Big construction project gets started at Bullard Park in Albion
$800K in improvements includes splash pad, amphitheater, new bathrooms and pavilion
ALBION – The bulldozers and other construction equipment arrived on Monday at Bullard Park doing site work for the long-awaited improvements at the village’s most popular park. In the coming months, a splash park, amphitheater, utility building with bathrooms and a pavilion will be constructed.
“I think it’s going to be absolutely great for our community,” said John Grillo, the village’s recreation director. “It will enhance our recreation program.”
The village has park supervisors during the summer and they will be at the splash park during the peak demand hours. The water also will have automatic shut-offs when the splash park isn’t being used.
Grillo expects it will be very popular during the summer.
“There have been days when it’s super hot and we’ve thought about closing the parks because of the heat index,” he said.
The splash park will be near a shaded area next to the playground at the park. Grillo said many local families don’t have swimming pools. The splash pad will provide much-needed relief.
“It’s going to be great for children,” he said.
The village is doing about $800,000 worth of upgrades at the park. The village in December 2016 was awarded a $499,605 state grant for Bullard projects.
The village also received $97,500 from the county and $45,000 from the town of Albion, money that was through a revolving-loan fund that needed to be spent for handicapped accessibility at the park. Those funds will be used for sidewalks to the amphitheater and splash pad, to make them accessible to people in a wheelchair.
“It’s definitely an exciting feat for Albion,” said Mayor Eileen Banker during a ground-breaking celebration on Wednesday.
She thanked community volunteers including the Rebuild Bullard Committee for their work with grants and a vision for park.
“This is going to be something for the kids and for families to have family time and get away from the electronics,” she said.
Zack Burgess has helped organize with the Rock the Park Festival, which is in its sixth year on Aug. 3. Burgess and his band performed in the event, which raised money for the park. He was motivated to improve Bullard for his niece and nephew.
Rock the Park has expanded this year into “Albion’s Summer Festival featuring Rock the Park.” It will include arts and crafts vendors and a kickball tournament. The event is moving to the east end of the park due to the construction.
The amphitheater won’t be ready in time for this year’s festival. The new stage can be used for Rock the Park in the future, as well as other concerts and community events.
Ron Albertson, president of the Lions Club, also helps organize Rock the Park. He sees the amphitheater and the spacious park as a venue for drawing “big name” bands and musicians to Albion.
The park improvements will help distinguish Albion as a community, he said.
“Quality of life means everything,” he said. “We’re competing to draw people to our community.”
The Albion DPW is providing $166,370 of in kind services as part of Albion’s local share for the state grant. The DPW took down a pavilion and storage building last fall to make way for the new utility building. The DPW also ran a new sewer line across Route 31 near the Bullard entrance. That sewer line will service the park.
The DPW also will be running 600 feet of waterline for the splash pad and utility building, several feet of sewer line, and will be doing the electric service for the amphitheater.
Village crews also are hauling stone from Barre Stone Products and moved the concrete sections of the retaining wall for the amphitheater.