The new Cypress Park Recreation Complex in Woodbridge includes a state-of-the-art Level Playing Field and fully-accessible sport and playground facilities specially designed for challenged and handicapped children and young adults of all ages and abilities.
Mayor John E. McCormac, along with members of the Woodbridge Township Special Needs Community, celebrated the grand opening of the complex, located at the Cypress Center in Port Reading, on Aug. 13.
The Cypress Park Recreation Complex was funded through a $1.5 million Recreational Facilities Special Needs Improvement grant from the State of New Jersey.
“We truly appreciate the consideration and funding assistance received from the State of New Jersey’s Recreational Facilities Special Needs Improvement program that allowed the Township to move forward with the construction of the Cypress Park Recreation Complex and Level Playing Field,” McCormac said, according to a statement released by the township. “I would like to thank Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, State Senator Joseph Vitale and Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez for their leadership in securing the funding for this innovative and unique project which will provide recreational and vocational facilities to the Woodbridge Township special needs population as well as for organized youth sports and athletics.”
According to McCormac, the Cypress Park Recreation Complex and Level Playing Field offers fully-accessible facilities that provide handicapped and challenged residents of all ages, skills and experience with many and varied sport and play events. The Level Playing Field accommodates youth-sized baseball, softball and soccer, plus a walking/running track around the entire complex affords special needs residents the opportunity to enjoy the mental and physical benefits of sports participation. Additionally, the custom-designed field and facilities include wheelchair access ramps and equipment that is fully compliant with federal, state, county and municipal ADA and safety standards. Additional sport amenities include volleyball and pickleball courts with high efficiency LED field lighting for nighttime play.
“The state Grants-In-Aid program provides funding for projects that have wide-ranging benefits to the community. In this case, the $1.5 million in state aid allowed Woodbridge Township to move forward with construction of special needs facilities that will benefit not only Woodbridge Township residents, but everyone visiting the Our House and R.I.S.E. programs housed at the Cypress Center,” Coughlin said in the statement.
Our House, Inc., a private, non-profit organization that provides innovative vocational training, employment and recreational services to adult individuals with developmental disabilities, opened their Day Program and Training Facility at the newly remodeled Cypress Center in January 2018. Our House programs and facilities offer an environment that supports career development through vocational exploration, community integration and interpersonal skill development. As part of the Cypress Center’s commitment to the Our House program and to the R.I.S.E. (Reaching Individual Student Excellence) students and young adults engaged in staffing the Mayor Mac Café, a fully-outfitted, ADA accessible temperature regulated greenhouse was constructed on-site, according to the statement.
The greenhouse project, sponsored in part by Columbia Bank, adds another opportunity for the Our House and R.I.S.E. students and program participants to enrich their lives while learning valuable vocational and life skills. Individuals who participate in the greenhouse project will learn about the life cycles of plants, feel the responsibility of caring for something and experience the satisfaction of growing, eating and sharing healthy foods from seed-to-harvest, according to the statement. The fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs organically grown in the greenhouse will be menu items at Mayor Mac Café and/or donated to the We Feed Woodbridge food bank initiative.
Joining McCormac to participate in the ceremonies were Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez; Woodbridge Municipal Council President Lizbeth DeJesus; Council Vice President Brian Small; Councilmen Cory Spillar and Gregg Ficarra; former Councilman James Carroll, liaison to the Buddy Ball Program and special needs community; Michele DelCorsano, president and CEO, Our House; Marissa Torrone, Our House program director at the Cypress Center; Woodbridge School Superintendent Dr. Robert Zega; Julie Bair, School District R.I.S.E. Program; Caroline Ehrlich, chief of staff, Office of the Mayor; Vito Cimilluca, business administrator; John Mitch, municipal clerk; Brian Molnar, director, Woodbridge Township Department of Recreation; John Cook, coordinator, Cypress Center; Chris Kosty, township construction manager; and teachers, students and parents from the Our House and R.I.S.E. Programs.