HAWLEY - An abbreviated but succinct overview of proposed Bingham Park renovations was given at Hawley Council, November 8th. A more complete discussion will follow at an hour long public meeting, Wednesday, December 13th starting at 6 p.m., just prior to the regular Council meeting at 7 in Borough Hall.
Joe Adams led the quick synopsis. Adams, along with Jim Shook, Ron Schmalzle Craig Smythe are spending their time and energies in a project to benefit their town, but Adams stressed that they are not “investors” - as the newspaper previously stated. Rather, he said, they are “citizens who want to make the park better.”
Maps were displayed, showing the concept they have envisioned, although details are subject to change.
Shook first outlined the proposal at the Borough Parks & Recreation Commission in October.
Adams, a 5th-generation Hawley native, is currently a county commissioner but he said he was here speaking on his own behalf and not in his public role. Shook is the owner of Lake Region IGA; Schmalzle is a teacher at Wallenpaupack; Smythe is the owner of Clemleddy Construction, of Hawley.
“Gem of Wayne County”
“It’s a very large facility, it’s the gem of Wayne County, we all know that,” Adams said of the park. “It’s the nicest park, it’s the largest park, it probably has the most utilization and it’s the keystone for bringing people to Hawley. The number of people that actually use the park, there’s probably a 15 mile radius of people who make it their destination to come and use the park.”
He continued, “It’s expensive to maintain. It hasn’t been maintained well, because of the fiscal constraints of the borough, we all understand that. So I as a citizen, Jim Shook, Ronny Scmalzle and Craig Smythe hired an engineering firm to come… and take a look and give a grand, feasibility study for restoration of the park and secondarily, how to be able to maintain it more efficiently, less expensively and have it be brought up to a hundred percent of the crown jewel we all know that it can be.”
Work has progressed for seven months to develop the concept. As the rendering shows, it incorporates upgrades to ball fields, tennis, skateboard and basketball courts, renovating the bandstand, walking trails, and potential river access for kayaking.
“What we’re asking the borough to do has nothing to do with finance. We have great relationships and great opportunities with our local legislators… they are all friends of ours and friends of yours.” He said that they have opportunity to seek grant money from multiple sources, over a five year period.
Million dollar project
Adams estimated. “What you are seeing in front of you, best guess is somewhere between a million and million and a half dollars of renovations to the park - which are permanent solutions, which will be high-end repairs and done with materials that don’t require high maintenance ongoing.”
Turf in-fields, bleachers, concession stands, walking trails, parking, upgrade to electrical utilities and bandstand renovations are being examined.
“It’s a big project, but it’s a big park and it’s a great park, and it’s a wonderful scenario for all of the communities around Hawley, which we will seek to get contributions for on-going maintenance…,” he said.
They will also try to raise money locally to repair the bandstand,” he added.
Adams told Council that this is an opportunity to bring the borough’s park up to a standard “that it has never been before.” He said this will be a multi-phase project and is a moving target.
Their concept, he said, is to make the park a destination for people to come to Hawley, to shop, tie in with the train and the trails, and do everything they can do that is “oriented around making this park a first class facility.”
“All we are seeking from the borough is your approval because it is your property for us to pursue the opportunity to raise money and upgrade your property at no cost to you, and make it more easily maintainable,” Adams stated. He said that borough council would partner with them, and they would encourage as much public input as possible.
Council President Ann Monaghan asked for a motion to allow the citizen group to pursue more information. Council agreed, unanimously. Monaghan said she could foresee several public meetings as they go through the project.
Adams’ father, the late Gerard “Rod” Adams Jr., served as Hawley mayor starting in the late 1970’s.
Smythe led the effort to finish the part restrooms and toddler playground this year; 41 people were involved, Adams said.
More meeting items will be reported in a separate stories.
Hawley Council meets on the second Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Borough Hall, 94 Main Avenue.