Montgomery County funds upgrades for Canajoharie park

FILE - Wintergreen Park.

FILE - Wintergreen Park.

CANAJOHARIE Upgrades including a new pavilion and playground are slated for Wintergreen Park in the village of Canajoharie after Montgomery County approved a round of federal funding for park improvements last week.

During the Montgomery County Legislature meeting on Sept. 27, officials approved a $300,000 grant for infrastructure improvements to the village’s Wintergreen Park. The federal funding will come from the county’s allotment of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money. The county has hired the Venesky Group consulting firm to assist in identifying projects where the use of the county’s $9.4 million in ARPA funding is allowable.

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“It gave us the freedom to be able to spread the money around the county to projects that were in need of upgrades,” county Legislature Chairman Michael Pepe said on Friday. “Wintergreen Park is one of the major site attractions in the western part of our county. It’s a beautiful natural resource, but it was a little bit outdated and there are some things that needed to be done as it pertains to consumer safety and things of that nature.”

The park upgrades will include the installation of a playground, the renovation of a pair of restrooms, the establishment of cooking grills at various locations throughout the park, the outfitting of limited safety fencing along portions of the gorge trail and the installation of a pavilion at the upper entry level of the park.

The pavilion will include a fully-functional handicapped restroom and a kitchen area.

Pepe said the infrastructure work in the Canajoharie park is slated for 2023.

“It should bring the park up to a more state-of-the-art offering,” he said.

Legislator Roy Dimond said he hopes the planned park upgrades will serve as a tourist attraction for the region.

“The benefit, and this also goes for the other things we do where we partner with the other municipalities, is to help bring people to Montgomery County,” Dimond said on Friday. “The park is a real gem. There’s hiking trails there and there’s some outdoor cooking areas and there’s a small pavilion. So this money will enhance that and we feel that it will be a nice tourism thing, not only for Canajoharie but for the county as a whole.”

During the Sept. 27 meeting, the Legislature also approved $200,000 in ARPA funding to renovate a pair of rooms in the Montgomery County Annex Building. According to the county, the office rooms, which are used for civil service exams, grand jury business and countywide training sessions, are in need of new seating, tables and technology.

In August, the Legislature authorized $200,000 in ARPA funding for the village of Nelliston to convert the historic Nelliston schoolhouse into a child care center.

“There’s only two other childcare facilities in the western county and there’s limitations to how many children they can take,” Pepe said. “So obviously it’s important when you can extend the money towards a project like that which takes care of a need that’s so important to society. There are so many other ramifications if people don’t have child care. Oftentimes, they have to decide between working and not working and it can affect their personal economic situation. So when you can provide assistance for something like that, it really adds even more value. It’s designed to address critical needs in various geographies in the county.”

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