November 30, 2021

First full summer for new city playgrounds

Time for play

Kevin Conlon/contributing photographer

Mason Akins of Homer swings his daughter, Peyton, 3, Monday at Beaudry Park in Cortland. The city has been upgrading equipment at several parks in the past year.

Following a rat problem at Dexter Park in Cortland last year, the playground has since reopened with new mulch.

“It opened last Friday afternoon, April 19,” John McNerney, director of the Cortland Youth Bureau, said last week.

Over the past few weeks, mulch was replaced at the East Side park — a cost originally estimated around $5,000.

Over the summer, the rats migrated to the park from a neighboring property, city officials said in August, drawn there by a neighbor who had been feeding them, intending to feed cats.

Most of Dexter Park, bounded by River, Elm and Franklin streets, was closed Aug. 10 after residents complained of the infestation. The tennis courts and park pavilion remained open.

By September, there were reportedly no rats at the park.

With the playground open, it joins two new more renovated last summer, at Suggett and Beaudry parks.

The Suggett park playground opened last June on Madison Street. The facility, which is now the only inclusive park in the county where people with disabilities can use the equipment, features a glider that accommodates wheelchairs, a whirl — a ground-like merry-go-round — new swings and a sound panel. Poured rubber, expected to last 20 to 25 years, covers the ground.

Beaudry’s 115- by 50-foot playground opened in August on Scammell Street featuring slides, a climbing wall, swings, a climbing tower and platforms and a JAX Web, which looks like a giant spider’s web.

Work on rocket slide at Beaudry continues

Some work remains to be completed on the rocket slide at Beaudry Park in Cortland, funded by $16,000 raised last year. The slide, built in the 1960s, needs work to make it safer, Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin said, including:
• Welding to close gaps on the structure.
• Adding padding to the inner platforms.
• Putting in a protective border and wood chips.
• Adding signs to the slide cautioning that the structure may be hot after sitting in the sun and that it is for ages 5 to 12.
• Repainting the structure red, white and blue.

— Jacob DeRochie

Mason Akins of Homer was pushing his 3-year-old daughter Peyton on Monday afternoon on a swing at Beaudry Park.

He said they visit different city parks, including Beaudry, Suggett and Dexter parks, several days a week on some weeks.

“She likes it,” Mason Akins said. “It keeps her entertained.”

Over at Suggett Park, Justin Wilcox of Groton pushed his daughters, Juniper, 4, and Hazel, 8, on a spinning ride with Lucy Caruso, 3, of Homer.

“We come to this playground because it is awesome,” he said.

“She loves this park,” said Isabella Caruso, Lucy Caruso’s grandmother. “She calls it the green park,” a reference to the new green and black cushioning material that covers the ground.

Going into the summer season, McNerney has hopes for the parks, which will be going into their first full summer.

“We hope they’re well attended,” he said.

“We are very excited about the developments,” said Mayor Brian Tobin. Dexter Park has also seen some upgrades.

Tobin said new work could be seen down the line at Randall Park at Randall and Church streets.

“Randall is on the radar, but we continue to seek out funding,” he said.

City Editor Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.