Town funds indoor plumbing for outdoor rec site

CHATHAM – The Town Board passed a motion December 20 to borrow $225,000 for the design and construction work needed to finish the pavilion at Crellin Park. The board is still working on the details for the project, which would include adding a kitchen and bathrooms to the pavilion near the swimming area at the town park.

In 2013 the town demolished the previous pavilion near the pond. It had a snack bar, kitchen, bathrooms and changing rooms but could not be used because of problems with the foundation. The board at that time contracted to have a roof built and the board seasonally rents portable toilets for that part of the park. Board members have discussed rebuilding the pavilion for several years.

There is a pavilion with bathrooms in another area in the park that is used during the summer day camp program and for other park events.

Newly appointed board member Michael Richardson had some questions for his fellow board members about the plans for upgrades to the swimming area pavilion. The current plans submitted to the board proposes work that would cost about $297,000. Supervisor Maria Lull reviewed the plans, suggesting the board take out some of the work to get the total cost closer to $250,000. The board plans to use money in a reserve fund to pay for part of the project.

Mr. Richardson questioned spending that much money for the six-week summer program. “What’s the demand for this?” he asked, saying he hadn’t seen the survey other board members had on what residents wanted in the park.

Board members Kevin Weldon and John Wapner, who are on the town’s Recreation Committee, talked about groups renting the pavilion currently and the income it brings to the park. They discussed keeping the plans for an oven in the new kitchen saying that it would draw more groups to using the space.

“It’s a little bit of a ‘Field of Dreams,’ if you build it, they will come,” said Mr. Weldon of upgrades to the space.

Mr. Richardson said that getting more groups to use the space for a fee could be a good investment for the town but he said, “the public hasn’t been educated on this.” He said the board needed to do a little “PR on this.”

Ms. Lull said that the board was borrowing the money now, from the Bank of Greene County, because interest rates are low, and payments on the loan would not start until 2020.

Final plans for the project will continue to be discussed by the board.

Also at the meeting:

• During the Recreation Committee report, Councilman Wapner said the board is looking into skating rink or have skating on a small body of water at Crellin Park. He said the community had asked for skating in a recreation survey. Supervisor Lull said the insurance cost to the town would be $220 for skating.

Mr. Wapner also talked about the Children’s Garden Program, which is held during the summer at Crellin Park. He said the town is taking over the garden program during the town’s summer recreation program. Mr. Wapner said “CARP is taking on the fundraising,” to continue the program at no cost to taxpayers. CARP (Chatham Area Recreation Project) is a not-for-profit organization started to help with fundraising and scholarships for the town’s summer program, and other programs at the park

•The board voted to allow the Tri-Village Fire Company to pay for enhanced health insurance coverage. Due to a new state law, fire companies must have insurance to cover some forms of cancer for some of their volunteer firefighters. The county is paying for the basic insurance coverage for local fire companies, but the basic insurance does not cover all forms of cancer that firefighters might suffer from. The Tri-Village Fire Company is making up the difference for the enhanced coverage from the company’s budget.

The next regular board meeting will be Thursday, January 17 at 6 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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