Recreation & Cultural Affairs

All in person meetings are cancelled, all in person events planned for the near future have been cancelled and we are advising any individuals that use our park to social distance and wear a face covering when social distance cannot be maintained.

As a reminder, the Center for Disease Control defines social distancing as it applies to COVID-19 as "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance, 
approximately 6 feet, from others when possible."

We share your disappointment, and want to thank everyone in our community for understanding what a trying time the coming weeks are going to be. We know this is a lot to process, and that you have a lot of responsibilities and concerns to deal with. Please keep in mind this is uncharted territory and there is no handbook on how to respond to these uncertain times. The health and well-being of our community is of utmost importance, and we need to work together to get through this difficult time. We are a resilient community and we will continue to work with all of our partners to safely serve the public in any way possible.

The administrative offices of the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs are now located at 298 Walton Avenue.
The mission of the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs is to enhance the quality of life in South Orange, by providing a well-rounded program of leisure time activities for community residents of all ages and interests.

 CLICK HERE for a complete listing of programs, activities and memberships and to register online.  You will need to create an account for yourself and any family members you may have. Please note that there are no charges associated for online registration. You will pay the same fee if you register in person or online. 


The anticipated renovation and reconstruction of the Baird Community Center will require significant changes in the operation of the building and the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs. The Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs has relocated their business offices to 298 Walton Avenue, South Orange, near Farrell Field and the Department of Public Works. The hours of operation are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday.  While office hours will be much more limited, customers can continue to register for most programs and activities online HERE.

The Baird Community Center will be closed for the duration of the renovation and reconstruction project, which is anticipated to take 2 years.

The closure of the Baird Community Center will also impact adjacent and related recreation facilities as follows:

  • Basketball Courts: The basketball courts adjacent to the Baird will remain accessible only until the construction begins (late fall). At that time, the courts will fall within the construction area and will be closed.
  • Platform/Paddle Tennis Courts: The platform courts will remain accessible until construction begins (late fall). Once construction begins, these courts will be removed from the 5 Mead Street location. It has been determined that they cannot be salvaged. The Village plans to include new paddle tennis courts in a future recreation project located in an alternate location.
  • Tennis Courts: The tennis courts are not expected to be impacted by the construction project.
During renovation and construction, portable toilets will be located adjacent the to the Baird parking lot and across from Floods Hill to serve the patrons of Meadowland Park. During the summer months, the bathrooms at the South Orange Pool will be accessible to park patrons in the Cameron Field area. Portable toilets will also be located near Cameron Field as needed and/or the skate house bathrooms will be accessible.

The planned improvements at the Baird will include roof replacement, repairs and restoration of the building exterior, including the replacement of the 2nd story porch, and a complete renovation of community center interior. The “new” building will include a beautiful community space and café that leads out to the porch, dance and fitness spaces, dedicated art rooms, a multi-purpose performance space and a public meeting space. The Pierro Gallery will be housed on the first level in the renovated building. Finally, there will be a two-story field house addition that will include a garage and storage on the ground level and gymnasium on the 2nd floor. 

While we regret the inconvenience this renovation will cause our residents and patrons, we are very excited about the prospect of a new and fabulous Recreation and Cultural Arts Center that will serve our community for many years into the future.

If you have any questions, please call the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs office at (973) 378-7754, ext. 2 or email

To view the most recent presentation, including preliminary architectural designs, CLICK HERE.


In the event of inclement weather or hazardous travel conditions that require the closure of fields or buildings and program cancellations:

Follow 'SOrangeRec' on Twitter to get notifications directly to your mobile device or visit us here.

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