By Matthew Reitz
Upgrades to Fulton’s Recreation Park, including a new boat launch, playground equipment and restored pavilion, will move forward this summer.
Officials with Friends of Fulton Parks, the nonprofit that has been coordinating the endeavor, say the first phase of the project is fully funded and set to begin this summer with the installation of strength and conditioning equipment designed for teenagers.
The equipment was selected with help from students at Fulton Junior High School, who were asked to choose items that are of particular interest to their age group.
The second phase, also expected to begin this year, will restore the existing pavilion structure and add a cement floor with a wheelchair-accessible ramp. The existing slide and swing set at the park are still functional and will remain in place, FOFP officials say.
A third phase of the project, currently scheduled for 2016, would install ropes and other climbing equipment geared toward helping children improve their agility.
Kelley Weaver of Friends of Fulton Parks said the estimated cost for all three phases of the project is $375,000.
The project is being funded mostly through state funds acquired by state Sen. Patricia Ritchie’s office and Friends of Fulton Parks. Weaver said “a significant portion” of the second and third phases are covered, but FOFP is still looking to make up the difference.
The organization still needs to raise $87,000 for the project, according to Weaver. She said the group has been able to collect over $40,000 to date with contributions from local businesses and residents.
“Support from service organizations, the Fulton YMCA, local businesses, residents and former residents of all ages, and the city council and parks department has been overwhelmingly positive,” Weaver said.
Several community groups and businesses have been working hand-in-hand with FOFP in efforts to both raise money for park upgrades and clean the parks for the season. The latest to join the efforts is the GRB Class of 1975, which will be celebrating its 40th class reunion this summer. As part of their reunion, class members have been raising funds to contribute to the Recreation Park restoration project.
“Their goal was $2,000,” Weaver said, “and they may surpass that goal.”
Collen Madigan, a Class of ’75 member, said she felt “very fortunate” to have grown up in Fulton, and thought donating to the restoration of Recreation Park was a way to give back to the community. Madigan said she “enjoyed the simple joys of childhood” in Fulton’s parks.
“My classmates and I enjoyed Recreation Park, Stevenson Beach, swimming at Lake Neatahwanta, family picnics, baseball games, roller skating, and even our graduation at the War Memorial,” Madigan said.
Anyone who would like to help with the project or fundraising can contact Friends of Fulton Parks at FriendsofFultonParks@gmail.com.
By Matthew Reitz