TSG Builds Children’s Cherry Blossom Playground
October 22, 2015
On Friday, October 16, 2015, the County of Essex held the grand opening of the Children’s Cherry Blossom Playground at Branch Brook Park in Newark, which sits adjacent to the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center that was refurbished in March 2008 by The Shauger Group (TSG). TSG, who served as general contractor and was awarded the project on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, had a timetable of 120 days to complete the project.
Brian DeCesare, Operations Project Manager, worked diligently to ensure the project was completed on time and on budget.
Designed by the Olmsted Brothers, who also designed Central Park, the famous cherry tree tradition began in 1927, after the Bamberger family donated 2,000 cherry trees. Now, almost 90 years later, Pennoni Associates has grabbed the reins, and has continued the tradition of brilliance with Branch Brook Park’s newest addition.
TSG built the playground from the ground up, which consisted of clearing the site, performing necessary earth work, such as excavating and grading, and soil erosion/sediment control. The scope of work included asphalt paving, as well as the installation of an ornamental fence, swing gates, rubberized safety surface material, trash receptacles, drinking fountains with a pet level attachment, and site furnishings.
“It’s a beautiful day to be here, especially to see another playground being built for kids,” said Donald Shauger, TSG’s Executive Vice President. “It was a pleasure working with the architect, the engineer and the County [Essex].”
The Children’s Cherry Blossom Playground consists of two separate play sets, one geared towards children between the ages of two and five, while the other is for children ages five to 12. Outside its fence borders, the playground is surrounded by benches and several drinking fountains.
One of the many unique features of the playground includes the lion and cub playground pieces, which were custom-made for the park; these symbolize the Essex County logo. There are various nature-themed pieces of equipment, including a tree house, nature discovery table, clover leaf climber, vine climber, conifer climber, and a river rock climber – the latter uses rock formations and rock-shaped handles for ascent/descent and has an additional play activity for children to learn about animals in river rock habitat. The playground also has ADA-compliant pieces to ensure access to young park-goers who have special needs.
Sylvia Esteves, Principal at Park Elementary School, mentioned that many of her students frequent Branch Brook Park, especially since it is close by. She was extremely grateful for the playground’s completion.
“We work so hard on behalf of the students, and when we see dreams that Senator Ruiz and that you [Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr.] have for our children come true in a way that’s concrete, that they’re going to enjoy for years to come, it fills my heart,” said Esteves. “I’m proud of the work that’s done, on behalf of our children.”
For more information on the Children’s Cherry Blossom Playground, please visit our initial June announcement. More images of the playground, including its progress over the past four months, can be viewed on our photos page.