The Sussex Borough Council closed Brookside Park to all organized sports and gatherings, and directed the bathrooms and concession stand at the park to be closed and locked up as well.
The matter passed by a 5-1 vote at the council’s Oct. 6 meeting, with only Councilman Michael Brennan voting against it.
The borough had received a request from High Point Hawks football to use the field, which had to be rejected because of the closure.
Mayor Edward Meyer said he was concerned about the park because of the recent closure of High Point Regional High School due to COVID-19 cases. Also, he said, the combination locks on the concession stand were compromised, and the concession stand needs repairs and cannot be used.
There were also positive cases at the Lawrence School, which closed the Sussex-Wantage Regional School District until Oct. 16.
“I think the key thing is to close it for the season until we get a chance to get in there and make the needed repairs and this virus settles down,” Meyer said. “There are some hot spots, and we don’t want to create a hot spot in Sussex Borough.”
Councilman Mario Poggi called closing the park to organized sports “a commonsense decision” but wanted to make sure the park wasn’t shut down completely.
“If people want to run around and use it as a park, I have no problem with that,” he said. “It’s just organized sports that’s not a good idea.”
Mike Dillon of the High Point Hawks said he disagreed with the decision, but the season is going to happen, and the team needs to find a new place to play this season.
He did ask if he could get into the stand to pick up some of the league’s appliances that were in the stand.
He also said there was some construction equipment in the concession stand.
Sussex-Wantage Little League President Seven Kosinski said some of that stuff belonged to the league. He said drainage tanks have been sitting there for the last couple of months, and he was hoping the Department of Public Works would install that before next season in March.
The league has done some work on the lighted field, moving the backstop, and making it more in line with Little League regulations. Then they’re going to fill the area with topsoil and put in new sod.
“I think the key thing is to close it for the season until we get a chance to get in there and make the needed repairs and this virus settles down. There are some hot spots, and we don’t want to create a hot spot in Sussex Borough.” --Mayor Edward Meyer