Your New Great Lawn

The Great Lawn view from the bowlling alley
The Great Lawn view from the bowlling alley

Seven years of planning, completing studies, fundraising and everything else in between, we can now say the Great Lawn has been built!

There are a lot of people that should be thanked for this, including the hundreds of Oakland volunteers that have taken ownership in their park.  From cleaning the debris, to donating their time and acting as stewards for their property, none of which we could have accomplished or will accomplished without the help of so many volunteers.

There are two Oakland based companies that must be thanked, as together they provided over a hundred thousand dollars of free labor for completing the lawn. The first company is Vanderbeck Tree Experts. Tom Vanderbeck met with committee members last year and together we came up with a strategy based on the work of the borough engineers, NJDEP and the Oakland Shade Tree Commission. They cleaned and removed scrub growth located on that patch of property, while leaving borders of trees adjacent to the bowling alley, cemetery and driveway.  Last spring this work was completed in approximately 6 weeks and was all provided as donated services; fundraising effort paid for any extra needed equipment.  Tom Vanderbeck asked if they could plant a tree commemorating their efforts on the lawn, which will most likely be planted this year.

The second company we need to thank is James Construction owned by the Potash Family. As with so many projects in Oakland, the Potash Family has been there to help us. This spring they provided services to clean the organic debris left from last year’s work and smooth out the soil, without changing the terrain. Their work took roughly a week and provided us with a return of the rich soil that provided the lush lawn of the 1960s and 1970s.

The work provided by these two local companies was invaluable.  Both of them raised their hands to help and did so with a true philanthropic desire to help improve Oakland.  Once again we say Thank You Vanderbeck Tree Experts and James Construction!

This past week DPW raked the soil and spread the seeds & straw, which was paid for from the park’s fundraising efforts.  We also thank everyone who contributed monetarily whether if it was a direct donation, purchasing a Pleasureland shirt or supporting any of the fundraising efforts.

We now ask that everyone kindly not walk on the lawn so the seeds may germinate and grow. Feel free to visit the lawn, but please don’t go on it. As far as this project, the committee will turn its attention to improving the parking situation (which we have a grant to assist in funding) and purchasing the band shell (which we have complete funding).  Fundraising efforts will allow us to place picnic tables, benches and shade trees on the lawn.

Muller's Park picnic tables as they sat in the early '80s

The four big maple trees by the bowling alley are now easy to see and can be enjoyed by everyone, as are the picnic tables from the bygone Muller’s Park days.  There are six picnic tables; some usable others are artifacts with trees growing around them that add to the charm of the park and lawn.

We hear whispers that the bowling alley will be expanding refreshment services into their parking lot; so the park has not only helped the environment and the residents, it is also helping local businesses.  We are getting closer every day to completing the park’s infrastructure.  Keep following along and please keep volunteering!

~ Mike Guadagnino

Pano picture from the driveway side