When flowers begin to bud and grass begins to change from winter brown tocrisp emerald come spring next year, Wyckoff officials could be celebrating a greening of a different sort.
The green of money.
The Wyckoff Township Committee applied last month for a $20,000 Bergen County Open Space grant to improve The Wyckoff Community Park; now the the township committee is now playing the waiting game to see if the grant will be given the thumbs-up.
As part of the grant, the municipality has promised to match the $20,000 from the county dollar-for-dollar. That means a total of $40,000 would help beautify the Wyckoff Avenue park.
But just completing the application doesn't ensure county funding — the town is up against some stiff competition.
Thirteen municipalities in Northwest Bergen County are competing to get their slice of the $217,654 pie set aside by the county Division of Open Space
Township Administrator Bob Shannon said that the grant approval process usually takes about three to four months. A meeting will take place in October or November where each town will send a representative to plead their case, he said.
The Township Committee can expect an answer by the first quarter of 2012 and, if their grant was successful, move forward with the renovations.
"We're competing with thirteen other towns, so my position is we should pursue county grants, so that Wyckoff obtains it fair share of money," said Mayor Chris DePhillips.
If the grant is approved and money awarded, the park improvements and renovations would likely begin next summer.
Some of the township's plans include purchasing and installing dog stations, (complete with waste bags and a reminder sign to pick up after pets,) leveling out uneven soccer fields and building various walkways and retaining walls.
Longtime Wyckoff resident Jackie Gaeta was busy putting flowers down at The Remembrance Memorial and Freedom Garden, inside the community park on Tuesday.
Gaeta said she thought helping people get around the park a little better could drive an increase in pedestrian traffic to the memorial as well.
“I think it’ll be nice and encourage people to come, so the victims of September 11 won’t be forgotten,” she said.
Committeeman Brian Scanlan was quick to point out that man’s best friend would also benefit from the upgrades.
“I think the grant application is a great idea because we just recently approved the walking of dogs in the community park,” said Scanlan. “It will be great to reinstall the walking path that once existed and add dog stations, to enhance and expand the park’s use to all people, even those who don’t necessarily play sports.”
Shannon also said that the town wouldn’t need to close the park to complete the renovations. There’s no guarantee that the town will receive the grant, but that doesn’t stop the local government from trying.
“Grant applications reflect our continuing commitment to improving fields and recreation in tough economic times,” said DePhillips. “Without grants, we wouldn’t be able to invest in our community.”
“I wanted to give particular credit to the head of our DPW Scott Fisher and Bob Shannon for the exceptional job they’ve done of identifying the needs within our parks, and successfully securing the grants [in the past,]” said Scanlan.
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