Demarest Borough Council Approves Grant for Wakelee Field Improvements

In a recent meeting of the Demarest Borough Council, an endorsement for a significant grant to upgrade Wakelee Field surfaced as the standout action point. The proceedings were held on May 10, 2023.

Mayor Bernstein and three council members – Council President Slowikowski, Councilmember Fox, and Councilmember Jiang – were present. The central topic of the evening was a proposal for a $287,500 grant application to the 2023 Bergen County Trust Fund Municipal Parks Program. The funds are targeted to improve the surface and overall recreational functionality of Wakelee Field, a community focal point.

The meeting opened the floor to public comments, primarily focusing on the grant application. Local resident Adam Collins voiced his enthusiasm for the initiative, noting its potential benefit to the local softball program. Another resident, Jean Nonenamacher, sought clarification on the project’s budget and potential inclusion of drainage improvements. Borough Engineer Nick Chelius confirmed drainage provisions were part of the plan.

Mayor Bernstein explained the budgetary aspects of the proposal, highlighting that the council was seeking county grant support while also earmarking Municipal Open Space funds to fulfill the borough’s financial commitment.

After public discussions concluded, the council moved to approve the resolution of endorsement for the Open Space grant application. The motion, brought forward by Council President Slowikowski and seconded by Councilmember Jiang, passed unanimously among present members.

In other matters raised during the session, Ms. Nonenamacher called for inspection of the culvert behind 95 County Rd and Brook Way for possible debris. Julie Falkenstern, the Borough Administrator, agreed to conduct the requested inspection in conjunction with the Department of Public Works and the Borough Engineer.

Mary Ann Clark, the Borough Historian, also took the opportunity to raise issues related to the borough’s historic society, including a question about an old bell and access to the archive room at the train station. Mayor Bernstein committed to investigating her concerns.

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