“It looks like we’re going to have to do more fundraising,” said George Terpening, village parks, buildings and grounds superintendent.
The subject was the replacement of much of the equipment at village playgrounds, which has been deemed unsafe by the village’s insurance company. The town is facing the same issue with its Small World playground adjacent to the Kiwanis Ice Arena. It, too, is gearing up for a lengthy fundraising campaign.
Terpening said fundraising would be needed in addition to the $28,000 placed in this year’s village budget.
“Twenty-eight thousand dollars doesn’t buy you much,” Terpening said.
He pointed to new playground equipment donated by the Lions Club for the park adjacent to Cantine Field, which the club sponsors. Terpening said it cost between $35,000 and $40,000, so his department would need at least that much to begin to re-equip the other two parks at the beach and Seamon Park.
“We took two slides out of the beach playground so we’ll be trying to replace those first,” he said.
Three years ago, when village trustees switched liability insurance companies, the new company, New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal (NYMIR), sent in an insurance adjuster to inspect the village-owned buildings and grounds. The adjuster determined that much of the playground equipment, which had been used by generations of village youngsters, was no longer safe, and told trustees the unsafe equipment would have to go if they wanted to be covered.
At the time, the village was told the playgrounds couldn’t be opened at all. But after public outcry, they were opened, with some changes. There are no longer teeter-totters at the playgrounds, some of the slides have been removed, swings have been moved further apart from each other so kids can’t bump into each other, jungle gyms have been reduced in height, and mulch and rubber chips have been placed under equipment.
Funds have been raised since that time. Heidi Brandt, owner of Heidi’s House Day Care on Lafayette St., along with friends Tammy Leary and Hope Smith, raised several thousand dollars for the playgrounds.
Terpening will be reaching out to several of the service organizations in the village to donate to the effort such as the Kiwanis, the Lions Club, the Knights of Columbus and village businesses.
To donate, make a check out to the Village of Saugerties Playground Equipment Fund, 43 Partition St., Saugerties, N.Y. 12477 or stop by Village Hall at that address.