“We just ask that they use it with care,” said Cordata.
Some kids, especially the younger ones, are often escorted by their parents, but local teens use it as a hang-out spot, too. Mostly, the community treats the playground well, though a notable case in the late '90s is still fresh in her mind.
The playground once featured a very old-style, heavy metal slide bolted to the ground at the school. Following a weekend break, Cordata returned to see the slide's spot sitting empty. The custodian had no idea what happened, and Cordata was amazed that someone even managed to get the heavy slide out of the playground.
Even with such an exceptional case of mistreatment and the litterbugs that leave McDonald's wrappers around, Cordata said they're aren't going to limit public access with a fence.
“We know they don't have places to go,” she said.
The last public playground was put together with fundraising and labor from the community, but was built at the old Champlain village school. There was a court there for tennis that was available to the village residents even after the school had closed. But as the property changed hands among a couple private buyers, it became much harder for residents to get access and the court and playground decayed.
“It became an area that people did not want to use because it was in such a state of disrepair,” said Martin.
For the playground, the board's planning on standard swings and slides playground equipment, but they want to be very careful about safety and liability following injuries at Lake Placid's Paw Print Park in November.
The spot should be a hub for village activity as it's next to the community garden, which is planned to get bigger this year. Martin hopes that activity helps breathe life back into the faded downtown.