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May 7, 2013

Panel approves updated park plan

By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — The Oneonta Parks and Recreation Commission on Monday night endorsed an updated parks master plan to improve Neahwa and Catella parks, and the proposal will go to the Common Council.

Representatives from the LA Group reviewed plans to add landscaping, parking spaces, trails, a dog park and a water splash park for children and to make improvements to grounds and infrastructure. Public comments submitted about the plans overall have been positive, they told commissioners during a workshop before the regular meeting at City Hall.

“I’m very pleased with input from the community and other organizations,’’ Tim Catella, commission chairman, said during the meeting. Commissioners approved a motion to endorse the master plan update and send it to the council for implementation and funding strategies.

Michael Long, Oneonta city manager, said the LA Group will present the plans to the Common Council, probably at its second meeting in June. The city will submit applications this year for state grants for parks projects, with the idea of improvements next year, he said.

David Miller, LA Group principal, said some improvements would involve major expenses and many others involve elements that can be done locally.

LA Group and city officials answered questions during the workshop about various materials that might be used. Trees would be preserved, they said, and some existing parking areas would be formalized into lots.

Plans are to add about 15 trees and other landscaping to the Market Street entrance of Neahwa Park, plus a sign and lighting. Other proposals call for enhancement of paths, trails and walkways throughout the two parks, and landscaping improvements at many points.

An outdoor exhibit is proposed highlighting Damaschke Field and its baseball history.

The city hired the LA Group of Saratoga Springs to update the Parks Master Plan, originally completed in 1996.

Detailed drawings of proposed improvements are available at the city’s website at