A group of volunteers in mid-July tackled the wild vegetation that had taken over the stone retaining wall on the Hudson Street side of Bingham Park. P.J. Dougherty estimated that 125 to 150 trees were removed.

HAWLEY - A group of volunteers in mid-July tackled the wild vegetation that had taken over the stone retaining wall on the Hudson Street side of Bingham Park.  P.J. Dougherty estimated that 125 to 150 trees were removed. More work needs to be done, higher up where it is harder to reach.

Dougherty, chairman of Hawley Parks & Recreation Commission, reported on the work at the July 31st Commission meeting. The cleanup is just part of the early stage towards the grand park renovation project that was approved by Borough Council in March.

“It was a massive undertaking but we had a great group of guys who were able to knock it out in two days,” he said.

They were able to find some damage to the retaining wall where roots were growing through. They were able to work on some bad spots to put it back together. 

The stone wall along the embankment originally lined the old canal basin that occupied the north half of the park.

A chipper had to be rented and the cost was $750.; Dougherty had tried to arrange for one to be donated but it fell through. The Commission approved reimbursement of this and other expenses.

Mayor Kevin Hawk commended Dougherty for taking action to get the job done.

Two retaining walls were revealed by knocking brush down. A lot of growth lines the top below the guide rail on Hudson Street. “You need to be a billy goat to get up there,” Dougherty said, noting it wouldn’t be safe to climb up with hand tools. He said he has leads on an excavator with a mulched head that would reach down from Hudson Street to cut brush.

Along with Dougherty, Carl Sinawa of Carl Sinawa Tree Service; Joe Kmetz of Kmetz Nursery and Gary Repshar of H & K Material, volunteered.

Political rally

Orlando D. Marrero of Hawley, who is running for the State House of Representatives this year, asked if he could hold a political rally in Bingham Park. After discussion, Parks & Rec gave approval for the rally, which is planned for Saturday, September 29 at 2 p.m.

“I am unsure of the crowd size, it could be just two people, me and my daughter, or it may be 10,000 people,” Marrero said. “Depending on who comes and how my message resonates with the constituents.” He added it would be a simple gathering where they will discuss issues.

He asked for use of the bandstand, and if the crowd is large enough, he’d like use of the ball field.

Parks & Rec discussed the deed restrictions that govern the park. Fundraising is not allowed. Marrero assured that there would be no fundraising.

“I don’t know if we ever had a political rally in the park before,” Monaghan said. “I think this is sort of breaking new territory.” Monaghan had referred the candidate, who first approached full council, to the Parks & Rec Commission for discussion.

He asked about renting the lower ball field, which is bigger than the upper field.

Council President Ann Monaghan cautioned that if it grew very large, the park would not have adequate parking. Marrero said if that were the case he would arrange for shuttles from other parking areas.

“You’re not running for Governor,” Jim Shook said. “I think that would be very adequate space- the upper field.”

Marrero was advised to reserve the bandstand and the upper field (across from Borough Hall). The fees amount to $140.00. Marrero was heading straight to the borough office to make the arrangements.

“My campaign is just starting to get rolling full blast, right now, so I am hoping to generate a lot of excitement going to the election,” Marrero said, although not knowing how many people he can plan on attending.

Marreo, a Democrat, is challenging State Rep. Mike Peifer in the November election for the 139th District.

Also discussed:

• Lighting is on order to illuminate the 9/11 Memorial and the memorial’s flag.

• Two broken pieces on the CJR Memorial Playground will be replaced. The rock mountain climber, will be replaced under warranty. A slider component also needs replacing; a $1500 estimate was provided. P.J. Dougherty is hoping for a donor for the lift equipment, to save some money. The motion to pay the $1500 plus the cost of labor for the mountain climber work, was approved.

“We certainly want to keep the playground as high quality, as best as possible for as long as we can,” Shook said.

Monaghan commented that the county needs to have a line item to help with Bingham Park’s ongoing expenses, if according to the vision put forth for the park to become a “hub” is to be realized. She said that the more people that come to town to enjoy the park, the more issues there will be and costs incurred, and the borough alone cannot afford it on a regular basis.

• Dick Briden suggested that an area of the park be designated for takeoff and landing of drones. He said he has seen them in use. Monaghan commented that they definitely don’t want drones flying near the playground.

• State grant applications for the first phase of the Bingham Park revitalization project were submitted. Word on the outcome is expected this fall. Renovations of the bandstand are a top priority.

• Briden stated that only six or seven of the 11 plots in the Community Garden have been rented. He advised reducing the $35 fee to just to rent a plot for the remainder of the growing season.

Downtown Hawley Partnership started the garden, which is located on the library grounds. Applications are handled through Borough Hall. Each of the raised garden pots are about four by 10 feet.

Hawley Parks & Rec meets on the last Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. at Borough Hall, 94 Main Avenue.