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Committee sees spray park as priority for Bullard

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 March 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Albion DPW Superintendent and Lions Club member Dale Brooks, left, reviews plans for Bullard Park in Albion with Kevin Howard, a Lions Club member, and John Grillo,the recreation director. Annette Finch, in back, is on the Recreation Committee.

ALBION – If the Albion Recreation Committee had its choice for a priority project at Bullard Park, the group said it would favor a spray park.

“We would be a leader in Orleans County is we did this,” said John Grillo, the Albion recreation director. “It would draw people here.”

The committee helped form a master plan for Bullard Park about three years ago that called for reseeded fields, a concession stand, lodge, walking trails, relocated bathrooms, the spray park and a walking trail.

The village sought state funding to help with the project, but was denied in 2012 and 2013. Village officials don’t want to give up on Bullard improvements, but the work will likely have to go in stages and the money may need to come from the local community.

The Lions Club wants to help with upgrades. The Village Board has agreed to create an account in the village – “Rebuild Bullard” – and village staff will process any donations.

The Lions initially thought replacing the main playground equipment might be the first project as part of rebuilding Bullard. But Grillo and Recreation Committee members said they think the spray park would draw more people to Bullard and have the most benefit for the community.

“It would draw a lot of kids and families,” Grillo said after a meeting at Hoag Library to discuss Bullard. “It would be a blast.”

Grillo remembers the popularity of wading pools at two village parks until they were removed about 25 years ago. He sees how spray parks are an attraction in other communities, including Batavia.

The spray parks do not pose a threat of drowning. They have big sprinklers.

The spray park would ideally be located in the center of Bullard, just west of the Pee Wee Park, according to a conceptual plan. If the village can raise the money, bathrooms with a changing area should be next to the spray park. The bathrooms and changing area could be part of a concessions area for the park.

Grillo said the lodge would his choice for a second priority. He sees that at other parks and then are used by the community throughout the year.

Annette Finch, Recreation Committee member, said the lodge could function as a senior citizen center for seniors to play cards and have meetings. Holley and Medina both have sites for seniors, but Albion doesn’t have a site.

The village will seek a rendering for the improvements that can be showed to the public, as well as cost estimates for the projects.

The Lions Club and village leaders also said they will try to get a sense of community support – in terms of dollars – that can be raised for the project. The village may reach out to neighboring townships and the county for financial contributions to make the projects happen.

The Lions scheduled a meeting for 7 p.m. on April 15 at Hoag for the next session at the park.