Local officials and community members gathered this morning for the official reopening of the Red Hook Recreation Park and to dedicate the children’s playground to the memory of Kathy Triebel.

“Kathy Triebel loved children unconditionally,” said Red Hook Town Supervisor Robert McKeon during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I know this and many, many other parents in this community know this because we entrusted our children with her each and every day and they thrived under her leadership.”

Rec Park East and Rec Park West – located on either side of Linden Ave. – underwent many changes over the past few months with the help of the town’s Recreation Commission, the town board, the Red Hook Playground Subcommittee, town engineers, and the public at large. 

The renovations consist of a new playground accessible to all, a new little league and softball field, new tennis, basketball, and pickleball courts, and a trailhead path and parking for the Village-to-Village Trail. There were modifications to parking and restrooms to ensure they are ADA accessible as well as overall landscape maintenance for the entire park.

Construction was delayed by approximately three months due to COVID-19. Before the pandemic, the updates were expected to be complete at the beginning of the summer with facilities opening July 1. 

“The biggest challenge has been the interruption of construction by the pandemic. It took the park out of use during the summer when it was perhaps needed the most,” said McKeon. 

Specific changes have been made to reduce the spread of coronavirus, including touchless technology for the water bottle filling stations, water faucets, and urinals in the restrooms.

The fields will be open for all to use by scheduling with the recreation director. Per Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order, school teams are not permitted to use the park just yet, but the little league and other sports groups will be able to utilize the fields.

The total for the renovation of the park is over $2 million. The project was bonded for $1.5 million and supported by fund balance and grants. 

The Hudson River Valley Greenway provided a grant fund of $75,000 to the Winnakee Land Trust for the construction of the trailhead path and parking. 

Dutchess County provided a municipal innovation grant of $50,000 for the ADA accessible restrooms. 

A Community Development Block Grant provided a fund of $200,000 for all abilities and the multi-purpose field as well as $98,000 for new fencing, pathways in the park, and additional handicap parking. 

This project was budgeted before the COVID-19 pandemic, so “there should be no need to raise taxes as a result of the park overhaul and expansion,” said McKeon.

Although the park is open, the project is not yet completed. Dugouts and an additional storage building for park equipment are expected to be completed later this fall.

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