CHESTER, NJ — With hard hats and ceremonial shovels in the ground, Chester Township and Morris County officials broke ground Monday to kick off the Black River Fields Improvement Project.
Nestled on North Road near Black River Middle School, Chester Area Pool, Telcordia Park and a section of the Patriot’s Path, Chester Township was able to qualify for an Open Space grant of 416 $250, signed by Morris County in November 2019.
The improvements project will result in upgrades to sports fields and recreation areas that the township had previously built since leasing the West Morris Regional High School District acreage for approximately 20 years.
Mayor Marcia Asdal said the Township and Borough of Chester, as well as the Township and Borough of Mendham, have used the the fields for five decades for youth sports, which would continue to be the main use of the ground.
In addition to township employees and residents, current and past members of Chester Township Council joined Asdal at the ceremony, including Councilors Tim Drag, Joe DiPaolo, Brian Curley and Mike Inganamort; and former Councilor Jacki Spinelli and Mayor Ben Spinelli.
“We are happy to have people here today who have helped us along the way,” Asdal said. “This area was the first focus for youth sports in Chester Township.”
Morris County Board of County Commissioners Director Stephen Shaw, State Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-25th. Dist., Morris County Parks Commissioner Edward McCarthy and West Morris Regional School District School Board member Don Storms were also present at the groundbreaking event.
“What a great project and what a great effort from two branches of government coming together,” Bucco added.
Shaw said that thanks to taxpayer funding, more than 17,600 acres — nearly the size of Chester Township — have been preserved in Morris County over the past two decades.
“This [funding] comes from the taxpayers of Morris County, who have overwhelmingly supported the preservation of open spaces in Morris County, and we thank them all today,” Shaw said.
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