All About the Playground in Memorial Park
Have you ever wandered around the village and seen a project underway and wondered, “When did they decide to do that?” Given all the changes in Memorial Park, we thought that it would be helpful to create an FAQ for a new project that we think the littlest constituency (and their parents) will consider the most important one – the children’s playground! We’re starting with some of the most obvious questions, but please feel free to post new questions and we’ll add to the list as we go.
Q: It’s great that the playground is being refurbished. How old is the equipment that’s being replaced and did it last as long as expected? What can be done to make the new equipment last longer?
A: The wooden structures were over 14 years old. While it can vary, the standard life expectancy of wooden equipment is about 10 to 15 years; plastic and metal structures can sometimes last a little longer. The metal climbing structure and slide was acquired 5 years ago and is not being replaced. The children’s sprinklers, adjacent to the playground at the foot of the stairs, have deteriorated and are slated for replacement in the future. One thing that can help improve the life of the equipment—and the playground itself—is regular, periodic maintenance, which hasn’t always happened. But the current Village Board has instituted a routine inspection and maintenance program, so hopefully there will be no surprise equipment failures in the future and plenty of time to prepare for replacement when required.
Q: How can the village plan for the next upgrade so we can ensure funding will be available when it’s needed?
A: Thanks to changes in the Village budget, which is no longer running a deficit, the Village Board was able to approve $20,000 in funding from a new contingency fund to immediately replace the swing set and smaller children’s teeter-totter rides, supplemented by a $5,000 donation from a very generous anonymous donor. But as there isn’t enough money in the budget to complete the planned restoration of the children’s playground, additional funds will be needed. The Parks Conservancy, in conjunction with an ad hoc playground committee, has committed to a fundraising effort to raise money to replace the removed equipment and hopefully make other improvements, including new fill material (which cushions falls) and bring the playground into compliance with both the Americans for Disabilities Act (to allow access and use by all our residents) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recommendations for public playground safety. Donations can be made by visiting the Parks Conservancy website (http://nyackpark.org/) and clicking the “donate” button at the top of the page, or by sending a check to the Nyack Parks Conservancy, PO Box 1014, Nyack NY 10960. In addition to contributions, the Parks Conservancy, the Nyack Parks Commission, and the Village Board will be looking at additional funding sources, including federal and state grants, assistance from other nearby local municipalities, and perhaps even contributions from political organizations.
Q: How will we know how the fundraising program is doing, and how the money is being spent?
A: All of us involved want to make this effort as transparent as possible. Once the various objectives beyond replacing the removed equipment are determined, we will post the objectives, the estimated cost of the improvements, and regularly update the progress of the fundraising. When money is distributed by the Conservancy to the Village for improvements, the amounts will be publicized. The Parks Commission is currently studying different playground equipment, various options for new surfacing, and even playground design. Once all this information is collected, it will be posted both on the Parks Commission and Parks Conservancy websites. We will be conducting a community outreach to discuss the plans and recommended purchases before any commitment is made. Your voice in how this money will be spent is important, and will be heard.
Q: Why is playground equipment so expensive? Will the committee be looking for the most cost-effective options?
A: Obviously, the safety of our children is the paramount concern as we refurbish the children’s playground. But we also want it to be a fun, enticing place for both parents and kids. Unfortunately, the best playground equipment is expensive to purchase. But we are also aware that some equipment and materials are longer-lasting and require less maintenance than others, so we are considering all these factors as well as part of the overall cost. Anything we choose to purchase will have to be safe, fun, durable, easy to maintain, and environmentally conscious.
Q: How can I help?
If you’d like to get involved, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re in the process of organizing a committee to help spearhead and organize the effort. If you have any expertise in children’s playground equipment that would be wonderful, but a willingness to help and a desire to see the children have a wonderful place to play are equally compelling attributes. We’ll be holding the first organizational meeting shortly.