The newly-formed Community Foundation of Saugerties (CFS), a non-profit organization committed to encouraging civic engagement and pride by improving, enhancing, and expanding the sense of community and connection among Saugerties residents, is pleased to announce the adoption of the Small World Playground rebuild project. Designed by Leathers and Associates of Ithaca, NY, and built by the Saugerties community in the Spring of 1994, the current Small World Playground located within the Cantine Veterans Memorial Complex has gradually deteriorated and is in need of replacement.
Dara Edwards, who was responsible for overseeing the fundraising efforts for Kingston Kinderland II on behalf of the Junior League of Kingston, will be the general coordinator for the Small World undertaking. “I was honored to be part of such an important project in the community, and am grateful to be able to draw on this experience in guiding the Small World rebuild,” said Edwards, CFS President. “The passion for the project is widespread among area residents, the majority of whom sponsored, built, supported, or played at Small World. Our goal is to keep this spirit alive by ensuring that the new playground honors its rich tradition and modernizes to provide more accessible, inclusive play.”
At the recommendation of the Small World Playground Sub-Committee and the Saugerties Recreation Committee, along with Greg Chorvas, Superintendent of the Town of Saugerties Parks and Buildings Department, the existing playground will be removed entirely, once funds are secured. Upon further recommendation, CFS has selected Leathers and Associates to once again design a custom playground for Saugerties, which is estimated to cost upwards of $200,000. The playground will remain open; however, there may be periodic closures to accommodate any needed repairs and/or the removal of defective playground components.
Greg Chorvas stated, “The actual process with respect to addressing the age and condition of Small World Playground began in June of 2012 when a grant was submitted out of the Parks and Buildings Department to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, in accordance with Title 9 of the Environmental Protection Act of 1993. Obviously, children’s safety was and continues to be our number one concern, as should always be the case, and it was important to take these preliminary steps in initiating a restoration or replacement process as early as possible.”
To that end, an independent playground consultant was contracted in December of 2013 to inspect the playground and bring forth an analysis thereof, along with a recommendation as to whether Small World should be renovated, or completely removed and replaced with a modernized version.
Despite an exemplary maintenance history, including six distinct instances of seal-coating the wood, the harsh Northeast winters and ultra-violet radiation from the sun have taken a toll on the playground over the course of its 21 years. Heavy use has also contributed to Small World’s deterioration.
Chorvas further stated, “Dara Edwards has done a tremendous job in a very short period of time with establishing the Foundation, along with obtaining 501(c)(3) status. I am amazed by her energy, enthusiasm, and initiative. Considering her deep involvement with the Junior League of Kingston and their Kingston Kinderland II Playground, which was just completed at the end of April, what Dara has been able to pull off and organize is even more amazing. There are three fundraising endeavors underway, with others waiting in the wings. She has already pulled together a dynamic group of individuals who represent many walks of life from not only within Saugerties, but also from the broader Ulster County Community, an undertaking that is equally impressive.”
Chorvas concluded by saying, “I am eagerly and enthusiastically looking forward to working with Dara and the entire Foundation, in very much the same manner as I did with the Saugerties community in the early 1990s prior to and during the build of Small World. I have been most fortunate to have been involved with a multitude of great community projects throughout many years. This is going to be yet another outstanding opportunity for the community to come together on behalf of our children, and I remain hopeful that we will be able to meet our fundraising expectations, along with our anticipated target completion date of Spring 2017.”
The Foundation’s inaugural fundraiser will be a Touch-a-Truck event, which has been planned for June 6th from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Cantine Complex, in Parking Lot “A.” Kids of all ages will have the opportunity to explore many different types of vehicles as well as meet their operators, and enjoy numerous family-friendly activities.
A Design Day, during which designers from Leathers and Associates visit local elementary schools to solicit project input from community children, has been tentatively scheduled for June 16. Design Day will conclude with a community celebration and a grand reveal of the final playground design.
The Foundation is currently running a logo design contest, which is open to all Saugerties students in grades K-12. The winning design will proudly represent the new playground on promotional materials, and may be incorporated into the playground design. Submissions may be mailed to the Community Foundation of Saugerties, PO Box 1169, Saugerties, NY 12477 through June 1 or turned in during the Touch-a-Truck event. A winner will be announced at the playground reveal ceremony on June 16.
For more information on how you can be an integral part of this exciting project, visit www.communityfoundationofsaugerties.org.
-Submitted by the Parks Department