I recently had a meeting with Tom Zaleski and Joe Spadafino to talk about meadow management in Newark parks. They are doing a great job of allowing some areas to become meadows and even letting a few park areas, where appropriate, return to forest. During the meeting, I found out about an exciting new proposed park. The site of the Rodney dorm complex is slated to be sold to the City of Newark, if a referendum passes next April. If you live in the City of Newark, you will have an opportunity to vote on this referendum.
The plans included tearing down the existing Rodney dormitories. Then as early as 2019, construction will start on a new park. The park includes a large pond designed to handle significant storm water from several Newark neighborhoods with flooding problems. It will also have a fishing pier and observation deck. Wetlands will be planted along pond edges and a rain garden handles water at the northeast end of the park. Several floating wetlands are included to help with water quality. I am excited to see the floating wetlands used in a pond. I have seen them proposed on projects, but never implemented. When Gary Smith included small floating wetlands in a project at the New England Wildflower Center, a female duck took up residence on one island and comes back every year to raise a new brood—so fun for staff and visitors to watch!
The proposed park will include some lawn areas but it will also include woodlands and meadows. There are plans to naturalize bulbs in the meadow and provide a walking trail through the meadow to a natural play area with seating and small pavilions. The play area will encourage creative play. It will not be your typical playground with swings and a sliding board. There is even an outdoor classroom with amphitheater seating in another section of the park.
Parking areas will be available for cars and bikes and there are plenty of trails providing access throughout. This is just the type of resource Newark needs to get kids outdoors and allow everyone to interact with natural areas and planned garden spaces.
Most importantly, get out and vote next April, so you can have a say in the resources available to you in Newark.