SCHENECTADY -- The advisory board in charge of the city’s parks is finalizing improvements for 2017, but some of the work may not happen until the summer's end.
Rich Patierne, chairman of the city’s Recreational Advisory Commission, spoke during Monday night’s City Council meeting about the commission’s plan to replace playground equipment in Central Park and other potential projects for the year. Local schools will let out for summer in the coming days, but some upgrades likely won’t be completed until September.
The city removed nearly all the playground equipment next to the Central Park pavilion in 2016, after its insurance company deemed the slides and other equipment to be hazardous. All that remains are a few swings.
The commission opted to prioritize ordering replacement equipment before determining other park improvements this year, Patierne said. He presented the City Council with a proposal to spend roughly $120,000 on new equipment, which will be installed in the same place as the previous equipment.
With the council’s approval, Patierne said, the commission will order the equipment this week. Based on previous playground installations, he expected the new set will be in place by the end of summer, targeting a mid-September completion.
The commission has also set aside $3,000 of its $250,000 annual budget for new fencing and other improvements at the Schenectady Little League fields along Oregon Avenue, Patierne said. That work was prompted by security concerns, he said.
With about half of its budget remaining, the commission is sorting through a number of other initiatives for the year, Patierne told council members. Those include repairing the stone steps at the Central Park Rose Garden, improving the basketball court at Hillhurst Park, installing garbage and recycling containers in city parks and installing security cameras.
“We really focused a lot of our discussions on securing our investments that we’re putting into our parks,” he said.
The commission will look at those potential improvements at its next meeting, then return to the City Council with more specific recommendations for spending, Patierne said.
A couple of council members stressed that summer is underway, and some of the improvements are needed more urgently than others. For example, Councilman Ed Kosiur talked about the need for more picnic tables in Central Park, particularly for when hundreds of kids come as part of youth groups to the pool.
“It’s July; everything is starting,” Kosiur said, noting pools open next week. “I know it’s late, but I can’t reiterate enough how important that is.”