Ski Bowl Park Committee receives major grant

NORTH CREEK The Ski Bowl Committee in North Creek recently received a grant that will give Johnsburg youths something to look forward to. The application for the grant was made with kids in mind, but more specifically, for adolescents who are too old for some of the programs and developments currently in place. We were looking to do something for the older kids, to give them a place to go where they can get out in the sunshine with other kids and be active, said committee member Andrea McKee. It all started about a year and a half ago when a number of community meetings were held to figure out what Johnsburg citizens wanted to see done within the ski bowl park that would engage members of the community. The meetings were well attended; since the grant had to be written to specific purposes, a survey listing several ideas for the park was handed out. After the surveys were filled out and collected, the most popular options were slated to be implemented with the help of the grant. The grant, which is provided by The New York State Office of Parks and Recreation, came as somewhat of a surprise to McKee and the other Ski Bowl Committee members, who were not sure that their request would be fulfilled. I kind of think we got the grant because they could see that it was a grassroots effort. McKee said. Weve been working up to this short term plan of action; we got almost 100 people to fill out the survey. Over the course of a year we had different committees figuring out where to put things in the park and what we could do. According to McKee, the grant will fund a multi-part project. First, the tennis courts will be resurfaced, with the help of the Johnsburg Central tennis team. The four courts will be resurfaced, two will remain tennis courts, one will continue to be used for basketball, and the other will be used as part of a new skate park. Also, modules and a half pipe will need to be purchased to form the skate park. A skate park committee has been very involved in the push to develop this section of the plan and will volunteer time to help build it. At the beach, the grant will help provide a new activities dock, that will include features such as a rope swing and trampoline. Finally, an 8 and older playground that received a large portion of the votes on the survey will go on the strip of land next to the water where there is currently a small play set. The playground will feature a climbing wall and other highlights that will target older kids. A water slide will also be stationed there. McKee, who is heading up this part of the project, is particularly excited about the development of the playground. Well figure out what we want to put there and will be given three designs from that. When we agree on a design, we get the materials list and go out and try to raise some of the materials. she said. In addition, the grant will help update several facilities at the park. The grant will need to be matched, which means that the ski bowl committee will be responsible for raising half of the money to be put toward the project. One way that this will be achieved is through volunteer work. Among the ideas is a plan is to hold a barn-raising weekend, where volunteers can come and help erect the playground in a short two or three days. The state will pay volunteers minimum wage; that money can then go toward matching the grant. Hopefully, the project can be completed this summer. Were coming down to the stretch; the thought is that this can be done this year. McKee said. This is a new and exciting direction for the Ski Bowl Committee; where many ideas for the park have come into play, this one focuses largely on local kids and its implementation is well within sight. The Ski Bowl Committee has been advising the direction of the ski bowl park for four years now, with major emphasis on working with ORDA and Gore Mountain. After the ORDA contract came through, many felt that it left some things to be desired. When McKee became the new head of the committee, the call went out for more people to get involved and for new ideas to be brought to the plate. The thought was, its our park, what do we want for the people in our town? McKee said. There have been lots of ideas for the park, and Im all for it, but we are trying to figure out what we can do in the mean time so that the kids have a good place to go and be kids. Several people have been especially involved in launching the short-term action plan, including Kelly Nestle, who along with McKee sought the grant from the NYSOPR. When McKee stepped down from chair of the committee in October, Jill Broderick took her place and has since been taking charge over the committees actions. Joel Beaudin, who has worked with grants in the town before, has been overseeing the complicated grant process. Others, including Heather Butler and Cork Nestor, who respectively head up the tennis team and the skate park committee, have stepped up to volunteer their resources. As the plan is being developed, more people have offered their time and services. The Ski Bowl Park Committee will be looking for volunteers to help in making the plan a reality this summer. If you are interested, dont hesitate to give Andrea McKee a call at 251-2299. With team work, big things can happen in a short amount of time!

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