Constructed over past months by town highway crews, the project replaced an outdated facility and was funded by Niagara River Greenway Commission monies. The result is a spanking new facility more than triple the size of the old playground with added safety surfacing and better equipment. The playground got off to a great start last Saturday as about 100 children and parents attended the celebration, complete with hot dogs, balloons and face painters.
Councilman Mike Marra served as master of ceremonies. "As a Town Board member and liaison to Parks and Recreation, I couldn't think of a better use for Greenway funding than this project," Marra stated.
State Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte applauded the playground as exactly the type of project that the Greenway funds were set aside for. "As your representative to the New York State Assembly, I co-sponsored the bill creating the Niagara River Greenway Commission for this type of use. The children in our community deserve to have the best in safety and fun!"
Supervisor Steve Reiter expressed complete satisfaction with the project. "I sure wish that when I was a kid that we had a cool place like this!" exclaimed Reiter. "But certainly the next best thing is being able to vote to approve a project like this, that will allow all of our children and grandchildren to play and enjoy themselves in a safe and incredibly fun atmosphere."
Reiter turned to the children on hand and asked, "Isn't this park great?" All answered an emphatic "yes."
"My daughter loves it here, and it's just an unbelievable upgrade from what was here," said Kate Chilberg, whose daughter Olivia is a frequent park attendee.
Mike Dashineau, director of Parks and Recreation, reported the project started with complete removal of the old playground, built in 1995. "At the time it was built, the playground served the needs of the immediate community. As population grew with new houses being built around the park, the playground became outdated. In its place, the Town of Lewiston constructed a new playground divided into four areas."
He reports the town added new, state-of-the-art rubber safety surfaces to all of the playground area as well. "While providing an effective and even layer of safety, this surface also allowed the town to keep the natural trees and shade that cover the park. Previously, the town used specially designed safety wood chips for the surface of the playground. However, the trees in the area, with constant shedding of branches, leaves and debris, reduced the effectiveness of the wood chips and its ability to provide a ‘soft landing.' "