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VILLAGE HOPES FOR PROGRESS ON PLAYGROUND

Village of Hamburg officials hope to complete drainage work and install new playground equipment at the Brookwood-Kenton Park playground yet this year.

But officials are cautiously optimistic -- noting that the project may not actually be fully completed until next July -- depending on the weather, persistently wet conditions this fall and when the equipment arrives.

"Anything we do, will make a mess and a lot of damage," according to Public Works Superintendent Gerald Knoll.

He was referring to work equipment needed to haul stone onto the site, install equipment and complete drainage remediation.

Knoll said he planned to order the 800 tons of stone needed for the Brookwood-Kenton and Woodview Avenue playgrounds.

"We must anticipate a lot of damage," Knoll said of the Brookwood-Kenton playground. "The equipment going in and out of that park to ready it will (mess up) that whole area."

Village officials even discussed possibly finishing the playground improvements over the winter, if necessary, depending on the conditions.

The playground is in the Forest Glen neighborhood and has been the focus of criticism by some area residents and parents upset by what they termed long-term drainage trouble and outdated equipment.

Residents submitted a 57-signature petition to the village in June, calling for improvements.

So far, some clay removal and grading has been done at the playground -- but more drainage work needs to be done. The playground is situated on former swamp land and village officials have said they doubt whether wet conditions will ever fully be resolved.

Village workers will need to excavate 12 inches into the ground to layer stone for the playground equipment area that will measure about 61 feet by 40 feet.

If workers did the digging far in advance of the equipment arriving, the playground could end up with a "61-foot-by-40-foot bathtub of gravel," depending on the weather, Knoll said.

Once the area is readied, a perimeter drain will be put in around the play area and will then be tied into the existing drainage system.

Recreation Director Thomas Moses said that equipment ordered from Miracle Recreation Equipment Co. in Buffalo for the Brookwood-Kenton site is to be shipped on Nov. 3. A shipping date still is not known for equipment the village bought for the Woodview Avenue playground.

Improvements to both play areas will cost $53,000. To date, the village has spent $5,000 on drainage work at Brookwood-Kenton.

Village Administrator David Fountaine said the village will do its best to complete the Brookwood-Kenton playground this fall and winter. "We owe it to the residents," he said. "But we won't leave open holes laying there."

Meanwhile, the Woodview Avenue playground still is expected to be redone this fall. "I believe I can get Woodview done with less damage," Knoll said.

At the suggestion of Trustee Joseph Lafferty, the village will mail letters to residents who signed the petition updating them on the situation at the Brookwood-Kenton playground. The issue also will be addressed in the village's quarterly newsletter.

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