Essex County has installed a new synthetic grass playing surface on the Essex County Glenfield Park softball field.

County officials formally unveiled and announced the addition before a high school softball game between Glen Ridge High School and Columbia High School Wednesday.

"The new surface provides young ballplayers with up-to-date conditions on which to play and maximizes usage of the field. The upgrades are part of the county’s ongoing initiative to revitalize the historic parks system to ensure it meets the needs of residents," the county said in an announcement of the upgrade.

“We are always updating our parks and recreation facilities to make sure our youth and other visitors have the most up-to-date field on which to play. These fields provide our youth with positive activities where they get exercise, build social skills and learn sportsmanship,” Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. said.

Commissioner Vice President Carlos Pomares called the work "another example of what we can accomplish for our communities," the county said in the announcement. Commissioner Brendan Gill, a Montclair resident, said it was "another great project by the County Executive that athletes from around the county will be able to enjoy,."

On hand for the announcement was Montclair Councilman Bob Russo, who referred to the addition as one that "shows what we can accomplish for our residents when we work together."

The softball field was first updated with a synthetic grass playing surface in 2009. After 13 years, the synthetic grass surface needed to be replaced due to regular wear and tear, the county said. Lighting at the field was upgraded with LED lights, which are brighter and more energy efficient. The scoreboard also will be replaced. The scoreboard has been delayed because of supply chain issues, the county said.

The improvements were designed in-house by the Essex County Department of Public Works. Landtek Group from Bay Shore, N.Y., was awarded a publicly-bid contract for $648,660 to perform the construction work. The improvements were funded with a grant from the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund. The project took about four months to complete.

County officials are considering creating a new 10,000 square foot community building to replace the current Wally choice Community Center at the Park. The new building would continue with the Wally Choice name, honoring the veteran, an NBA basketball player and Harlem Globetrotter, and the founder of Montclair Grassroots.