreation Facility Award: Gardner Field Playground in Denville
The Gardner Field Playground features a state of the art handicapped accessible playground that enhances the recreation experience for both children and parents. Its creation was achieved by removing the old playground equipment and bringing in new and exciting pieces.
The old playground, although popular, was in need of upgrading. One of the many new pieces included Pegasus, a 35 foot high giant cargo net with two giant 25-foot slides. The playground included many of the original design concepts, however, there are many unique apparatus, such as O’Tannenbaum, a spinning Christmas tree shaped apparatus, plus a a twisting net as well as basket swings.
A gazebo constructed by the Denville Rotary in 1996 was was upgraded with a Trex shingle roof, benches and new staining.
The Police Athletic League formed a committee called “Project Playground 2.0” and in a little over a year raised $250,000 needed to buy the equipment. The township contributed $100,000 through the open space trust fund. This money helped provide wood carpet, rubber safety surface, water fountains and various other amenities.
Outstanding Parks and Recreation Program: Township of Mt. Olive
The Mt. Olive Recreation Department held a Bubble-Palooza 5 K Run/Walk as a new fun event that combined bubbles and a color run. Working with a contractor from Calverton, N.Y., the department coordinated the venue, marketing, and sponsor solicitation.
More than 20 volunteers helped with registration, packet pick-up and bubble chute supervision. Sponsors supported water stops, comfort stations, a DJ, and a party area. More than 700 people participated and even more were spectators. A bubble pit was available for smaller attendees.