Government Maplewood

Report: After Years of Neglect, Maplewood’s Parks are Shabby, Some ‘Dangerous’

Maplewood’s municipal parks have been suffering from neglect and are in need of serious maintenance, according to a report.

From basketball and tennis courts to fields and park grounds — especially in Memorial Park and Walter Park — the spaces are in poor condition, said Jim Lackey, chair of the Recreation Advisory Committee.

Lackey gave a presentation at the last Township Committee meeting, and showed images of park structures in disrepair for months, trees which had only been partially removed or poorly planted, and fields/courts in poor condition. Several of these courts, he said, are used for children’s sports. Some basketball courts, for example, need new nets and fence repairs.

See the full report here.

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The tennis courts in Memorial Park also suffer from cracks and water damage issues, even though they were recently redone. Fields could also benefit from aeration, as grass is sparse in many areas, and there are large holes in the ground which need filling. In fact, many of the needed ground repairs have gone unaddressed for months or years, Lackey said.

The presentation showed photos of park structures in disrepair, poorly planted trees, and spaces which need ground repair. Lackey pointed out that even the trucks that repair larger ground issues leave behind damaged grounds, which require further maintenance. All in all, he asserted that the park grounds are dangerous in their current state.

The committee asked that parks be regularly maintained and assessed, and that repairs be done on a timely basis. The community’s parks have been neglected, but luckily, the RAC believes the issue can be solved internally by the town. Though the changes cannot happen overnight, they are feasible.

Lackey said that the issue not due to lack of resources, money, or manpower. Rather, “it’s a matter of prioritizing,” organization, and desire to actually solve the problem. He finished by asserting that Maplewood’s parks are a great asset, and “we need to treat them like they are.”

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