The Pennington Parks and Recreation Commission has proposed Sked Street Park improvements that will update playground equipment, replace the park walking path and potentially install a gazebo or covered area.
The proposed improvements at the 1.06-acre Sked Street mini-park were presented to the Borough Council at the governing body’s Nov. 7 meeting.
“The walking path that exists based on the Committee review is in poor condition, there is no covered area in the park, [there is] minimal seating in the park itself and the playground equipment is what they called dated [old],” Mayor Jim Davy said.
Borough officials will meet with the residents of Sked Street in a meeting that will be open to the whole community to share the proposed ideas for improvements to Sked Street Park.
Officials have not set a meeting date.
After public feedback, “[the proposed improvements will] come back to Council for final approval to move forward,” Davy said.
Existing playground equipment at the park are a seesaw, fire truck, and rocking horses, according to the presentation.
Additionally, there are toddler swings, an ADA (American with Disabilities Act) accessible swing, tire swing, and slide fort.
“A little walkway path is also not in great shape. That would need to be replaced,” Davy said.
The Committee’s proposed improvements consist of replacing the walking path for public safety, extend the path throughout the park, update playground equipment to ADA standards, installing a covered area over the existing park tables/benches or a stand-alone gazebo, and installing additional park benches.
“More up to date, current types of playground equipment. All with ADA compliance and all with safety underneath the playground equipment that would be soft material, so the kids do not get hurt if they fall off the equipment,” Davy said.
The improvements presented are concepts, costs have not put together and there is not a budget developed for the project, the mayor said.
“These are just concept ideas to get the Council’s feedback and input on it as we further develop the capital plan for this project,” he said.
Councilwoman Nadine Stern added that also proposed in the project would be replacing existing benches at the park with updated benches, so all the benches in the park will match.
“Our groups discussion was strongly in favor of the gazebo but leaving the table open so people could have a choice of either being out in the open at the table or in a covered area,” she said.
Council President Catherine Chandler raised concern about borough use of open space funds in piecemeal.
“We have the park system using the open space fund, we have got the arboretum using the open space funds, and ‘God forbid’ we actually use the open space funds for any open space,” she said. “I feel Council is approving these expenditures sort of here and there and not seeing a complete package.”
She suggested that all uses of open space funds be presented to the Finance Committee, so the Council can examine the use of open space funds instead of a piecemeal approach.
“I don’t know if anybody on Council knows how much we spend on open space between the arboretum and Kunkel Street Park last year, because they were presented to us piecemeal,” Chandler further said.
Councilman Charles Marciante disagreed and said he did not think it was piecemeal for Kunkel Park.
“We came before Council and laid it out,” he said.
The council members – Stern, Councilwoman Kati Angarone, Marciante, Councilman Ken Gross, and Chandler – did agree that an accounting of open space funds was appropriate to know the amount of the fund balance, what is committed, and the outlook for the fund.
“We do have over $500,000 of open space funds. We are talking about quality of life in Pennington,” Marciante said.
“There are people [at Sked Street Park] all the time with little kids. We have the money, but this is something good for the residents of Pennington. How can you not want to spend money put aside for recreation and open space?”