Park funding at issue

Members of the Jenkins Park Advisory Board, whose appointments were tabled during Ballston's organizational meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 3, met with town board members last week to devise a plan to fix up the 55-year-old park.

At a Jenkins Park informational meeting on Thursday, Jan. 10, advisory board chairwoman Sue Macejka and advisory board member Peter Petrillose met with Supervisor Patti Southworth and town council members Kimberly Ireland and James Briaddy to discuss the difficulties the advisory board has encountered in trying to renovate the park.

We're just spinning our wheels and nothing is happening, said Macejka.

According to Macejka and Petrillose, in past years the park has created plans to construct pavilions with bathroom facilities, an ice -skating rink and even an all-purpose field. All have failed because the park board does not have any money or authority. The park is supported by the district's taxes.

The advisory board plans to send out a letter to residents in the park district making them aware of the park's problems and requesting their presence at a town workshop.

The workshop, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. in the Ballston Town Hall, will give residents in the park district a chance to talk about what they want done with the park.

They may also be able to vote on a referendum, which would place the park under town ownership, so that funding could be drawn from the town's parks and recreation budget.

Another immediate goal of the advisory board is to fill vacancies on the board.

As a special district park, Jenkins Park does not receive funding from the town. It is also difficult to seek grants, although the advisory board has sought them out in the past, according to Macejka. As a result, the park's advisory board has run into problems updating the facilities.

Macejka described the park as a "grassroots" operation, saying the caretaker is often faced with cleaning up vandalism, and picking up trash left behind by parkgoers. She also explained that members of the advisory board have painted the playground equipment in the past.

Ireland and Briaddy saw the need to address the problems in the 42-acre park.

"We would like to provide you the tools and people to help you," Ireland said. ""

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