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SEP 22 - SEP 29, 2015

Academy Park Has Seen Better Days, Should We Fix That?

By Daria Jurek

SEP 22, 2015


I make no apologies for the fact that one of my favorite places to visit is Lewiston.

It is a beautiful village with well-kept buildings and a wonderful streetscape. It is a densely populated community and the only large area of open property in the Village of Lewiston is Academy Park.  It hosts several festivals each year and is also the seasonal home of the town’s ice rink during the winter.

But for as pristine as the rest of the village is, Academy Park seems to have seen better days.

There are two small areas on opposite corners of the park that house the village’s visitor center and a veteran’s memorial that are both beautiful.  But the rest of the park is in my opinion somewhat shabby and run down, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the village.

I visited there earlier this summer and the skirting on the front of the band shell was actually falling off, and the boards that made up the seats of the large stands in front of it were twisted, warped, and badly in need of replacement.  The stands themselves are very old, and one has to be very cautious stepping up onto them or getting off of them because of the fact that the first step is double the height of the others. The stairs are made of concrete and have no doubt been there for many years and I am surprised someone hasn’t been injured using them. But I’m even more surprised that an obviously unsafe situation has been allowed to go on for such a long period of time.

But perhaps the most striking thing of all is the fact that much of the park is not covered in grass, but is rather made up of bare earth, which quickly turns to mud when it rains. There appears to be little or no drainage on the grounds and the lack of any type of stable turf has plagued the park for years.

My family and I recently attended the annual Peach Festival which is held there.  It is a marvelous event to go to, with a multitude of things for the kids to do and great variety of foods, including the scrumptious peach short cake it is famous for. But with the rains the day we went the grounds had turned to mud, which put quite a damper on things. As we sat in the large tent where the shortcake is served we chatted with some local residents who were commenting that this happens almost every year. They said that as soon as it rains, the park turns into a muddy mess because of the lack of grass.

I could understand the issue of the deep mud if the problem was totally unforeseen. But the people we were talking with explained that it has happened every single year for the last five years and others nearby nodded their heads in agreement.

You would think that if this is a continuing problem it may be time for the village leaders to look for a solution to the problem. The condition of the park certainly doesn’t mirror the beauty of the village and it should.  If the area doesn’t drain well, there must be ways to improve or add to the drainage there. I see no reason why grass can’t be planted to both improve the appearance of the park and prevent it from becoming a mud pit every time it rains.

As for the rest of the infrastructure in the park, it should definitely be repaired and upgraded to reflect the manicured appearance of the rest of the village. Funding may be tight, but a good start would be to set some type of plan with a set schedule to make these things possible.  Just like climbing into the grandstands at the park the first step is the most difficult to take, but nothing will ever get accomplished there without taking it.   






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