On July 10, the Essex County Chosen Board of Freeholders will be considering a resolution to allocate $600,000 in Essex County Open Space Funds for an amphitheater at Turtle Back Zoo.
Some residents feel that the proposal constitutes an additional incursion on the park space of the South Mountain Reservation. Recent years have seen improvements and expansion of the zoo complex to include mini-golf, a restaurant and more active programming and construction of recreational facilities around the reservoir.
Millburn resident Philip Kirsch, who previously questioned a new bear exhibit at the zoo, says that the proposed amphitheater will be 500-1,000 seats.
In an email to neighbors and fellow residents, Millburn resident Judy Rosenthal wrote: “It appears that the County has no regard for preserving open space. Please join me [July 8] in voicing opposition.”
Another Essex County resident wrote, “This is out of control!”
Residents report that the proposal will be considered at an Essex County Open Space meeting at 5pm on Monday, July 8, 2019 at the Turtle Back Zoo Park and Ride Conference room. The allocation of the funds is also on the agenda for the Freeholders’ July 10 meeting (see full agenda below):
Village Green has reached out to Freeholder Patricia Sebold for additional information and will update this story when we receive response. Village Green is also working to verify that the Freeholders meeting will take place, starting at 7 p.m., at the Hall of Records, Room 506, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Newark, NJ.