Fleischmanns park project is event's focus

By Jay Braman Jr.
The year 2013 is shaping up nicely for the Fleischmanns Village Park.
Fitting, it is, since it was one century ago that Julius Fleischmanns donated the prime real estate to the village to create the park.

Had he known that, 98 years later, the park’s splendor would be washed away in a massive flood it is certain that he would wish it restored to it’s original beauty. And while things didn’t look good for that last year, it now appears that the park may not only be restored but be even better than it ever had been.

On Saturday, Feb. 2, the park will take center stage at the 5th Fleischmanns First Forum. It will be held at La Cabana Restaurant on Main Street at 10 a.m. and will be devoted to bringing the village and the wider community up-to-date on the exciting plans to rebuild the park’s tennis courts and children’s playground.

Financial updates
And that’s not all. Expect funding updates as well. Not only about the park but also the Main Street gem known as the village theater.

Firstly, FEMA, long known for penny pinching on the park restoration, has tentatively agreed to pay for the special rubber surfacing of the new playground area slated for the park. According to Fleischmanns Playground Project (FPP) organizers, this represents an $80,000 windfall.

“This is huge news for Fleischmanns and is the best news we have gotten from FEMA to date,” FPP said in a prepared statement. “Though our village representatives caution us to not count on anything from FEMA until we have the final contract, we are very optimistic and thankful!”
On top of that, welcome news comes from Peg Ellsworth, executive director at the MARK Project that the non profit agency has snared a $200,000 grant for the village from the New York State Homes and Community Renewal program to pay for the first phase of repairs and upgrades to the theater, which the village took over last year in a tax foreclosure.

Mayor Todd Pascarella was pleased. “Peg Ellsworth from MARK will be working with the Theater Committee to implement the most effective use of these funds,” he said. “I would like to thank the MARK project and especially Peg for her leadership and hard work that has produced some real progress towards saving the theater building and getting at least the front section usable again.”
On Saturday at La Cabana, Pascarella will speak to the vision for Fleischmanns Park and FPP member Sindy Becker will discuss plans for the new tennis courts.

“For many years, Fleischmanns tennis courts have drawn avid tennis players from Delaware and Ulster county,” said Becker this week. “The Fleischmanns Open and more recently the Catskill Open have meant an influx of tennis players and fans the first weekend of August to our village.”
The goal is to have the courts ready for action by August.

FPP members Kathleen Rosted and Jeanine Pascarella will present and discuss plans for the playground, which is expected to draw children and adults from surrounding communities to the park and the village as well.

Ellsworth will also be on hand to discuss the funding already in place and what still needs to be raised.