- by Carolyne Volpe Curley / Carolyne@WestEssexNOW.com
Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex
Named after South Mountain Reservation, the complex is home to:
- Clipper Picnic Pavilion and Paddle Boat Dock
- Richard J. Codey Arena
- McLoone’s Boathouse Restaurant
- miniGOLF Safari
- Orange Reservoir 1.7-mile Walkway
- Treetop Adventure Course
- Turtle Back Zoo
When the number of visitors at the complex soars, cars are directed to park in nearby business parking lots, on the grass archery field off of Cherry Lane in South Mountain Reservation and on local streets around the zoo. The county administration believes that, as the attractions in the Recreation Complex have become more popular, available parking has become insufficient.
The complex currently includes:
- Turtle Back Zoo Lot
about 400 spaces
- Park N Ride facility Lot
- miniGOLF Safari and McLoone’s Boathouse Restaurant Lot
about 300 spaces
- Clipper Picnic Pavilion and Paddle Boats (Oakdale Lot across the street)
With work already started on the parking facility's foundation, a ceremonial groundbreaking with the county executive was held on Tuesday, July 22. He was joined for the occasion by visiting government officials and county employees including New Jersey Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver, Essex County Deputy Chief of Staff William Payne, Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund Advisory Board President Lori Tanner, Essex County Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold and Leonard Luciano and West Orange Councilman Jerry Guarino. In addition, Lorrie Sciabarasi and Greg Comito from Greg Comito and Associates, the facility design team, and Donald Dinallo from Terminal Construction Corporation, the builders, were also present for the occasion.
“Our programs are expanding rapidly,” Spencer said.
"We had one education building and last week we opened our second.
We had one parking deck and today we are starting to build our second. The parking facility is definitely needed."
“With Turtle Back Zoo as our anchor and new attractions
like the paddle boating and 1.7-mile walking path at the Orange Reservoir,
our Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex has become
a regional destination for people seeking leisure,
recreation and educational activities,” DiVincenzo said.
- Turtle Back Zoo
all-time record 621,828 visitors
322,938 as of July 7
- Codey Arena
400,000 in attendance
- Mini-Golf Safari
14,155 as of July 7
- Paddle boating on the Orange Reservoir
5,113 since its recent opening
“It’s a great feeling to see all the people who come here.
I am truly amazed at what has happened here because of the vision of Joe DiVincenzo,” Sheriff Armando Fontoura said.
“For the next several months while construction is occurring it will be a challenge, but our officers are up to the challenge. It’s worth it."
The Essex County Department of Public Works will monitor the project and answer questions to ensure delays are avoided. The combined costs come to $12,030,000 which will be funded through the Essex County Capital Budget. It is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2015.
"Building this parking structure is a massive undertaking
that will create disruptions and worsen a parking situation that is already bad. We ask for the public’s understanding and patience
while we work to improve our parking accommodations,”
the county executive said.
County Executive: Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.
465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Newark, NJ 07102