To The Editor:
I was unable to attend the last CIP meeting, but I have been actively involved in the Newington Parks and Recreation Department’s budget process to date.
As a long time member and past chairman of the Newington Parks and Recreation Board, I and my fellow Board members strongly support enabling the professional staff to have the tools and funding to maintain our existing facilities.
Over the many years I have served on the Board, the Town has not always supported the Department’s funding requests at reasonable levels.
I can honestly say, the Department does not have any wiggle room in its operating budget for unforeseen problems that arise. Such items include: acts of vandalism, burst pool hot water heaters, stolen picnic tables, vehicle damage to fences and turf, etc.
As you all probably know, the Department in conjunction with the Senior and Disabled Center has successfully secured an AARP grant of over $189,000 to install adult outdoor exercise equipment at Clem Lemire Recreation Complex. The timing of this is perfect, since the Department‘s goal was to replace the antiquated and inaccessible playground at Clem Lemire. So, I am asking you to give your consideration to supporting our request for $100,000.00 to complete this project.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the signing of the ADA federal law and Newington has done little to make advancements in the park system to address the accessibility laws. It’s time that the ADA Walkways, Paths and Parking Project be given some funding to show the federal government that we are showing good faith.
Lastly, we know we can’t get everything, but the Department has been piecemealing the irrigation system together at the Emanuel Christian Academy soccer fields. We have invested about $25,000 into the project so far and anticipate $50,000 more to complete the project. This funding is essential so that we can treat youth soccer fairly and equally in comparison to the other youth sports organizations in town