November 6, 2010
New Marathon playground nears completion
MARATHON — Construction of a large playground at Lovell Field, the first phase of a more than $500,000 project to link Main Street with Lovell Field and a canoe launch on the Tioughnioga River, began this week and is expected to be completed next week.
The project will connect $3 million worth of Main Street roadway, sidewalk and street lighting improvements, funded by state Department of Transportation and completed last year, with the park and the canoe launch that was also built last year.
The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program in 2008 approved a $515,000 grant through the Environmental Protection Fund. It will pay for a two-phase project that includes the new playground and new sidewalks, lighting and roadway on Peck Avenue that provides the access to the park from Main Street.
The project to build the playground and improve the Peck Avenue access to the park and river with those grant funds was held up since then due to the state’s financial crisis. The village had hoped that once the current state budget was settled, the money would begin to flow more, but the reimbursements have remained slow to arrive.
“Getting the funding late is better than never,” Mayor John Pitman said. “We’re glad to get it.”
Pitman said getting the amount of funding without a grant would have normally taken the village at least 10 to 15 years to save. He added it will be nice to complete the whole second phase, which includes sidewalks, curbing and lighting along Peck Avenue at once.
Homer-based engineer Ken Teter began designing the new playground at the beginning of the year.
Pat Votra, of Empire Recreation, spent the week before last in his shop putting the sections pieces together before transporting them down to the park.
“It’s like Christmas morning,” Votra said. “There are a million different parts.”
Votra said the playground is about half-done, with more slides and climbing sections to be installed once the weather clears and the concrete for some of the poles has set.
He expects the playground will be completed in the middle of next week.
The old playground was over 25 years old and was about one-fifth the size of the new one. The new playground, which cost around $84,000, is 120 feet by 60 feet.
“It’s huge compared to the previous playground,” Teter said.
There are portions of the playground for children ages 2 through 5, and another portion for children 5 through 12. There are also infant swings for parents to push their children.
“There’s a wide range of elements to promote good health,” Teter said.
The sidewalks, curbing and lighting from Main Street to the park will be designed over the winter and will be put out for bids in early spring, as the second phase to connect downtown to the park.
“It will promote better and easier access for pedestrians,” Teter said, adding that sidewalks would make it much easier during activities like the annual Central New York Maple Festival in April.
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