As children, we all remember the wonderful times we had on a playground. From the first time across the monkey bars to finally climbing to the top of the tower, those memories stay with us forever. Children in New Paltz have had these experiences for years, but lately it’s been a bit harder than usual to play on the wooden playground.
Preparations are underway for the renovation of the Hasbrouck Park playground. For 25 years, the wooden playground has been a staple for children around the area, and even a tourist attraction. But lately, the structure has gotten a little rough around the edges.
“The structure is in need of many repairs,” said Village of New Paltz Trustee William Wheeler-Murray. “They’ve been repairing it for years, and it’s about time to replace it. It’s at the end of its serviceable life and we feel that the time has come to say goodbye to it.”
The new playground will be made of a recycled wood composite and will feature a massive sand box, more shaded seating for adults and a safer play structure to keep children occupied for hours.
The project will not only involve building a new structural playground, but also reconfiguring the whole park. Two hundred new holes will have to be dug deep into the ground to stabilize the new structure. The existing playground is on a thick layer of rock, and the only reason it was possible 25 years ago was because local companies were able to help out for free.
Unfortunately, this time around that won’t be possible due to recent New York State rule changes, according to Wheeler-Murray. So volunteers are tasked with moving the playground to where the baseball fields have been up until now, and moving the gazebo as well.
Even with the help of volunteers to lower the cost, the overall total for the new playground comes in at around $180,000. This cost will be paid for by recreation fees from the village of New Paltz.
“This community has done so much to support me, and the least I can do is give back in some way,” said student volunteer Honor Montmarquet. “I also believe strongly in systems of mutual aid, which require a give and take system with multiple participants.”
Hasbrouck Park is looking for volunteers during the days of Sept. 25 – 29, and the volunteer work can include anything from manual labor to child care. Free child care will be provided to volunteers while they are helping out.
The hope is that after four days of volunteer work the playground will be mostly complete, but not ready for play. Wheeler-Murray admits that it will not be open for quite some time while the village completes smaller projects, but that they will announce a soft opening date once they feel confident.
“We feel that as the date approaches and people see what is going on they will join in,” Wheeler-Murray said. “We encourage people to sign up, but we will also take people who walk in and help. We need lots and lots of volunteers.”
Students are encouraged to get involved by signing up to volunteer and spreading the word. For more information and to sign up, visit Villageofnewpaltz.org/event/hasbrouck-park-playground-renewal-project/.