‘GEM IN HAMLET’
The new park features porcupine climbing trees, a climbing wall, stepping stones, a swing and traverse climber, as well as sand box and triple slide. There are also several interpretive signs created by Sheri Amsel along the quarter-mile loop trail.
Within the park are several musical stations, featuring bells, bongo drums, a whale drum and a pebble harp. The harp creates an infinite number of notes and cadences as pebbles are inserted at the top and randomly hit metal rods on the way down.
Though new, unfortunately, the park has already had problems with vandalism. Three bells situated along the trail were removed and found in the river by a fisherman. In another incident, someone built a campfire, oblivious to the dry leaves and nearby homes.
“The Elizabethtown Footbridge Park is a gem in the midst of our hamlet,” said Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley. “It’s a place that provides rest and recreation for folks of all ages.
“I hope the problem with vandalism will decrease as more people use the park. Problems happen when parks are empty, not when they are busy.
“Like the footbridge that spans the river, Footbridge Park spans many generations. Schools groups, grandparents, fishermen and toddlers can always find something to do at the park,” she said.
Through the efforts of Buehler, Parker and others, proposals were submitted and awarded to rehabilitate the footbridge and create Footbridge Park. The concept of a natural playground and accessible trail were provided by Essex County Public Health staff and put into motion with the approval of both the Town Council and the Elizabethtown Planning Board.
Funding came from the New York State Department of Health’s Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play grant, via Essex County Public Health, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, via the Town of Elizabethtown. Total funds expended on the project amounted to $113,900.