(HACKENSACK, NJ) – County Executive James J. Tedesco, III, the Board of County Commissioners, and the County’s Parks Department are proud to announce that the County of Bergen recently received a matching $1 million grant from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and the Garden State Preservation Trust (GSPT) to construct a completely inclusive playground at Riverside County Park – South, located in the Borough of North Arlington and the Township of Lyndhurst.
Completely Inclusive Playgrounds, or Adaptive Playgrounds, allow for people of all age groups and abilities to enjoy the amenities offered by our Bergen County Parks. Features of these Completely Inclusive Playgrounds include proper safety surfaces, shading, fencing, and a quiet play area. These features will be supported by improved lighting, safer walking routes within the park, new pedestrian access points, and closer parking facilities.
“It is important to make sure that our residents of all abilities are accommodated here in Bergen County,” says Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco, III. “Our mission to create completely inclusive playgrounds in our County Parks serves as a reminder that we are committed to addressing the needs of our community, and that we will always have the people at the forefront of everything we do.”
"Every child in Bergen County deserves the opportunity to play with their friends in a safe environment that is responsive to their needs," said Bergen County Commissioner and Parks Liaison Steve Tanelli. "This grant ensures our commitment to not only construct more inclusive playgrounds across the county but also our wish to see all children, regardless of their challenges, be kids."
“The Green Acres Program is committed to creating opportunities for all members of the public to fully participate in recreation in their neighborhoods,” said Martha Sullivan Sapp, Director of Green Acres. “We established the Jake’s Law grant incentive program in 2023 to incentivize the creation of playgrounds that will be inclusive of every physical ability, and we are thrilled to partner with Bergen County on the new inclusive playground at Riverside Park.”
The project is expected to go out to bid for construction later this fall. The $1 million follows guidance outlined by Jake’s Law, which was signed in August 2018 by Governor Phil Murphy to encourage counties to construct inclusive playgrounds for children and adults with disabilities.
The addition of a Completely Inclusive Playground is part of the third phase of the ongoing Riverside County Park revitalization project. In accordance with the 2019 Bergen County Parks Master Plan, the County has invested extensively in increasing the park’s offerings and expanding recreational opportunities. Phase one and two of the Riverside County Park renaissance included the construction of a rowing center to provide unprecedented access to the Passaic River, a new amphitheater for community performances, a new restroom, paved walking paths, and more. These improvements emphasize the county’s continued commitment to the enhancement of its park system for future generations to enjoy.
The Bergen County Parks Department is dedicated to providing recreation opportunities for all, preserving open space, enhancing environmental health, and protecting significant cultural and historic sites for current and future generations.
Photo Caption: Draft renderings of Riverside County Park phase three renovations prepared by LAN Associates and MKW Associates