Brockport Parks Committee is busy with several projects

By on October 31, 2016
Village Board and Parks Committee members, College at Brockport students, families and neighbors join together for the park’s ribbon cutting. Provided photo

Village Board and Parks Committee members, College at Brockport students, families and neighbors join together for the park’s ribbon cutting. Provided photo

A ribbon-cutting was held Sunday, October 23 at the new playground in the South Avenue Park in Brockport and Village Parks Committee Chair Hanny Heyen says the playground is just one of several projects the committee is currently working on to improve the village’s nine parks.

Brockport Mayor Margay Blackman, trustees, members of the village Parks Committee, residents and College at Brockport students attended the ribbon-cutting.  “It meant a great deal to have everyone in attendance,” Heyen said.

She said the new playground, which sits in the southeast corner of the park is for, “children of all abilities.  It’s just so alive down there now,” she observed.  “There are boys on the green-space playing football and rugby.”

Village Trustee John LaPierre, who serves as a Village Board liaison to the Parks Committee, says the location of the playground is significant as that part of the village did not have a spot for children to play. “It’s important to have the playground equipment,” he notes. “It promotes good healthy activity.”

The playground currently has four pieces of equipment and Heyen says the Parks Committee would like to add more eventually, including pieces specifically for toddlers.

The giant copper beech tree at South Ave. Park in the Village of Brockport stands sentinel over the new playground. K. Gabalski photo

The giant copper beech tree at South Ave. Park in the Village of Brockport stands sentinel over the new playground. K. Gabalski photo

The nine volunteer members of the Parks Committee each take one of the village parks under their wings, Heyen and LaPierre said. The parks are inspected twice each year, but in an effort to maintain equipment and ensure new safety regulations are met, the Village Board recently approved spending $2,400 to have the playgrounds audited by a certified inspector from Parkitects.

Each piece of equipment has its own criteria and the audit will look at all equipment to ensure it meets regulations and report back to the village. “We want to make sure parents can go to the playgrounds with confidence that their children will not get hurt,” Trustee LaPierre said.

Heyen noted the audit reflects the Parks Committee’s desire to, “have safe, up-to-date equipment.”

The cost of improvements and maintenance is always considered, Heyen explained. “We are always mindful of the village budget and the tax rate,” Heyen said of the expense of various projects.

Other recent park improvements include a new fence at Corbett Park and Pickleball courts at the Barry Street Park.

The Parks Committee seeks support from civic and community organizations (the Stetson Club donated a glider swing at Corbett Park, for example), and volunteer help from college students and residents to help maintain parks in a cost effective way.  Heyen said she recently spoke to members of BISCO, informing them of current projects and the need to replace swing sets in six of the nine village parks.

“BISCO agreed to donate for a new swing set at the Corbett Park playground,” Heyen said.

The village is also applying for a $206,000 State Parks and Recreation grant for upgrades at Corbett Park. Heyen said that figure includes $51,582 (25 percent) in in-kind services. In addition to the swings, the park is in need of new paths, grills and tables. Pond dredging will be part of the in-kind portion of the project. Heyen noted the structures and play equipment in Corbett Park – the largest park in the village – are now 30 years old.

David James (DJ) Guptill on the new boogie board. Provided photo

David James (DJ) Guptill on the new boogie board. Provided photo

The Parks Committee is also working with Norm Frisch to develop a brochure about the village parks, which will be available at places such as the Welcome Center.  To complement the brochure, new signage for the parks will be made by students at BOCES 2 in Spencerport.

The Village Board also recently approved a village Park Law, which will be added to the Village Code.

“It’s an exciting time,” Heyen said. “We are grateful for the support of the Village Board and our liaisons John LaPierre and Annie Crane. We have the support of the entire Board.”

She also explained that the Village Department of Public Works headed up by Superintendent Harry Donahue, works with the Parks Committee on maintenance at all the parks.  “They squeeze in our needs with everything else,” Heyen said. “The DPW maintains and mows all nine parks.  They are heavily involved and we couldn’t do it without them.”

“We are indebted to the Parks Committee and to Hanny and Linda (Ketchum, committee vice-chair) for the tremendous amount of work they do,” Trustee LaPierre said. “It’s a full time job taking care of the parks, and they make sure it is done with loving care. They put love behind everything they do. We would not be able to afford to pay for that kind of care.”

“It goes both ways,” Heyen said of the relationship between the Board and the Parks Committee. “This is the most cohesive Village Board I have ever seen.”

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