RINGWOOD – The village of Ringwood is one step closer to getting its first sports park.
The tiny town of fewer than 900 people has two other passive parks, but the proposed park would have a playground, a baseball diamond, a soccer field, a basketball court, and tennis courts that can be converted into an ice rink.
The Village Board unanimously approved the concept plan, which was drawn up by Trotter and Associates of Ringwood, at its Dec. 20 meeting.
“I think it’s very important,” Village President Rick Mack said. “We’d like to provide this amenity to the residents, because right now Ringwood doesn’t really have a large-scale park of this nature.”
The village had buckled down, focusing on the basics, when the economy took a turn for the worse, Mack said, but now he thinks it’s time to start looking toward the future again.
The 5-acre park is located along Barnard Mill Road, directly east of Ringwood Village Hall.
The land was donated in 2005 by a developer, and the concept drawing will cost the village about $450, Mack said.
Two pavilions already have been built, one in the park and one on the 3½ acres that the village hall sits on. One was donated by Rohm and Haas, which has a factory in Ringwood.
Actual construction is where the real costs come in, and Mack said the village can’t afford it on its own. Trotter and Associates is putting cost estimates together right now, Mack said.
Then the village, with help from Trotter, will apply for grants, he said, but if they don’t come through this year, the project will have to wait or perhaps be done in stages. Private donations could help the village fund the local portion that many grants require.
Trotter and Associates also provided the village with a list of possible grants that the village could apply for.
“We’ve been very successful doing this with our roads,” Mack said. “We’ve gotten a significant amount of funding for our road project, federal and state funds, so we want to approach the development of this park the same way.”
With budgets tight across the board, competition for grants is stiff.
The best way to get grants is to have the project ready to go, Mack said.
“This isn’t going to happen overnight, but we’re going to start making those important first steps,” Mack said. “Ideally, we would hope that we would be successful in acquiring the grant this year and then go to construction next year. That would be ideal.”
In the long term, the board also would like to see walking and biking paths connecting Ringwood’s subdivisions and parks, Mack said.
The Village Board is also planning to develop its downtown section near the post office and its Route 31 corridor, bringing in storefronts to the primarily residential and industrial village.