BALLSTON SPA- Numerous local organizations and residents came together Saturday to build a new playground set in Ballston Spa.
Ballston Spa resident Ray Otten is a member of the parks commission and is the executive director of Community Emergency Corps. While at a park meeting in Kelley Park he noticed the playset near the pavilion he was in did not look right. He said the old play equipment for the younger kids not very stable.
“I’ve got seven-year-old grandkids, and I said Jesus I wouldn’t put my kids on there,” Otten said. “So the next day I got in touch with DPW and they took it down. Its was a safety issue, it could be a liability and someone was going to get hurt.”
The next Community Emergency Corps board meeting Otten talked about the playground situation.
“I said ‘I’ve got an idea,’ we has just had a couple of our members or member’s family pass away, what would your thoughts be on donating a new playset for the kids,?” Otten said. “And put it in memory of those two people. And they said that’s a great idea. We had a decent amount of money in our contributions and a lot of the contributions that had come in in honor of these two people.”
Otten went to the village about donating a new play set to the park at no cost to the village. He said the village approved of the idea.
The playground set had to meet certain standards to be able to be allowed in the park by the village’s insurance Otten said. He explained the first playset he proposed to the village would not be able to be put in the park because the swings were too close together.
“We had set aside $5,000 to do this,” Otten said. “But as it turned out I ended up spending over $10,000 for the unit. So I went to other community members and I’m also a Rotarian here in the village and I said look we need some help with this.”
As a member Otten got in touch with the Ballston Spa Rotary. He said he has friends in the Ballston Spa Lions Club to help. He then began talking with a number of local businesses who helped donate and helped build the set; P A Champagne Builders, Mangino’s Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Curtis Lumber, D.A. Collins Co., Armer’s Funeral Home, J.H. Property Services, Ballston Spa Fire Department, Ballston Spa DPW, Mark Blech, Gina Marozzi, and Pete Champagne. Otten said members of the different organizations, members of the local fire department and local residents all worked together on the project.
A number of private donors also contributed to the new parkset, one anonymous donor gave $2,000 Otten said.
“It was so so good for me to see all the people that came,” Otten said. “Every different type of business, private citizens, all different political parties and persuasions, people who normally would be beating each other over the head at a business meeting thy were there enjoying each other’s company and getting the job done because it was for kids, it was for the village”
Saturday more than 30 people came to help build and put together the new playset at the park. It took the group about four hours, Otten said. He explained he hopes the new park equipment will last the village at least 20 years.
“We are called the village of friends and this proved it to me,” Otten said. “It was just a real feel-good day. And the result is we now have a new playset for the kids and it brought the community together.”