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Parks & Rec Budget On Deck

Ocker outlines re-allocation and deferment plan

Despite several significant budget revisions, the Garden City Board of Trustees took no action to adopt the proposed 2014-15 budgets presented at a recent study session. Kevin E. Ocker, the chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Cultural and Recreational Affairs, outlined modifications made to the proposed parks and recreation budget since it was last presented.

“Since Feb. 8, our budget requests for the recreation and parks operations and the capital have been modified,” Ocker said. “I want to confirm that our amended requests sustain our diverse level of service in every area. In addition, our general revenue centers, including program revenues, St. Paul’s field house rentals and the St. Paul’s field rentals now project a 5.5 percent increase raised from our original projection of $464,000 in general revenues to now internal revenues to $492,000.”

One of the major proposed changes to the parks and recreation budget is reallocation of capital projects to contractual-service line items. The original capital request was $761,000, but Ocker proposed moving $105,000 of that to contractual services. “Our capital plan had a number of small funding requests, and several of them have been for years now just infrastructure maintenance items that ended up in this capital plan,” he said.

If all of the athletic courts and fields across the village needed to be replaced, that would be a capital expense, Ocker suggested. However, many of the courts and fields just need to be resurfaced from year-to-year. Other items formerly listed as capital requests include repair to the irrigation system at St. Paul’s, estimated at $35,000, and minor heating and ventilating projects, such as small boiler replacement. Projects such as those total about $105,000, which Ocker recommended be re-allocated from capital to contractual services. “Projects that we can handle with contractors by getting quotes [that] are under the $35,000 threshold allows us to keep ahead on repairs of existing structures,” he said.

Ocker also recommended deferring playground equipment replacement apparatus and safety surface at Grove Park, a $75,000 line item, for one more year. Along similar lines, he proposed deferring playground building rehabilitation, specifically upgrading the exteriors, and “take steps accordingly with our in-house people to do the most important repairs,” including minor painting and soffit work, he said.

Ocker’s plan to defer streetscape improvement was met with opposition from some board members. “I really don’t want to defer [streetscape improvements] but in order to meet the budget demands that we are all faced with, we’re going to defer … hardscape improvements to the 7th Street and Franklin Avenue business district,” he said, admitting, “Improvements like that attract people to our community [and] those areas are tired.”

Projects he suggested that need to be addressed but should be deferred include replacement of pavers, many of which are undulating, installation of raised planters and flowering baskets on light poles, increased seeded areas, addition of small white lights to trees, and replacement of benches and waste receptacles.

“Since I’ve been on the board, and this is the sixth budget I’ve sat through, this project gets pushed off each year,” Trustee Dennis C. Donnelly said. “The pavers on 7th Street, [which] get the most wear and foot traffic, are in bad shape­—they are up and down. I’d like for us to take a look at what we get in lawsuits on trip and falls on 7th Street.” He also suggested installation of small white lights on trees be a priority. “I realize the budget is tight, but I think the board should consider this has to get done some point in time.”

Trustee Nicholas P. Episcopia questioned whether enhancements to the village’s business districts could be done gradually. “Yes, it could be phased,” Ocker replied, for example, allocating money for benches one year.

To sum up, Ocker’s revised capital budget request is $256,000, down from $761,000: $100,000 for trees and $156,000 for equipment, including trucks, mowers and a brush chipper.

Trustee Robert A. Bolebruch suggested chopping trees from the proposed capital budget. “I would much rather take $100,000 and plant trees and plant trees next fall or a year from now and deal with the safety of the parks and the safety on 7th Street,” he said. “To me, that is money much better spent.”

News

The Senior Advisory Committee is the Senior group that helps plan trips, parties, and programs for all seniors in cooperation with the recreation and parks department. It consists of: Kathy Auro, Richard Bankowsky, Evelyn Iagrossi, Joe Leto, Ellen Moynahan, and Gloria Weinrich. Please feel free to suggest trips to anyone on the committee.

Preparedness is the best remedy for Ebola

Winthrop University Hospital hosted a presentation on the current Ebola epidemic, at the Garden City Library, on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Sponsored by the village’s Property Owners’ Associations, John F. Collins, president and CEO of Winthrop University Hospital and Dr. Michael Ammazzalorso, Winthrop’s Chief Medical Officer provided an overview of the disease along with an update on Winthrop’s preparedness plan.

Dr. Ammazzalorso began his presentation heeding that despite the waning in the press, the disease is still with us. He provided both historical and current day perspectives regarding the epidemic, advising that Ebola is not a new disease. The medical community has been aware of the disease for at least 40 years. Originating in the Congo, Ebola is a zoonosis a disease which has its reservoir in animals and was known for small sporadic outbreaks associated with people who handled bats and rodents or those who consumed bush meat. The current outbreak originated in West Africa, specifically Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. He noted in Africa that more than 45,000 people have died from the disease.


Sports

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes began the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes begin the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, please visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave. Space is limited so please register early.


Calendar

Sultans of String to play

Friday, November 21

Garden City Chamber Music Society Performance

Sunday, November 23

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 24



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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