Aug 19, 2008 Ami Olson Uncategorized
In 2006, the town of Geddes began a three-phase park project on a 1.9-acre parcel in the Lindbergh Lawn neighborhood of Lakeland. Funded with community development grants through Onondaga County, the park would be the first within walking distance of the neighborhood, and was planned to abut an edge of Longbranch Park, a county facility.
Earlier this summer, the town preceded with the third phase of the project, which included the installation of additional equipment, posts in the parking area, and what residents say should have been a hedgerow of shrubs to separate the two parks.
“We are very appreciate of every aspect of that park,” said John Fritzen, speaking on behalf of the residents of the Lindbergh Lawn neighborhood in Lakeland. “Up until that point, we were one hundred percent thrilled with it, thrilled with their efforts.”
Fritzen said many of his neighbors were surprised one day to see a line of trees being planted around the perimeter of the park, in some places 30 feet within the boundary.
He brought these concerns to the town of Geddes board meeting last week.
Geddes Town Supervisor E. Robert Czaplicki explained the placement of the vegetation was changed from the original drawn plans due to concerns of the engineer and contractor. Czaplicki noted later that the park plans, along with all contracts the town makes, included a caveat to allow necessary changes to be made during construction.
“I really don’t understand what his argument is,” Czaplicki said later. “We put almost four hundred thousand dollars of taxpayer’s money into a parcel of land that at one point an apartment building was being considered for.”
Though Fritzen announced to the board that he had compiled a petition of residents who shared his complaint, none of the neighborhood residents who spoke with the Solvay-Geddes Express shared his point of view.
Art Bissell, who purchased his home on Stinson Road in 1963, lives on the edge of the park. He is pleased with the increased police presence in the area since the park’s creation, and said there have always been a lot of kids living in the neighborhood.
“It’s good for the kids to have something,” Bissell said of the park.
Across the street, the Campbell family has lived in their house for 40 years and agreed there could be some problems with the types of plants the town installed – specifically, they are loved by deer – but not with the location.
Fritzen also argued that the nearly $12K spent by the town to purchase shrubbery to create a hedgerow between the parks should have been money spent by the county, since the hedge was something the county had wanted in the first place.
While Czaplicki agreed that number was somewhere in the ballpark of the final figure for the plants, he did not see why the town should not cooperate with the county by installing the shrubs at their expense.
“I think that was our share. It’s probably more complicated than that, but it really doesn’t matter, the park is a nice park and we think they [the shrubs] are in the right place,” he said.
Additionally, Czaplicki said the arborist for the project had told the town that moving the plants now would kill them, as they had already been shocked from the initial transplant.