Albion will pursue spray park, playground for Bullard

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 April 2015 at 12:00 am

ALBION – The Village Board approved a plan for a new spray park and playground for Bullard Park, improvements the village eyes as part of a state grant application.

The village twice before has tried for state grants for park improvements, but was denied. Those applications didn’t include the spray park, and the “splash pad” was identified in a community survey as the top request for Bullard.

The spray park would be the first in Orleans County, and is seen as a draw for Albion, while boosting the quality of life for people in the community, especially on hot days.

Engineering cost estimates say the spray park would be $200,000, with another $50,400 for a utility building for the spray park with bathrooms, $45,000 for storm sewer improvements for the park, $40,000 for playground equipment, $11,000 in parking lot improvements, and other sewer and water main upgrades that bring the total project cost to $551,246.

The spray park is unlikely without the state grant, Bullard Park Committee members have said.

The village has retained Jean O’Connell and Associates from Clarence to write the grant for the project. That fee could be $6,000. O’Connell met with the Village Board on Wednesday and then discussed hiring her company for $34,000 a year to pursue other grants for streets, police, archival records, and other community projects. The Bullard grant would be included in that $34,000.

Mayor Dean London and board members say they would like to hire O’Connell for $34,000 annually, but the board wants to make sure the village can afford it. The board is nearly done with the 2015-16 budget, a spending plan that must be adopted by April 30.

O’Connell said she expects she would seek 10 to 12 grants for the village each year if her company was retained.

Trustee Pete Sidari said the village has struggled to secure grants in recent years without a dedicated grantwriter.

“If we don’t invest the money we won’t get any money in return,” Sidari said. “We need to do something. We’re not getting grants.”