TUPPER LAKE - Construction is underway on the newest jewel in Tupper Lake's crown.
Late Monday morning, several people gathered near the shore of Raquette Pond to break ground on the Flander's Park Little Loggers Playground project.
The park is located on Martin Street, adjacent to the tennis courts and softball field.
Tupper Lake town Supervisor Roger Amell, left, looks over the plans for the new Little Loggers Park with Cindy Garso of MJ Raymond Construction and village Mayor Paul Maroun.
(Enterprise photo — Shaun Kittle)
"When I was a kid, this is where we came," said village Mayor Paul Maroun. "There was a swimming pool here, swings and monkey bars. Today, there's going to be some obstacle courses and some other great items I didn't even know about when I was younger. It truly is the jewel of Tupper Lake."
Melissa McManus, the community's revitalization and project coordinator, has been securing grants to fund the project for several years.
According to Maroun, Little Loggers Playground will cost about $210,000. He said it is part of a larger, $780,000 project to revitalize the waterfront, which includes the cost of the playground and $100,000 for new lights for the softball field.
The lights have already been ordered and are designed to point downward to reduce light pollution.
Little Loggers Playground, which is slated to be completed this fall, will include a gazebo, Wi-Fi access, a 9-foot-high sledding hill and four separate playground areas containing slides, swings and a rock climbing wall, all connected by a series of crushed stone paths.
"They're looking to build a modern park for the children of the community," said project engineer Jim Abdallah, vice president of Architectural and Engineering Design Associates. "There will be safety surfaces composed of mulch and sand for fall protection, and the height of the equipment will be age-appropriate for safety."
Bids for the project went out earlier this summer, and the Saranac Lake-based MJ Raymond Construction company secured the job. They will lay the groundwork for the playground equipment, which will be installed by Bears Playgrounds.
"It's really nice to be working so locally, and I think Tupper's glad someone at least fairly local is here," said Cindy Garso, ownership partner of MJ Raymond Construction. "The other bidders weren't nearly as local. I think it's going to be a great relationship."
Maroun and Tupper Lake town Supervisor Roger Amell both agreed that the project is the beginning of a new chapter for Tupper Lake.
"The bigger picture is, Tupper's going to move ahead," Maroun said. "Once that Adirondack Club and Resort project takes hold - and it is going to be approved, it just needs to go through its judicial process -?people are going to start to see things happening in Tupper Lake, and that's what people have been waiting for. Nothing has happened for too long."
Maroun also stressed that safety is a top priority, and that crime at the new playground will be severely punished.
"Police are going to be patrolling this," Maroun said. "This vandalism stuff is going to stop in Tupper Lake, and we're going to arrest people. We are going to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law any violators who try to damage whatever we're doing."
Contact Shaun Kittle at 891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.