The improved hockey rink at Perro Park in Bayport is open to skaters, and its completion marks the end of the first round of planned improvements at the site. A ribbon cutting for the project was postponed Jan. 6 due to extreme cold.
“The first phase focused on lighting and hockey,” City Administrator Logan Martin said.
The city replaced the old plywood boards around the rink with fiberglass boards. It also installed high-quality netting around the rink, put in more efficient lighting, improved the culvert where vehicles drive to flood the rink and made minor improvements to the warming house.
According to Martin, the hockey rink boards were decades old and needed replacement. He also said going from six light posts to two lights posts that provide the same amount of light is more efficient and improves vision for hockey players.
Mayor Susan St. Ores believes the changes will “not only help rejuvenate the park, but also encourage children and families to spend time together being active outdoors in the community.”
The project’s first phase cost a total of about $199,000, Martin said. A grant from the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation covered $97,500 of the cost.
The city paid for its share from its park dedication fund and its recreation capital equipment fund, where it saves money to replace equipment when needed.
Planned improvements are based on a master plan for the park, which resulted from a recent process that included a community survey and identified needs in the park.
Martin said the city is focusing on improvements to Perro Park during the next five to 10 years as funds are available, because it’s one of the city’s older parks and is at the heart of town.
“It’s on the main street,” he said. “We thought it was important to clean it up with it being in a prominent spot in town.”
Future planned improvements include upgrading the baseball field; removing one of the tennis courts to allow the play equipment to be away from the creek; and perhaps the eventual overhaul of the warming house with a potential bathroom facility.
The next phase of improvements is scheduled for this summer at the baseball diamond, thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Bayport American Legion.
“This summer we hope to do the work on the field, thanks to the Legion’s donation, and hopefully the removal of the tennis court to do the relocation of the playground,” Martin said.
With the $15,000 grant, the city will purchase and install a backstop and benches for players and fans.
The Legion has also committed to paying for the annual upkeep of the field, at a cost of about $3,500, according to the Legion’s charitable gambling manager, Marion Coffman. Charitable gambling revenues will pay for the initial grant and the maintenance costs.
“The Legion itself is very community oriented,” Coffman said. She added that the Legion discovered in its records that it sold the Perro Park land to the city for $1 many years ago.
When the ballpark improvements are complete, Coffman hopes to see the field renamed “Legion Field,” but she said the grant is not contingent on that.
Mayor St. Ores said the city looks forward to continuing to make Perro Park a more welcoming and useful part of the community.
“Family friendly spaces and activities are a priority in Bayport, and we look forward to making additional improvements over the next several years, as funding permits, to create a park that will enrich the lives of the people who use it,” she said.
Contact Jonathan Young [email protected]