New Paltz playground project needs financial assistance and more volunteers

Mountain Laurel students at Hasbrouck Park in the village of New Paltz. (Photo by Lauren Thomas)

The playground at Hasbrouck Park in New Paltz is at the end of its serviceable life and volunteers are being asked to help rebuild it, as was done 25 years ago. The New Paltz Village Board and the DPW assessed the playground’s condition in 2015, which is what put this plan into motion.

Over the last two-and-a-half decades, different playground features required DPW maintenance as they aged. But over time, some features became too difficult to patch back together and eventually needed to be removed.

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It’s not as easy to build a playground as it was before the turn of the century, even with community help. New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers reported last week that he’s spent a considerable amount of time working out details for the build planned for September, and that while more volunteers are absolutely needed, there are other challenges weighing more heavily on his mind. In particular, he’s in need of a crane and a very big augur.

Seeking financial assistance for the playground

According to Rogers, that last build happened with the help of Central Hudson and Verizon workers who drilled holes into near-impenetrable bedrock to mount the structure. “That’s not an option this time,” said Rogers, and the kind of equipment needed is hard to find and expensive to rent. An ordinary rock augur isn’t big enough to do the job, but it’s possible volunteers can use one to reduce the cost. A machine the right size to pound through Hasbrouck bedrock is uncommon in the state, and renting one could run into high five figures, which Rogers calls “quite a big ask.”

The New Paltz Community Foundation and the Village of New Paltz are working together to support the construction of the new playground at Hasbrouck Park.

Individuals and businesses interested in supporting the new playground financially are encouraged to make a tax-deductible donation to the “New Paltz Community Foundation.” The Foundation is a 501(c)(3).

The new playground equipment is being funded largely with the Village’s recreation fee fund. Community members will also be heavily relied upon for the build, which starts Wednesday, September 25. “However, we need additional financial support for heavy equipment rentals and to make sure we don’t completely deplete the Village’s recreation fee fund,” said Rogers, who hopes that the next big project will involve resurfacing the basketball and pickle ball courts in front of St. Joseph’s Church.

The Village is seeking financial support across the following levels:

• $5k or above — Tier 1

• +$2.5k — Tier 2

• +$1k — Tier 3

• +$200 — Tier 4

Craig Shankles has been helping organize the community build and has also agreed to fabricate a unique metal plaque featuring the playground’s financial supporters.

Contributors should make checks payable to the “New Paltz Community Foundation” and mail them to: Village Hall (Playground Build), 25 Plattekill Avenue, New Paltz NY 12561.

To sign up to volunteer for the build, use this link: https://tinyurl.com/yygeojed

Donations can also be made using the Pay Pal link on the New Paltz Community Foundation, Inc. website.

If you have questions about the New Paltz Community Foundation, Inc., including its participation in the playground project, you can contact the Foundation at P.O. Box 1112, New Paltz, NY 12561 or check the Foundation out at its website: https://www.newpaltzfoundation.org.

The Village Board is working with the same company that managed the community build 25 years ago. According to Rogers, they were also the lowest bid for the new equipment. “They are an incredible resource, but the real work will be done by us,” Rogers said. “It’s a true community effort. Like an old-fashioned barn raising, this is an enormous undertaking.”

When the current playground was built, 600 volunteer shifts were filled. Village Board member William Wheeler Murray expects that many will be needed again. He said that a planned public-relations blitz right after Labor Day is hoped to bring in the remaining people needed to pull this mammoth project off.

Beginning on Wednesday morning, September 25 through Sunday, September 29, it will be all hands on deck. “This is a few-times-every-century project, said Rogers. “ Once a generation, we come together as a community and give our time and energy to a project of joy. As we recruit volunteers, some folks tell us about their experience with the last community build. It is heartening to see the history of our community through the lens of this playground: people who were too young to participate last time are excited to contribute; parents whose children have grown up conjure memories of building the existing playground; and leaders of the last build lend their advice, joking about organizing a project of this magnitude before cell phones, Facebook and online sign-up forms. We are excited for this playground build, and look forward to even more memories that will be made at Hasbrouck Park.”

There are 12 comments

      1. No-Go

        Been there. The Red Cross volunteers do show up and address the matter of clothes, a meal and a place to stay. That is why you have house insurance if you own your domicile. I do, and from experience, I would say it was not the Red Cross volunteers who the next day looted the ruins. Think I’m making this up? Someplace in Ulster County just hired rescue squad workers because there are no volunteers to be had. They ain’t the only emergency service provider that also needs paid employees. And if you do have a house fire, you would like me to read your insurance policy to you before the event? Just kidding.

  1. FunkieGunkie

    You would think that the exorbitant taxes could cover this? Guess again. What do the taxpayers in New Paltz get for their money? No one knows. Everyone is wondering. OSI gets a 99 year lease on the R2R parking lot on Springtown Road with no fees and the Town agreed to maintain and police it. But the taxes keep increasing. Trails and recreation come before infrastructure and the planning board is rapidly ruining the town with new architecture that doesn’t fit the historic qualities of the town. Parking lots for tourism are being built everywhere you look. Who’s paying for all of this? Local Taxpayers, not for profits from NYC and the government (ie. OSI, Governor Cuomo and the Rockefeller’s). It’s even more interesting that the people driving tourism in the Hudson Valley and Catskills are from the city, come up here because they like country life, then try and make it like the place they escaped from. Go figure! I ❤️ NY!!

  2. A longtime volunteer

    Really! All of you, and the citizens of NP will not get off of your combined lazy azzes too build a safe playground for children. And, on top of it, you complain, how sad. You, that’s right, people like you, that is why your taxes are so high. Lethargy, apathy, and a lack of societal infrastructure of local citizens, is why American towns and cities are crumbling. You sit and argue and complain, disagreeing with just about everything, or you just do nothing at all. (It takes more than paying taxes, there are things like civic responsibility, duty, and service, that we owe too each other and especially the children. We, misappropriate, mismanage, argue partisan, and personal belief’s, while we just patch things up, as our civic infrastructures fail. All the while, if we do not fix our “societal” infrastructure first, our civic infrastructures will continue too spiral down a whirlpool of hysteresis and despair. What a sad world, that a simple and safe “outside” play area for the children, that are your future, “… needs volunteers” and can not find adults with compassion and civic pride too build it. No wonder this news site’s stories of New Paltz, well, flux, and “viral” comment section are loaded with turmoil in New Paltz and it’s surrounding area. As a wise cleric of knowledge of our time told us; “You can’t fix stupid”. Shame on you all!

    1. Joy Boy

      There is a safe playground for kids, adults and dogs at Morrello Park with big fat lock and gates around it all year round. That was a volunteer project that turned an open park for all into a privatized country club.
      And it doesn’t cost the mayor’s $55,000 a year salary for him to go over and unlock it every day either.
      You volunteer; makes me sick.

    2. FunkieGunkie

      Thank you for your complaint and the longest one on this comment forum yet! Great job proposing solutions and not pointing fingers at anyone. Watch out for the hypocrites and shame on you!

      1. FlunkeyMonkey

        Aren’t you the guy who keeps saying he’s glad he doesn’t live here because of taxes, etc., always laughing to hisself about the predicament of New Paltz in particular? Sure you are.
        Apparently, you’ve never been in Hasbrouck Park, or you would know it is a perpetual mud-hole. Even pressure-treated wood can’t last there for more than five years, twice already. The State came in and redid all the lines on the Hasbrouck Road side, gratis, and it still floods, the field, including the baseball field part. And who would want their children playing around pressure treated wood anyways.
        As to Morello Park, it’s books are not open to the public. The last figures available for how much business it was doing was in 2004, when Total Immersion wanted to cover the pool for year round use. The figures they published was that for the previous four years, the pool lost $100,000 to $110,000 every year. Never made money, and it has had five pools, one replacing the next.
        You should keep liking not living here.
        You want solutions? Fill in the pool and plant indigenous trees for a forest in the mud-hole.

        1. FunkieGunkie

          I know Hasbrouck Park well. Finished college in New Paltz. Practiced capoeira in Hasbrouck for two years during the summer of 2016-17 barefooted in the grass. There wasn’t any mud at all, ever. Apparently you don’t know me. I don’t and would never want to own a house or live in New Paltz. Tourist trap with unjustified taxes and subpar local government and leaders. Been there done that.

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