Gardiner Parks and Recreation Committee raising funds to revitalize Majestic Park

Pictured left to right are committee members Michele Tomasicchio, Mike Albright, Andy Lewis, Josh Platt, Ralph Varano, Brian Houser and Roger Ennis.

George Majestic Memorial Park in Gardiner is named in honor of former Town Supervisor George Majestic, whose surname has the advantage of also being an adjective that brings to mind very pleasing qualities for a park. The coincidence is not lost on the members of the Gardiner Parks and Recreation Committee, who have been hard at work creating a plan of action to revitalize Majestic Park and make the actuality of the place emulate its name, according to Michele Tomasicchio, one of seven Gardiner residents who make up the newly reorganized committee. The others are Andy Lewis, Josh Platt, Michael Albright, Ralph Varrano, Roger Ennis and chair Brian Houser.

The committee’s goal is to create a vibrant park and recreation center for Gardiner that can generate revenue to sustain maintenance of the grounds and facilities and fund expansion of programs and events.

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But in order to do that, first a little fundraising is in order, to repair the existing facilities and add new infrastructure capable of supporting new activities. The group recently received authorization from the town supervisor and Town Board to begin fundraising through the nonprofit 501 (c) (3) New Paltz Community Foundation, Inc. (NPCF).

The strategy is necessary, because “as a municipality, Gardiner cannot fundraise,” explains Tomasicchio. “We’re looking into the process and cost of forming a “Friends of Majestic Park” 501 (c) (3) separate from the municipality, but in the interim, NPCF had their board review our plans and they will serve as the ‘holding vessel’ of the monies from Gardiner Parks and Recreation fundraising activities.”

The committee is currently formulating a fundraising plan for the rest of 2018 into 2019.

“We’re looking into silent auctions and a bike/trail riding event next fall to raise money,” Tomasicchio says.

Fundraising goals include generating a general fund for Gardiner Parks and Recreation and funding for specific projects, the first being the completion of the Paul M. Mele Community and Recreation Center housed in the pole barn at Majestic Park. Some work has been done already — stall dividers were installed in the women’s bathroom along with an ultraviolet water filtration system — but more work needs to be completed before the structure can be rented out for parties, events, workshops and even basketball (Tomasicchio says they’ve had inquiries about the latter).

And renting out the pole barn is perceived to be the primary way that Majestic Park could generate income to sustain itself and run new programs. “We’re interested in following the model of New Paltz Community Center,” says Tomasicchio. “Chuck Bordino, the New Paltz recreation director, shared with us that the community center in New Paltz runs in the black just from rentals and programs.”

Fundraising will pay for the completion of the kitchen in the pole barn, a job expected to go out to bid before the end of the year.

Construction of a new pavilion, to replace the demolished pavilion deemed beyond repair earlier this year, is expected to begin in October, with completion anticipated by the end of fall.

Members of the Majestic Sk8 Crü, an all-female team of young skateboarders who meet regularly at Majestic Park, have plans to raise funds with the Parks and Recreation Committee to expand the skating park on site, which gets a lot of usage over three seasons and also needs some maintenance.

The committee is also looking into the possibility of developing hiking and biking trails on the 86 acres of town-owned property surrounding the Gardiner Transfer Station, Tomasicchio says. In the winter, the area could be used for cross-country skiing.

Other rehabilitation work on the horizon includes playground expansion, repair of the ballfields and the addition of picnic tables. And local Girl Scout Andie Psilopoulos is leading a fundraising effort to install a ga-ga ball pit as her scouting Silver Award project.

Activities at Majestic Park in future years could include a summer music series and a movie night.

Donations to NPCF are tax deductible. Checks may be made out to “New Paltz Community Foundation, Inc.” with a notation that the funds go to Gardiner Parks and Recreation. Mail checks to New Paltz Community Foundation, Inc., Box 112, New Paltz NY 12561.

The Gardiner Parks and Recreation Committee is also seeking a volunteer with grant-writing experience. Interested individuals may contact committee chair Brian Houser at (845) 430-1417.

Updates on the revitalization of Majestic Park and fundraising efforts will be posted on a new Facebook page, “Gardiner Parks and Recreation.”

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