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Village board gives $10K to Austin Park playground project

Proposed plans for the Austin Park playground improvement

Proposed plans for the Austin Park playground improvement

— The village board of trustees voted to donate $10,000 to the upgrade of the Austin Park playground at its Jan. 12 meeting, after hearing an update on the progress of the project from the Parks and Recreation Council of Skaneateles.

The village contribution comes from funds given to the village from the will of the late David G. “Duke” Schneider, a local resident who died in 2008 and gave a bequest of $150,000 to the village to be used for recreation projects.

“Duke Schneider was the most modest individual you could ever find,” said Mayor Marty Hubbard. “And it’s a great honor to recognize him for the funds being contributed to this project.”

PARCS has raised $98,500 since June 2011 — about 80 percent of the $152,000 total estimated cost — to remake the Austin Park playground, with more fundraising planned in coming months, said PARCS member Meg Keady.

“We’re more than confident we’ll make it,” Keady said.

“We're in a good [fundraising] position,” added PARCS member Amy Allyn. “So your money is going to help us make this happen.”

Keady, Allyn and project architectural consultant Karen Armstrong showed the village board proposed designs for the new playground and explained the current vision for the project, which will include playground equipment, new sandboxes, fitness areas, benches and trees, new safety surfacing and will be wheelchair accessible.

The goal is to build the new playground during the weekend of May 18-20 — and to have the construction completely accomplished by local volunteers, Keady said.

“It will truly be a community-built playground,” Keady said.

Trustee Marc Angelillo, who is also a PARCS member, reminded the board that while the Austin Park playground improvement project began last June, the fundraising and visibility of the project took off in July when the family of 22-month-old Cameron Leigh Kenan, who died in July and whose mother was also a member of PARCS, requested donations be made to PARCS in lieu of flowers.

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