City of Poughkeepsie to Reopen Playgrounds, Skate Park Sunday

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today the playgrounds in parks and the skate park will be reopening on Sunday.

This will continue a phased-in approach to reopening park activities, providing residents with more recreational opportunities.

“We are grateful to be able to take these steps,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “Reopening the city is happening in many ways. Allowing residents to take advantage of our parks is a key component of this effort.”

The mayor cautioned, however, that it is imperative for people to practice social distancing. They should keep at least six feet from others and must wear a mask when in close proximity to others. They also should sanitize these areas before and after using playground equipment.

In concert with this move, the City will be opening the skate park at Waryas Park and already has opened the dog park at Spratt Park. Mayor Rolison also thanked Patrick McGuire and his group of skateboard enthusiasts who are helping with reopening and maintaining of the skate park.

City parks are open from dawn to dusk seven days a week.

The city also has created a “COVID-19 Parks Response Team” composed of city employees and community volunteers to keep an eye on the parks as their usage increases. The team will be observing and reporting to the city about any inappropriate usage of park facilities or anything related to the parks that need attention. “It is imperative residents take this seriously,” Mayor Rolison said, “The last thing we want is a setback that impedes this reopening process that has been moving in the right direction.”

City of Poughkeepsie to Keep Pools Closed, Cancels Fourth of July Fireworks Event

Due to health and social distancing concerns as a result of COVID-19, City of Poughkeepsie officials are announcing the city pools will not be opened for the foreseeable future, and the Fourth of July fireworks event is being cancelled.

“It’s imperative we put the health and safety of our residents and city employees above all else,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “We look forward to being able to resume these type of activities in the future.”

The mayor reminded residents that while the pools will be remaining closed for now, the city’s parks are open, but it’s imperative that residents practice social distancing. Playground equipment is also off limits at this time. When in public, people must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others and must wear a mask when in close proximity to others.

The city has created a “COVID-19 Parks Response Team” composed of city employees and community volunteers to keep an eye on the parks as the weather gets warmer and as their usage increases. The team will be observing and reporting to the city about any inappropriate usage of park facilities or anything related to the parks that need attention.

City of Poughkeepsie Reminds Public of Park Policies Amid Coronavirus Crisis

City of Poughkeepsie officials are reminding the public that while most of the parks remain open during the coronavirus crisis, playground facilities are closed, and it is imperative residents use social distancing and take other steps to protect public health.

“Getting outdoors to walk, jog, hike, ride a bicycle, or visit a park is a great way to keep both your body and mind healthy,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “But it’s critically important to maintain proper distance when doing these activities.”

When in public, people must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others and must wear a mask when in close proximity to others.

The city has created a “COVID-19 Parks Response Team” composed of city employees and community volunteers to keep an eye on the parks as the weather gets warmer and as their usage increases. The team will be observing and reporting to the city about any inappropriate usage of park facilities or anything related to the parks that need attention.

The public is reminded to follow all recommendations and guidance from state and federal health officials, including avoiding large gatherings. Residents are encouraged to avoid games that require close contact, such as basketball, football, or soccer. They also should not share equipment, such as bicycles, helmets, balls, or Frisbees. At this time, the city’s dog park, skate park, basketball and tennis courts are closed.

 “We are taking these measures in accordance with state guidelines,” said Mayor Rolison. “We know people want to use our parks for a variety of activities, but these limits make sense at this point. We look forward to the day when our parks become fully operational again. In the meantime, we appreciate the public’s cooperation as we take measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.”

To learn more about the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, go to: https://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/parks-and-recreation

Meet Our Staff: Brian Laffin, Superintendent of Parks & Recreation

Brian Laffin
Superintendent of Parks & Recreation

This is definitely a busy time for Brian Laffin, our Superintendent of Parks & Recreation at the City of Poughkeepsie.

The good weather means people and organizations are utilizing the parks, and the city provides some excellent opportunities to get outside and walk around or to participate in an organized event.

We asked Brian, who was recently honored by the Boys & Girls Club of Poughkeepsie for outstanding leadership in athletics, to share some insights by answering these questions.

How many parks does the city have?

The city currently has 16 parks (Barlett, College Hill, Eastman, Kaal Rock, King St., Lincoln, Hulme, Mansion Square, Pulaski, Reservoir Square, Soldier’s Memorial Fountain, Spratt, Waryas, Wheaton, Skate Park, J. Tracey Hermann Dog Park.)

What are the most popular activities that people enjoy at our parks?

Many of the organized activities are athletic in nature. Our parks support many athletic opportunities, including adult softball leagues, youth baseball/softball, adult baseball, adult kickball, soccer, summer basketball, youth football. We also have multiple playground areas and picnic areas that many of our families use seasonally. However, I have had great conversations with residents and non-residents that are relaxing and reading.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

There are many! The most challenging part of the job is dealing with the impact of weather on our fields. I am extremely grateful that we have the best DPW crew in all of New York State. (I don’t have stats to prove that, but I believe it to be true.)

We are really trying to accommodate as much usage of fields and facilities as we can, but the weather does throw a wrench in things. The city is making a huge commitment to improving our structures and facilities as a whole.

Pools are a challenge as well. We are fortunate to have a pool manager Dom Aquafredda who has done it the last couple summers, so he handles a lot of the seasonal efforts.

Overall, the biggest challenge is trying to please everyone. We want to provide the best park experience we can, but unfortunately the wear of weather and tear of time makes it difficult. We have a lot of updating to do!

What can city residents expect in terms of upgrades and renovations to the parks over time?

Mayor Rolison has given me an opportunity give my honest opinions and recommendations. I am very much taking information given to me by Public Works Commissioner Chris Gent, the DPW crew and our residents.

I truly believe that a broad stroke of improvement is needed. Whether it is playground equipment replacement, pool area improvements, repairing basketball courts, and cosmetic improvements, such as landscaping. I believe we can drastically upgrade facilities and provide modern amenities.

I have researched and proposed things based on traveling to other municipalities to see what they are doing and feedback from residents. I have recommended new more inclusive playground equipment, new dugouts and water spray pads near our pools. I also have met with individuals interested in the arts/theater. I would love to see more usage in the areas of music and theater. I would like to collaborate more with educationally based groups to really promote our parks for wellness and as outdoor classrooms. In my brain I see a turf sports complex and more facilities that provide opportunities for people with disabilities.

The tough thing is that we have a huge amount to accomplish but the great thing is that we have a wonderful canvas to create something great!

Where can people find out more information about the parks?

They can call the Parks and Recreation Information Desk at (845) 451-4100 or visit
http://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/parks-and-recreation

Pickleball Courts Open at Spratt Park & Pulaski Park

Pickleball courts are now available at Spratt Park and Pulaski Park! Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. The game combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Players use large paddles to hit a ball, similar to a Wiffle Ball, over a small net. Learn more about the game below and stop by our parks to get in a game.