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May 23, 2013

Community comes together to build playground


By Michelle Miller The Cooperstown Crier
Cooperstown Crier

---- — The quotation, “If you build it, he will come” from the 1989 film “Field of Dreams” is often slightly altered to “If you build it, they will come.”

That is exactly what Gloria Waro believes might happen in Hartwick. Waro said this Saturday while volunteering to help assemble a new playground in the town of Hartwick.

“I believe if we create a family-friendly community, then people will chose to live here,” she said.

Waro is not the only one excited to see the new addition to the town’s recreation area on Wells Avenue (also known as School Street).

Rylie and Gareth Austin said they cannot wait for it to be finished. The siblings, who live at the end of the street, said they already spend a lot of time there playing.

“I’m excited to have a real playground, not just monkey bars and stuff,” Gareth, 10, said.

There are already some swings, a teeter totter and other play equipment at the recreation area. Most of that will stay where it is, with the exception of the old jungle gym bars.

Gareth and his 7-year-old sister said they wanted to come help build the playground because they feel it will give them a better appreciation for it.

“More people will probably come here now,” Gareth said. “The street will definitely be a lot more popular.”

The children’s father, Tavis Austin, is the administrative assistant for Hartwick. On Saturday, he said that if everything goes according to plan, the playground should be ready for use by today. 

According to Town Supervisor David Butler, the town bought the playground equipment from Play & Park Structures last fall with matching funds and chose not to pay an additional $18,000 for it all to be assembled. Instead, community members and contractors took on the task.

“The company had a deal going where you basically got a $40,000 playground for $20,000,” he said. “We paid $20,000 plus shipping.”

According to design plans, the final structure will be about 37 by 55 feet. It is being placed between the basketball court and the street and will feature a dueling spiral landslide, a bottom climb, the Avalanche (three sides), a fireman’s pole, the Single Mountain, a math panel, the Coil Climber Rainwheel, the Wiggle Wave Climber, a single velocity wave slide and a horizontal ladder.

Adjacent to the play area is a ball field being used by the Cooperstown Youth Baseball for T-ball and baseball, Butler said.

The town of Hartwick offered the organization the use of a 35-acre property for its baseball and softball complex.

“The new fields are not all quite done yet, so they are not able to use them,” he said. “They are close.”

Delays in getting permits and problems with bad weather have slowed construction. Ultimately, there will be separate fields for softball and major league and minor league baseball as well as grassy areas for T-ball and rookie leagues. There are also plans for a clubhouse.