College joins community-wide “labor of love” to build new playground at Hasbrouck Park

From left: SUNY New Paltz University Police Department Lieutenant Johnny Coxum, Officer Tyler Pece and Officer Ryan Law. Sept. 26, 2019

The Village of New Paltz coordinated an all-hands-on-deck effort to construct a new children’s playground in Hasbrouck Park, just down the road from the SUNY New Paltz campus, and dozens of students, faculty and staff turned out to support the project.

Hundreds of volunteers worked from Sept. 25 – 29 to create a new, safe and long-lasting structure, similar in design to the playground that had been in the park since 1995, also created through a volunteer-driven effort.

Among those workers were many members of the SUNY New Paltz community. Multiple athletics teams and student organizations went down to support the project, and the Career Resource Center helped coordinate additional student involvement. Members of the University Police Department also dropped by to lend a hand.

Other community members found their own ways to contribute. Doug and Teresa Thompson, owners of Main Street Bistro, led an effort to coordinate donations from multiple restaurants from around town, to keep volunteers fed and hydrated throughout their shifts.

“We’re relying so much on our community to volunteer, including our college community, and New Paltz has come out in a big way,” said Village Trustee Michele Zipp, who served as volunteer co-coordinator for this project.

“This is literally a labor of love – everyone is donating their time to create this for kids,” Zipp said. “If you think about it, playgrounds are really amazing. They’re where kids are able to have imaginative play, and where caretakers and parents and babysitters can come and hang out and get to know their neighbors.”

The finished product: In just five days, the Village of New Paltz was able to open a new community resource. Photographed on Sept. 30, 2019

The old playground had served the Village well for about 24 years, but there were clear signs it was nearing the natural end of its life cycle.

“We got a great lifespan from the previous playground,” said Zipp. “It still looks amazing – people don’t realize how many repairs have been done – but some of the wooden parts are starting to wear down, which can be dangerous with kids getting splinters.”

The new Hasbrouck Park playground is made of mostly recycled composites, which should be safer and more durable while remaining environmentally friendly.

It was designed by Leathers & Associates, an Ithaca, New York, based firm that also designed the 1995 build. Their design incorporates new technologies and accessibility best practices for 21st century playgrounds.

“The new park will be very much in the same style as the old one, but it’s upgraded with materials that will last longer, with no splinters,” Zipp said. “It’s just a better park for kids of all different needs.”

Volunteers from the campus chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega co-ed service fraternity. Sept. 27, 2019

Read more about the Hasbrouck Park playground build at The Other Hudson Valley, or better yet, swing by Mohonk Ave in New Paltz and see it in person.