3/14/2022 - $2.5 Million Federal Grant Approved for Chambres Park Restoration

The Borough of Somerville has received approval for a $2,541,600 federal grant to improve Arthur Chambres Park, on Southside Avenue. Project plans include a grass baseball/softball field, a grass soccer field, picnic area, and basketball court.

“This is tremendous news for Somerville,” said Mayor Dennis Sullivan. “With family budgets tight and the cost of living rising quickly, our residents need clean and safe recreational opportunities close to home.”

The Borough previously received a $143,000 grant from the state’s Green Acres Trust Program for park improvements, according to the mayor. Community meetings for the design phase were completed back in July 2017. Now that this additional funding has been secured, the borough can move forward with contracting and bid specifications, he said.

The park is currently overgrown with grass and has 1 asphalt basketball court, according to Kevin Sluka, borough administrator. “It requires a significant amount of work, as the borough has not used it for any organized recreational events for well over two decades.” At one time, the park included a pavilion and pool, Sluka said. “However, the land was flood prone throughout the spring months and recreational uses were eventually abandoned.”

The regional sewerage authority recently improved the pump station adjacent to the fields to redirect storm water and minimize flooding in the area, Sluka added. “Since the park is in a low-lying area, the proposed design is largely grass with very minimal impervious coverage.”

The project is one of ten community project funding requests submitted to the House of Representatives by Representative Tom Malinowski, of the 7th Congressional District. Nearly $9 million in federal funding was approved for the 10 projects, according to a press release provided by Rep. Malinowski. President Biden is expected to sign the legislation next week.

“Congressman Malinowski visited Somerville last year and we discussed the community’s needs. I took him on a tour of Chambres Park and told him that we had a ‘shovel-ready’ project design already prepared. He included Somerville in his budget requests,” explained the mayor.

“Somerville is fortunate to have a strong advocate like Tom Malinowski representing us in Washington,” the mayor added. “The hardworking people of New Jersey send a lot of tax dollars to DC, but don’t always get a fair return. The projects that will be funded in 2022 will strengthen communities and improve people’s lives for years to come. I look forward to inviting the Congressman back for a ribbon cutting and a picnic!”

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