The Dobbs Ferry Village Board has approved a resolution to request bids for construction of the new playground at the eight-acre Gould Park. The old playground was razed during the construction of the new pool.
During the board’s Feb. 9 meeting, Superintendent of Recreation Kendra Garrison presented drawings and renderings, done pro bono by local architect John Rapetti, of the proposed playground. The presentation included an estimated construction budget.
The playground, between the pool and Washington Avenue, is designed with different areas for 2-to-5-year-olds and 5-to-12-year-olds, with age-appropriate equipment for each group. The younger children will have an “imagination” play area. The older children’s play structure is more complex, with multiple climbing features and a slide.
A swing set comprises two bucket swings for toddlers, three child-size swings, and one adaptive swing for children with less upper body mobility. There’s also a tire swing. “It’s a throwback to the old playgrounds, to see how fast you can spin it around,” Garrison noted.
The playground will include a market area “where they can pretend they’re selling things,” she added, and natural elements such as logs and large stones, lying prone, for climbing.
The estimated budget for this work is $325,000. It will be funded by a $150,000 three-year Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from Westchester County, to be matched by the Village. The additional $25,000 must be provided by third-party fundraising, by the end of 2021; by law, a government body cannot seek funding.
According to Garrison, the volunteer Friends of Gould Park group has raised $31,000 so far,“However, some of it has been specifically allocated, for plantings, trees, etcetera, and cannot be used toward the equipment match,” she clarified.
On its website, www.gouldpark.com, where donations can be made, the Friends group offers sponsorship opportunities, and explains that fundraising is ongoing for separate elements, including hammocks, nature play, pollinator gardens, and landscaping.
Trustee Michael Patino remarked on important elements that aren’t included in the proposal as it stands. “What’s not in the proposal is landscape work, access from Ashford Avenue, and a few amenities… infrastructure for a farmers’ market food truck, and pathways. Is there a budget for those other items?”
Garrison said the rec department is looking into those elements, including a staircase from Ashford Avenue, but doesn’t have the final costs yet, noting that the estimate for the stair access at the spring 2019 start of the new Gould Park pool construction was $65,000.
Trustee Nicole Sullivan brought up an issue that must be addressed. “There is no bathroom outside the pool area… It’s a big issue, having a park without a bathroom. We reached out to the school district, but this wasn’t in their budget last year.” The Dobbs Ferry High School football and baseball teams play at Gould Park. The bathroom will be part of the next phase of the project.
Trustee Maura Daroczy inquired about seeking funding from the major institutions in the village, such as Mercy College and The Masters School, but Mayor Vincent Rossillo responded that the Friends could do the necessary funding. Garrison said that the Friends had reached out to corporations and businesses in the village.
Disan Davis, a member of the Friends’ Playground Fundraising Committee, explained that the committee had received a lot of support from residents and smaller businesses.
“I want to emphasize that the money raised had come from lots of people giving, in different amounts, from a dollar to a few thousands,” she stated. “It really represents lots of people in our community coming together to support this park, not just the playground, to have somewhere nice for people to gather… we’re really eager to have the playground ready to use this summer.”