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New Lebanon gets a new playground the “community way”


NEW LEBANON – On Sunday, June 12, there was a community day at the Shatford Park pavilion on state Route 22 in Lebanon Springs featuring music, community information tables, a roast pig and more. The centerpiece of the event was the ribbon cutting that put into service a large new playground at the park, with swings, a network of climbing bars and platforms and teeter-totters.

New Lebanon Town Supervisor Colleen Teal thanked several people, making it clear that the playground was truly a community effort. Senator Kathleen Marchione (R-43) also spoke to the gathering, noting that her office received no requests for money for the project.

“You did it the right way, the community way,” she said.

24 16news New Leb playground ribbon with photo
Two year-old Nico Dort of New Lebanon gave the apparatus a close inspection at the newly opened playground at Shatford Park. Photo by David Lee

It all began last November when the decommissioned Stephentown Elementary School was being sold. Owners announced that there the playground equipment was free for anybody who could remove it from its concrete foundation before January 1. Linda Hursa, a local entrepreneur and community activist, heard about the equipment and called New Lebanon’s incoming supervisor, Ms. Teal and Deputy Supervisor Cynthia Creech.

According Supervisor Teal, the removal required that the metal posts had to be cut from their concrete foundations. Frank Zwack, Jr., who has a fabrication business in Stephentown, provided metal work at cost. His company welded the appropriate length back to the legs of the apparatus.

A group of community volunteers was mustered to create a new playground at the Shatford Park.

“I know New Lebanon,” said Ms. Teal at Sunday’s dedication. “We may not have a lot of money but we have dedicated residents.”

Tistrya Houghtling was stepping in as new town clerk as Ms. Teal vacated the office to become the new supervisor. She said, “We have been in need of a good playground since I was a child in the community and I just can’t give enough credit and thanks to Teal who was still town clerk when the project started.”

Deputy Supervisor Creech explained that by the time the decision was made to take the equipment, “we basically had one day to get the thing down, and it’s been bare knuckles from the ground up.”

The installation was accomplished in four weekends starting May 14. “The first weekend we had 20 residents digging, assembling, and pouring concrete.” said Ms. Teal. “We started with 280 bags of concrete and needed 200 more.”

Special thanks was given to D&J Excavating of Stephentown for their assistance with the site preparation. Eight inches of coarse wood chips were donated by the Columbia County Highway Department, and on top of that, 4 inches of soft chips were added. The playground, according to Ms. Creech, was completed at a cost of just over $5,000.

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