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Verona Park Boathouse To Get Major Makeover
Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. said today that the county starts work Wednesday on a complete renovation of the central part of the Verona Park boathouse.
French doors will be installed on both sides of the building, opening onto the existing lakeside deck and, on the park side of the building, onto a new patio seating area. The county will install new windows, walls and flooring, as well as air conditioning. There will also be new furniture inside and out, a big-screen TV and energy-efficient LED lighting throughout.
The $433,310 project (paid for from the county’s budget) is supposed to be completed in 60 days. While the new boathouse will look contemporary, the project’s architect said today that it will reproduce and reinstall the building’s original Arts & Crafts design trim and put a gas-fired fireplace in the existing stone mantel. The work will allow the building to be used year-round; it has largely been closed in winter except on days when there was skating on the lake.
The Verona Park Conservancy, a volunteer group that works with Essex County to maintain the park, applauded the project. “One of the reasons I’m happy to be here today,” said VPC President Jim McGregor, “is that I will no longer have people asking me, ‘why does Verona Park not have this or that?’”
Essex County has spent several million dollars on Verona Park in recent years. In the summer of 2012, there was a $1 million project that installed all-weather decking around the boathouse and antique-style lamp posts along the walking paths. The county also worked with several Verona volunteers in 2012 to build four new bocce courts near the southern part of the lake. In 2013, the county awarded the food concession to Aramark, which gutted and renovated the boathouse kitchen.
Nick Centrone, the general manager for The Boat House Burger Shack, said that it would continue to operate during the renovations. It is open every day now from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Centrone said that new swan-shaped paddle boats should arrive on the lake in May and once the work is completed, the Burger Shack will be adding seasonal food items.
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