Lynn Deming’s renovations complete
Published 8:54 pm, Tuesday, August 8, 2017
NEW MILFORD — Dozens of residents, town employees and lifeguards gathered Monday in a picnic area near the beach at Lynn Deming Park — a spot until recently occupied by a road.
Replacing the road with a grassy picnic area was one of many improvements made at the park as part of a $1 million renovation, which was celebrated with a grand reopening.
“We used to have a beach with a parking lot, and now we have a beach with a park,” said Alfred Esposito, chairman of the park building committee.
The idea of renovating the park has been in the air for at least 20 years, but the effort didn’t make much headway until about a decade ago, when the town acquired the adjacent property from FirstLight Power Resources and decided the original park needed sprucing up. The effort picked up five years ago, when money was set aside to get the project started.
But not until March, after several design changes, ongoing permit problems and project cost increases, did the town finally break ground.
“We had many occasions when we questioned if we would ever see it done,” Esposito said. “We had a lot of setbacks and hurdles, but everyone kept pushing
“We’ve been coming here daily since the groundbreaking, and seeing the changes has been mesmerizing,” Esposito said.
Tom Saunders, a Parks And Recreation Commission member, said it is amazing to see how the mounds of logs and construction fill gave way to the park everyone was celebrating Monday.
Major improvements included changing the traffic flow to make it safer, adding 50 parking spots, improving handicapped accessibility to the beach, installing a playground, adding kayak racks, creating a maintenance building, upgrading to more efficient lighting and adding a storage area so the equipment wouldn’t be left outside year-round.
Fishing, diving and swimming docks were also added.
Peter Coleman, 22, of New Milford, said the changes have made the park and beach more family-oriented. He said it also opened up the space and made it
“It really makes it more of a park than a drive-up beach,” he said.
Conner Carida and Nick Falder, both 16 and lifeguards at the beach, said the improvements also made the park safer.
“It’s pretty great,” Falder said. “Last year when there was the road, it was pretty chaotic. Kids would run across the parking lot.”
Both started coming to the park when they were young to take swim lessons. They said the renovation added a lot of great things for kids to do.
“I have a lot of good memories of the park growing up, but this is really cool,” Carida said.
Saunders said the whole project has been a community effort. He credited Mayor David Gronbach and former Mayor Pat Murphy for the project becoming a reality.
“It’s amazing how many people in the community came together,” he said.
Residents and business owners donated their time, money and expertise to move the project forward. Arthur H. Howland and Associates donated more than $40,000 of engineering work and M & O Construction, the contractors for the project, donated the picnic tables and benches.
“There’s a pleasure in watching people use it and discover it,” Esposito said. “I’ll watch people having an amazing time in utter exuberance with the new, open space. This is a jewel. Everyone around here knows it and now that we’ve polished it, it’s more obvious.”
Parks and Recreation Director Dan Calhoun said the town has about 500 acres of parks, and Lynn Deming is by far the most popular during the summer. He said it’s great residents can enjoy the improvements. A lot of camps also use the park and the town hosts its swim lessons there.
Town officials and the Parks And Recreation Commission are already looking forward to other improvements that can be done at the park. Two Eagle Scouts will be building walking trails soon in the surrounding woods.
“Let’s keep it going,” Gronbach said as he cut a giant green ribbon at the beach. “Let’s not stop here.”