Arthur F. Ryan, former CEO of Prudential Financial Inc., and his wife, Patricia Ryan, co-chairwoman of the Branch Brook Park Alliance, made a personal gift of $1 million to the alliance for improvements at the Essex County park. The grant was announced yesterday and will be used for continued renovations to the 359-acre park, located in Newark and Belleville.
The gift drew praise from Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, who said $25 million has been poured into improving the park over the last six years. He added, “Art is a very generous person … and what he has done for Newark as a whole has been unbelievable.”
Some of the items the money may be used for include finishing the design for incoming cherry blossom trees that are to be planted in the park; creating an arbor walkway, and designing and paving a crescent area near the Park Avenue Bridge to improve foot and car traffic. In addition, Coleman said there are plans to create a paved walkway that would lead people to the recently renovated Octagon.