Francis Avenue Park (and ballfields) is a big part of the plans for the City of Woodbury in upgrading several town parks and sports facilities.
The city will be requesting funding through the State of New Jersey Green Acres program.
On Tuesday February 21st 2023 at 6:30 PM (tonight) the public is encouraged to attend a public hearing to learn more about the proposal, ask questions, as well as provide comments on the plan.
This public hearing appears to have been timed to take place as part of the regularly scheduled Council Meeting. (PDF agenda). The City’s Frances Ave project information is here, and it links to the supplemental documents.
Woodbury’s website identifies the following parks as those they are looking to improve, but the public notice and documents provided at the website are focused on the Francis Avenue Little League Ballpark fields:
- Hester’s Branch & Rotary Park at South Evergreen Avenue and Glassboro Avenue
- Rotary Park at East Barber Avenue and South Evergreen Avenue
- Francis Avenue Fields located at 425 Francis Avenue, off of West Redbank Avenue
- David A. Laverty Sr. Sports Complex – Stewart Park, located at 235 East Red Bank Avenue
- Stewart Lake, located between East Red Bank Avenue and North Evergreen Avenue
Francis Avenue Fields
The large Frances Avenue baseball field park features 8 baseball diamonds, two practice soccer fields, a basketball court, playground facilities and support buildings including concessions and storage.
The baseball fields and park are located behind Woodbury High School but on the other side of Woodbury Creek. Main car access is from Francis Ave (which is of Red Bank Ave.)
The Woodbury Creek separates the High School from the park and fields, but a really cool pedestrian bridge crosses over the Creek to connect the two properties.
On the High School side there are several memorials in place as well as picnic tables.
The bridge crosses over the creek from the memorials to the ballfields. On the ballfield side there is a also a paved pedestrian path which follows along the Creek.
While this is a City of Woodbury park, it is technically within West Deptford. With that being said, the upgrade projects for the Frances Ave Park are being handled by Woodbury.
Francis Avenue Ballfields Improvements
From the City of Woodbury prepared environmental impact assessment, the Frances Avenue Fields project is described as follows:
The purpose of this project is to revitalize the 6 baseball/softball fields and accessory buildings at the park to create a better experience for families and teams that visit or play games as part of the baseball/softball little league.
With the proposed improvements to Field #1 and #2, the WLL plans to host tournaments for other town and youth leagues throughout the region.
In summary the ball field improvements are listed as:
- adding two concrete block dugouts, installing new sheet metal roofs on other dugouts
- replacing 2 electronic scoreboards, replacing wood bleachers
- installing foul ball nets near the boundaries of the park.
- Three new fenced-in bullpens are also proposed at the north end of the project site.
- In addition, new flood lights will be installed around fields 1 and 2 to allow for evening ball games.
- All of the ballfields’ grass and dirt areas will be repaired and re-dressed by a turf management contractor that previously evaluated each field.
Building upgrades include:
- Renovations will also be done to the existing concession/restroom building, including façade repairs and replacing all of the fixtures in the restrooms.
- A storage building exists on the west boundary of the project site. It is currently being used as a storage facility for Woodbury Public Works. The building will be cleared out, cleaned and renovated to repurpose the building for sole use by the Woodbury Little League (WLL).
- It will be used soley by the LL for storage of the mowers and other equipment to maintain the fields, dugouts, landscaping, and the concession/restroom building. All of the baseball-related equipment will be stored in cages in the building
It is expected that the work would be completed in two different contracts. One would include all of the improvements to the ball fields such as turf grass, repairs, infield and warning tractor etcetera.
A second contract would include all of the remaining construction and installation work.
INFORMATION: The public is encouraged to attend a public hearing to learn more about the proposal and to ask questions or provide comments on the proposed plan on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, at 6:30 pm.
The meeting will be held in person. Written comments on the proposed application may be directed to City Clerk Cassidy Swanson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the Subject line of “Written Comments for the State of NJ Green Acres Program Public Hearing.”