August 16, 2013

Editorial: Pay attention to city parks


---- — The City of Plattsburgh prides itself for its recreational programs and venues. As well it should, as city parks are generally kept in good shape and clean by its Recreation Department.

The crown jewel in the park system, in our opinion, is Melissa L. Penfield Park and the adjoining Lefty Wilson baseball field on Boynton Avenue.

With its abundance of playground equipment, skateboard park, dog walk and picnic area, it’s a well-used venue during the spring, summer and autumn months. Most days the park is full of kids and parents.

The baseball fields, the regulation ball field at Lefty Wilson and the Little League field behind it at Penfield, are extremely busy for weeks during the baseball season. The soccer/football field is usually in full swing during late summer and fall.

And the Community Garden at Penfield is thriving because of the steady, loving care of its users.

That said, we do find issue with the restroom facilities at Penfield Park. A tour of the lavatories on Wednesday revealed that the toilet in the men’s restroom, which has been broken for many weeks, has yet to be repaired.

And the portable toilet situated behind the ball fields, used as a backup to the restrooms in the building constructed specifically for the purpose, hasn’t been pumped since who knows when.

Compounding the problem is that a sign on the men’s toilet — telling patrons the equipment is broken — refers potential users to the nasty port-a-potty that’s full and stinky.

Like many municipalities across New York state, the city is stretched thin to maintain its service to residents and taxpayers. Costs to repair streets, water and sewer lines, equipment and other necessary things keep escalating with no end in sight.

However, repairs of a toilet and the pumping of a portable toilet, minor expenses in the greater scheme of things, won’t break the bank. Good upkeeping of restroom facilities is a small price to pay to attract visitors to the city and its recreation venues and get them to come back.

The majority of park users are residents of the city and the surrounding area. But there are many out-of-area folks who watch their children play competitive sports at these recreation centers. And the playgrounds and other entities are used by tourists when visiting the area. What impression do they get when faced with inoperable or dirty toilets? Not a good one, that’s for sure.  

 The city has to take as much pride in its recreational parks as its residents.