A spray park is one of four big projects that could be undertaken at Gavin Park with $750,000 the Wilton Town Board recently moved into a capital projects account.
The board approved the transfer of funds from its surplus into a capital fund for the park during a recent meeting.
Projects under consideration are updating the park’s electrical system, hooking up the park’s building to the town’s water systems, building a storage facility and creating a spray park .
Town Board member Robert Pulsifer, who cast the lone vote against the transfer, questioned whether there was enough deliberation before the money was moved. He argued that talk of the potential projects hasn’t been substantial and wants to hold a hearing about how the money will be spent, if it needs to be spent at all.
Town Supervisor Art Johnson contends that all four items have been topics of discussion for months, a sentiment echoed by other board members. “It didn’t come out of the blue,” he said.
He noted that each project would still need to be approved, adding: “These are things that I think will be an asset to the park and we can afford to do it.”
The spray park, which would likely cost between $250,000 and $300,000, is envisioned as a 60 feet by 60 feet area that could hold about 100 children. It would be more elaborate than what is at the East and West side recreation areas in Saratoga Springs, with different objects spraying water. Johnson said it would be comparable to a spray park in Green Island.
Johnson said the town has had talks with a few vendors and had serious talks with one or two of them.
Pulsifer questioned whether it was the town’s job to offer this sort of attraction. “We don’t need a large thing competing with the private sector,” he said. “Something small may fit in here.”
“If I’m going to spend taxpayer money, I want it to benefit the maximum number of taxpayers. I don’t want it to benefit a small slice of people,” he added.
Johnson hopes the water system project, which will cost between $125,000 to $150,000, could be completed by the end of the year. He said the electrical upgrade, which would allow for one of the gyms to be air-conditioned, doesn’t have a firm price tag yet and is a long shot to be done by the end of the year. The $300,000 storage facility is envisioned for next year.
The spray park is last on the list, with Johnson predicting that it likely wouldn’t be open for next summer.
Town Board member Steve Streicher, the board’s liaison to the Parks and Recreation Department, was encouraged by the investment in the capital fund for the park. He would like a similar fund for the Highway Department, saying, “It’s about being prepared.”
Gavin Park has a lot going on now too, as work is about two-thirds done on a 11⁄2 walking trail around the park This winter the park will feature an outdoor ice rink for the first time.
The rink will be about 100 feet by 70 feet, near the pavilion, and will be open to the public during park hours. Setup will start around Thanksgiving and it can be used once temperatures drop to 20 degrees.
“We’re hoping to have it every year,” said Streicher, who envisions temporary lights and music in the future.
Concerning the walking path, which will include benches, he said, “We’re trying to promote more passive recreation at the park.”
Entry to the stone dust trail will be possible from almost anywhere in the park.