Usage still strong despite a wet season
Despite having had an uncharacteristically rainy summer, recreational facilities in the Town of Bethlehem were still successful when they were open, according to the recently released 2009 Parks and Recreation Department Annual Report.
The report shows usage dropping slightly at some of the town’s six parks, as well as at the Colonial Acres Golf Course, where the high volume months of June, July and August saw heavy rains.
Nearly 1,200 fewer rounds of golf were played in 2009 versus 2008.
Still the 9-hole course turned a profit, largely because not having facilities in use saves on the expenditures side.
We try to not have the golf course open if the weather’s inclement, we try to control overtime, Parks and Recreation Direct Nan Lanahan said.
That does not include work done on a $40,000 maintenance garage at the course, which is coming out of the Parkland Set Aside Fund. Thus far, a concrete foundation has been poured and a frame erected. Lanahan hopes the garage can be completed by early summer.
`I think we’ve made significant progress because we’ve had a fairly mild winter,` she said.
There was a similar story at the town pool complex at the Elm Avenue Park, where revenues of $179,000 were $20,000 above expenditures. That’s a slight decrease from the previous year’s revenues, but also a drop in expenditures, said Lanahan.
A week of the pool’s operation was trimmed from the end of the season as a cost saving measure. That time has typically been the least busy time for the pool. No decision on whether to keep the same schedule this summer has been made.
Pool attendance in 2009 was over 47,000.
One area that saw a slight increase in both use and revenue was pavilion and warming area reservations. The town’s six facilities brought in over $21,000 in 2009, as families took to the parks for some low-cost recreation.
`People are staying around and having their picnics around home,` Lanahan said. `If we’d had a better summer last year weather wise I think we would have seen bigger numbers.`
She added that while the Elm Avenue Park remains the best known in town, the Henry Hudson Park has been seeing more use and interest.
`We still have people who don’t know Henry Hudson Park exists,` Lanahan said. `But once people have been down to Henry Hudson Park and seen it, they want to have their next event there.`
The Parks and Recreation Department is also responsible for employing a large number of area youth, especially for summer programs. 219 jobs were filled through the youth employment services branch of the department. Local groups also donated 2,700 volunteer hours.
Besides finishing up the golf course garage, the Parks and Rec Department has work on the Henry Hudson Park’s shoreline stabilization study, the completion of an upgrade to the pool’s filtration system and the start of improvements to the Moh-He-Con-Nuck Nature Preserve to look forward to next year.
At Mo-He-Con-Nuck, access from River Road must be built and a parking area installed before the first trail cuts can be made into the 53-acre site. The master plan for the land calls for an extensive trail network that will be added to in phases, along with some passive elements like picnic tables. The project presents a new challenge for rec department staff, Lanahan said.
`It’s kind of a different project for us considering it’s a nature preserve and not an active recreation area,` she said.