Fleischmanns park supporters seek funds
By Jay Braman Jr.
Thanks to the instant landscaping that comes with a foot of new snow, the village park in Fleischmanns looks pretty good this week.
But as many are aware, the white fluffy beauty hides a multitude of scars left in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, which in August of 2011 swept though the region and caused millions of dollars in damage to the park.
With an eye toward spring, when park repairs are expected to begin in earnest, a group of village residents are working hard to make sure the resources to make those improvements are in hand.
This month, in a fundraising push, the village’s Park Committee wants all to understand just what the park means to the community.
Noting that, “Playgrounds aren’t just for kids,” the committee reminds all that the park is actually going to be a multi-use athletic complex enjoyed by people of all ages with a soccer field, tennis courts, playground, baseball field, basketball court, a jogging path and adult fitness stations. It also has a pavilion, bathrooms and waterfront access, all of which lend the park to all sorts of activities.
Unfortunately, funding to make all this possible is uncertain. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has stated that it will not pay for a new tennis facility and would only put up money for patching up the one that was wiped out in the flooding from Irene.
“FEMA’s mandate to patch and recoat the existing flood ravaged courts is neither a doable nor an acceptable option,” said Park Committee member Sindy Becker.
Becker, who said that village officials are appealing FEMA’s decision, adds there is more at stake than just having a great place to play.
“The psychological, social and economic viability of the village, it’s inhabitants, intrepid new business ventures and potential future investors are dependant on having our courts, playground and all the multifunctional park amenities operative, humming with activity, before the summer season,” she said.
For years, many local organizations have raised funds to upgrade the park. With the recent award of a $125,000 New York State Parks and Recreation matching grant, Becker says there is a unique opportunity to do something really different - to design and install a playground that accommodates and inspires all children.
Park goals include (but are not limited to): creating a environment to spark the imagination and challenge the body; creating a safer playground with upgraded fencing and equipment; creating a fully ramped and accessible playground with new surfacing and play structures.
Anyone wishing to contribute should make checks payable to: “The MARK Project - Fleischmanns Playground” and mail them to: PO Box 516, Arkville, NY 12406. Or write a check directly to: “Village of Fleischmanns” and in the memo area write “Fleischmanns Playground” and drop it off at the village office.