Warwick's long-term recreational needs studied

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:49

    WARWICK-As the town grows, so does the need for adequate recreational facilities. The town board agreed last week to hire a recreational planner to help determine the best use of existing facilities and to help plan for future growth. The Laberge Group in Albany will be paid up to $40,000 by the town for its planning services. "The town continues to get requests for the use of fields and for additional fields," said Supervisor Michael Sweeton. "The board just needs to understand what our needs will be. We'd like a road map before we start to spend the money." The town has been getting many requests for additional recreational facilities, said Sweeton, and is at the point where there is the potential to invest large amounts of money. "We decided to look into using all facilities throughout the town — including the school's facilities," Sweeton said. "We needed help." The town solicited 12 planners and received six proposals. After interviewing all six, they asked three back, then two and finally agreed on the Laberge Group. This group has done projects primarily in central New York, Sweeton said, but has a plan underway in Chester. Already, recreational programs throughout the town have literally thousands of participants. The soccer club services about 1,500 children, while Little League has 1,200. A new lacrosse league has formed, with about 200 kids. There is also the existing football program and a budding roller hockey league. The study will include all town and village facilities, including the Greenwood Lake beaches, according to Sweeton. The town has parks in Pine Island, on Union Corners Road, which is home to the soccer league, and on Airport Road. Some facilities have had recent renovation, including Pine Island. This study will incorporate input from the town's Recreation Committee, which has served the town board for many years, giving direction to the town's programs. Also, the individual sporting groups are working with the town to help maintain facilities. Sweeton was planning on meeting with members of the Laberge Group yesterday to develop the scope of the project and decide on a price. He expects it may cost $30,000, and plans to look for grant money to pay for half of it. "This will be money well invested," said Sweeton. "We don't want to go from situation to situation. We hope to have a good play for the next 10-15 years." Sweeton expects the report to be done within six to eight months.