Six Parks See Much-Needed Updates; Collaboration with Highway Department Speeds Process
ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz noted the extensive amount of improvements and renovations done at Erie County parks and beaches in 2012, with significant work done at six locations in addition to the purchase of capital equipment for use countywide. Cooperation between the Parks Department and the County Highway Department has also allowed for better use of resources and efficiency of operations in completing improvements.
“2012 has been a very busy year for Capital Improvement Projects at County parks and beaches, and these are projects that were desperately needed,” said Poloncarz. “During my campaign I pointed out the state of disrepair that was evident in many of our parks, and called for the improvements that County residents expect and deserve. With these investments in our parks, I am fulfilling the promise I made to improve the conditions of these incredible public assets. While we have more work ahead, much has been accomplished so far.”
Unseasonably warm spring weather allowed crews to begin and complete improvements at the Bennett Beach Comfort Station prior to the opening of beach season on June 1. The Comfort Station, used by thousands of beach-goers annually, now features a new roof, siding, electrical upgrades, interior painting and new doors.
The first phase of extensive improvements to parking lots and roadways inside Chestnut Ridge Park was concluded in mid-summer, with critical collaboration between the Parks department and Highway department resulting in the timely completion. Working inside the park, the Highway department was instrumental in improving three (3) parking lots and approximately 2.5 miles of roadway within the park. This work included patching the areas most in need of attention and then oil & chipping the surfaces. Four tennis courts at Chestnut Ridge Park were also resurfaced, repainted, and are currently being fitted with new hardware, with repair work to be completed on the other courts in the next year.
Poloncarz continued, “This type of inter-departmental collaboration is essential to providing needed services and repairs in a way that is streamlined, cost-effective, and efficient. It makes good sense to have County workers collaborating on projects that have a natural overlap such as this, and this model can be used to complete improvements at other park locations as well.”
Visitors to the Walkway to the Falls at Akron Falls Park benefitted from extensive repair work done to the walkway, which had fallen into an unsafe state of disrepair evidenced by missing railings in the parking lot and walkway areas and erosion-induced holes undermining the walkway itself. Due to the location and nature of the walkway, crews completed all restorative work by hand, including using wheel barrows to install a top coat of asphalt on the walkway. New railings, repaired stonework, and the restored walkway surface all add tremendously to the aesthetics and safety of the Walkway to the Falls.
Major renovations at Elma Meadows Shelter #1 and Shelter #2 were completed by early summer and have already received compliments from groups renting the facilities after completion of the renovations. Improvements at these locations included new siding, fascia, electrical work, plumbing, minor block repairs on columns and overall general carpentry work that greatly improved the look and security of these two shelters.
After being closed for the last two years due to deteriorating conditions and major water leaks, the Fisherman’s Comfort Station at Ellicott Creek Park gained new life in 2012 and is once again open to the public. Located in an area of the park heavily used by visitors, work at the comfort station focused on water line repairs, electrical upgrades, drainage work, new siding, and general carpentry work to improve the facility’s appearance and enhance its utility.
Repairs to roadways and buildings at Como Lake Park highlight further cooperation between the Parks and Highway departments; improvements to parking lots and roadways included patching, oil & chipping, and asphalt application in road sections that were particularly deteriorated. Facilities at the park, such as the Bowen Grove Shelter and the Lancaster Place Building/Comfort Station, will also be receiving upgrades such as new roofing, carpentry, and plumbing and lighting improvements. Additionally, Como Lake Park will now have new snow and ice clearing equipment for use in ice-skating preparation during winter months.
“Thanks to County Executive Poloncarz and his support for the Parks, we have made great strides in 2012 and look forward to doing the same in 2013 and beyond,” said Parks Commissioner Troy Schinzel. “With plenty of old-fashioned hard work by Parks Department staff, as well as creative and collaborative assistance from the Departments of Public Works and Environment and Planning, we will continue moving forward on priorities at all County parks to improve our visitors’ experiences.”
Several other structures within Como Lake Park, Emery Park, and Grover Cleveland Golf Course are currently being reviewed for potential future repairs and upgrades.
Investments in Capital Equipment for countywide usage covered the purchase of several pieces of ground and turf equipment, including fairway and greens mowers for use at the two County golf courses and four (4) new commercial mowers, as well as 3 standard mowers, for use at County parks. New snow removal equipment is also being purchased for countywide Parks usage.
For more information on the Erie County Parks Department, visit http://www2.erie.gov/parks/