BLOOMINGDALE – A ceremony in preparation for nearly a decade is scheduled for Saturday at Sloan Park.
After a million dollar renovation and flood control project followed by delays related to the pandemic, city officials are expected to officially reopen Sloan Park at an event at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The event is expected to feature a dedication in honor of former mayor Jonathan Dunleavy and a presentation on the park by Tom Riley, a local historian. The burial of a time capsule originally slated to coincide with the city’s 100th anniversary in 2018.
âWe sent out invitations to all of the former mayors to actually participate in the funeral,â Acting Mayor John D’Amato said. “It should be a beautiful afternoon.”
Aside from a few one-off ceremonies and events, Sloan Park on Main Street has been primarily off-limits to the public since 2011. Flooding from the Pequannock River that runs through the property reached a crescendo that year during Hurricane Irene.
Storm and flood damage led city officials to pursue a multi-year mission to reshape the river by rebuilding its banks with caged rocks. That year, they set aside $ 600,000 for restoration and flood mitigation to restore the park and protect the downstream commercial district. With the park essentially existing as an artificial island in the middle of the river, there is still a risk of flooding there, Dunleavy told The Record in 2017.
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New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection officials approved the project in 2016, after five years of negotiations. The finishing touches, such as fencing, sod and sidewalks, began to take shape in the fall of 2019. The total cost exceeded $ 990,000, according to records.
City officials initially scheduled the grand opening for May 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed those plans. The monument area of ââthe park has, however, been used for Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and 9/11 ceremonies for the past two years.
The official reopening is expected to kick off a summer of events, including the “Second Friday” concert series scheduled for July 9, August 13 and September 10. Supported by Dunleavy, who passed away in November 2020, the series will commemorate the park original. summer concert series in 1909.
That summer, the Bloomingdale Cornet Band performed every Friday at a bandstand that former landowner Fred Sloan built on the site. Concerts continued there every summer until the bandstand was destroyed by a 1968 flood, according to county historical society records.
David Zimmer is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.