Tappan Reformed Church Pastor Donald Hoover presented a plan to the Orangetown Town Council Tuesday for improvements to the park between the church and Greenbush Road.
The plan, initially suggested by the American Legion, includes the removal and replacement of trees that are overgrowing memorial within the park and paving a path that will run from the north to the south end of the park.
The flagpole would also be moved to the center of the park. It is currently off to one side due to changes in the dimension of the park that were part of the work on Greenbush Road. Hoover also suggested adding a monument to veterans of all wars at the north end of the park.
"Walter Jackson from the American Legion is here. This began as their idea," Hoover said. "What we want to do is continue the good work done paving the streets in town. We want to make this kind of the anchor of main street.
"We've put significant assets into our won building improving it and we think the same thing should happen here."
Hoover said that he has heard from many people who can't even see the memorials at the north and south ends of the park due to the overgrowth of the trees around them.
They would be replaced by Shadberry Trees, which are smaller, growing to a maximum size of 15 to-20 feet tall. They are also native to the area, so they should thrive in the park. Shadberry Trees also provide a variety of looks with the seasons, including white flowers in the spring and berries in the summer as well as the changing leaves in the fall.
"They are much smaller trees and they will greatly improve the appearance of the green itself and improve the safety of the green," Hoover said.
The five-foot-wide walkway would connect the memorials at each end and the flagpole in the middle.
"I met with Councilman (Tom) Diviny and Pastor Hoover and went over the outline of what they are talking about here," said Orangetown Highway Superintendent James Dean. "There is now no way to maneuver back and forth here (pointing the middle of a picture of the park) and it is long. The idea is to connect these ends and enhance the park."
"It does go hand-in-hand with what we're doing in the Hamlet of Tappan," Diviny said. "It is an extension of what is already there and honoring veterans in a way they deserve to be honored."
Dean listed the costs of the work as follows:
- $3,200 for new trees
- $19,650 for paving
- $2,800 to replace topsoil
The total cost to the town would be $25,806, but Dean said there are funds available as part of the bond issued for road work in Tappan, which is coming in under budget.
"We're $99,000 under budget," Dean said. "It would be a bonded item, but it could be added to that bond."
Dean said that the trees that have to be removed would be taken out in the winter, with replacements planted in the spring.
Councilman Denis Troy said it would be important to keep the community informed so they would understand why the existing trees are being cut down, pointing to past criticism of such work.
"The park is definitely a great asset to the town," Troy said. "This sounds very promising."
Orangetown Director of Finance also made a presentation as part of Tuesday's workshop regarding the distribution of community funding, which will likely be capped at $40,000.
"I've come up with a preliminary recommendation to share with the town supervisor," Richardson said. "We will be sending something to you in the next few days.
"My recommendation is to cap any group at a maximum of $5,000 to allow us to distribute the rest to more organizations."
Troy said he would like to come to a consensus so the board can vote on community funding at its meeting Aug. 23.