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Town board hears plans for Austin Park playground upgrade

A conceptualized vision of the new Austin Park playground as created by Parkitects, Inc., the company working with the Parks and Recreation Council of Skaneateles to revamp the playground. Representatives from both groups gave a presentation to the Skaneateles Town Board last week about the project.

A conceptualized vision of the new Austin Park playground as created by Parkitects, Inc., the company working with the Parks and Recreation Council of Skaneateles to revamp the playground. Representatives from both groups gave a presentation to the Skaneateles Town Board last week about the project.

— The Skaneateles Town Board Meeting last Thursday dealt with a variety of issues, but it was a future play haven for children that took top billing.

The issue is a hoped-for upgrade to the playground at Austin Park. Skaneateles resident Meg Keady and Karen Armstrong, a representative of Lansing based playground equipment manufacturer Parkitects, provided the board and those in attendance with project information.

Keady said the project will cost around $152,000. The entire project will be privately funded and that her organization, the Parks and Recreation Council of Skaneateles, already has reached 75 percent of that total.

PARCS is planning on a mid-May 2012 date to start removing the existing playground equipment Keady said. Town Supervisor Teri Roney said that the town may not be able to provide much assistance at that time, due to field maintenance which occurs simultaneously.

The proposed project will meet a big need, Keady believes. Much of the new equipment focuses on physical movement, with the idea that it will boost children’s fitness levels.

“A lot of the (current) equipment was put back in in the 1980’s. It’s out of date,” she said. “The kids aren’t actively playing on it. They’re sitting.”

A new playground will also help relieve residents’ gasoline bills, Keady believes.

“Friends that I know … a lot of the members in the community will run over to Marcellus, who built a brand new beautiful playground, or some of the other surrounding playgrounds,” Keady said. “We thought ‘why are we leaving Skaneateles’ when we have a beautiful town, a lake. We can play here, shop here and do everything in one location. And by upgrading [the playground] it would be just a nicer thing for the kids, playgroups and summer recreation programs.”

Also at the meeting:

—The board discussed the town’s fire protection contract with the Skaneateles Fire Department. A motion carried that the town meet its contract total of $221,791.

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