by Katherine Cain –
Last month, the Irvington Board of Trustees approved the budget for updating Matthiessen Park, with construction likely to start next spring. The biggest changes to the park will be modernizing the playground to include three age-appropriate play structures, swings and a splash pad, and widening the paths in order to allow scooters and bikes alongside walkers and runners. A second and third phase are also planned, which will update the bathrooms at the entrance, and add a stage and performance pavilion to the park.
The plans were met with virtually no opposition, as an updated park is something that many Irvington residents have been asking for in recent years. Matt Kamin, a father of two young children and a member of the Playground Committee – a group of residents that were tasked with researching local playgrounds and coming up with a design to present to the board – is thrilled that the budget was passed, and excited for what’s to come.
“The community will be getting an even more beautiful park than the one we currently have now,” he said. “I am hoping this leads to a bit of a renaissance down at Matthiessen Park where people will use the park more and more.”
Joe Archino, superintendent of the Recreation and Parks Department, is working with the playground designer to establish a timeline for the project. “The current goal would be to have the project bid and approved so that full construction could start in the spring of 2020,” he said. With that timeline, construction would be finished by the fall.
The next step is to evaluate the park rules and make amendments according to what village residents feel most passionately about. Meetings will be held on these topics in the fall. One key change many residents would like to see is the allowance of dogs in the park. Post-construction, dogs on leash with a valid license will most likely be allowed into the park, if supported by both public opinion and the village board.
Another change that a group of residents, led by the Irvington Activists, feel strongly about is making Matthiessen Park open to all, as it is currently open to just Irvington residents. The mayor and the board will be re-evaluating the resident rules to see what changes could be put into place, one of which might be to amend the language on the park’s entry signage to make it more welcoming.