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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 Garden City Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for the 35th annual Fall Festival Street Fair set for Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Seventh Street. The chamber thanks the Garden City Hotel which will serve as the primary event sponsor.

JGS entertainment will return for the 16th year as master ceremonies providing music and vocals. There will be plenty of activities for the kids. Included will be the return of the two trackless trains carrying children 12 years of age and younger up and down Seventh Street sponsored by Coach Realtors and Garden City Teachers Association. There will be the traditional inflatable bouncy house sponsored by SMPL Technologies and the ever-popular money cube sponsored by Calogero’s and Leo’s. The Garden City Parks and Recreation Department will have giveaways and temporary tattoos.

Ever since the Garden City School District passed a $36.8 million School Investment Bond back in 2009, the upgrades throughout the district have been quite substantial. And while most of it has gone towards infrastructure, external visible improvements have rightfully been a source of pride for the board, which has taken to conducting tours at the different schools preceding the monthly public meetings that are normally held at Garden City High School. On the night of the school board meeting held on Tuesday, Oct. 14  at the Homestead Building, the school board, administration and Superintendent Dr. Robert Feirsen went on a guided tour of the building by Homestead Principal Dr. Suzanne Viscovich.

Feirsen described the tour as a new tradition started last year where administration travels around each of the district’s school buildings in the Fall to observe its current offerings and recent upgrades.


Sports

Reminder

With the fall sports season upon us, the department of recreation and parks would like to remind all residents that pets are not allowed in any neighborhood parks, Community Park, or St. Paul’s fields. Non compliance with this rule will result in the issuance of appearance tickets.

Register For The Online Registration Option

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks will offer the option of online registration with credit card payment beginning with its winter programs in early December.

In order for a family to use the online registration option, the family will first need to visit the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave. to verify residency and their family information and receive their password.  A list of instructions as to how to use the website will be included.

Stretching tips for the high school athlete

Prior to the start of high school running season, Garden City’s Physical Therapy Options (PTO) had an opportunity to provide a presentation to members of Sacred Heart Academy’s cross country team. Team members gathered at Garden City’s New York Running Company to learn strategies and tips for a successful fall season.

PTO staff members Dr. Meghan Goetz, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and PTO Aide Mike Murphy discussed the importance of stretching to prevent injury and provided strategies and tips for success for the high school runner.


Calendar

Garden City High School Homecoming

Saturday, October 25

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, October 27

A Map Of Artistic Inspiration

Saturday, November 1



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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