Supervisor Paula Mahan sits on a new piece of equipment at the Palma Pocket Park on Thursday, Sept. 5. Jim Franco/Spotlight News
COLONIE – Quietly, over the last year or so, the town has upgraded all 12 of its pocket parks with new playground equipment, and other amenities.
A ribbon was cut at The West Albany Pocket Park, located off Exchange Street and I-90, on Thursday, Sept. 5 to signify the completion.
“Some of these pocket parks, and the equipment in them, are from the 1960s so it really brings them back to life for the communities,” said Supervisor Paula Mahan. “We started on our parks a few years ago with our the Town Park and we did a lot of work at the pool with a new filtration system and a splash pad and there is a new playground there as well. And then we moved to the pocket parks and we are kicking off a culmination of all that work today.”
Most of the dozen parks scattered throughout town are smaller, and hidden within neighborhoods. They are largely unknown except to the residents living near them, which adds to their charm and as a valuable amenity for residents living there and adds to their property values.
All told, when work on the Town Park, a new playground to be built on the south end The Crossings, the new splash pad are included, the town has spent some $3 million on improvements.
A chunk of that was covered through the sale of the community center on Central Avenue, another chunk was covered by grants, another chunk by development fees and a chuck with grants, particularly through the office of Assemblyman Phil Steck, who is helping to fund the new park at The Crossings.
The town also turned the land around the water filtration plant on River Road into a passive park that also works to access the bike path along the Mohawk River. The town is also in the process of adding to that park through a pending purchase of land from the Albany County Land Bank, Mahan said.
Pickleball is the up and coming thing among seniors and at West Albany a new court is stripped at West Albany Pocket Park, with work slated for completion next season, and a court will be built too at the Latham Kiwanis Park on Route 2.
“We have a lot of seniors who go south in the winter and a lot of then play pickleball and they want to play up here too,” Mahan said.