MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Plans to build out the recreational facilities at Airport Park on Hill Street into a fully operational town recreational park took another small step forward when the Town Board declared last week that the project would not have a negative effect on the environment.
The town of Carmel is the lead agency in the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process and is required by state law to assess the potential environmental impact of the project.
“There is a wetland permit that needs to be issued by the DEC (state Department of Environmental Conservation) that had previously been issued but had expired. One of the conditions of the reissue is to make a final determination on SEQR that we undertook a few years ago,” said town attorney Greg Folchetti. “So that is part of what we are doing now [with the SEQR determination]. And then once the funding is in place, then the project can actually be built out.”
Supervisor Ken Schmitt said that the plan to expand and upgrade Airport Park has been in the works for nearly seven years and is part of the town’s master plan
“We have a master plan that identifies the Airport Park project and the improvements that will be done there at some point,” Schmitt said at the Town Board’s Jan. 18 meeting.
There is money for the project that has already been allocated to the town through a $250,000 state Dormitory Authority grant.
“We are in the process of determining...the funding streams,” Schmitt said. “We have the $250,000 grant but there is some other money that [is needed and] has been identified as a source for the project. The Town Board will make a determination going forward where the final funding will come from. I know the sports associations have raised some money and they are committed to that park as well. They want to see it built out and completed.”
The property at Airport Park is under lease from Putnam County and currently features three soccer fields. It was formerly a small airfield with gravel road access. The eastern portion of the site was once a working farm and is now overgrown brush and pasture. As per the master plan, when completed the revitalized park will boast five multipurpose/soccer fields, a playground, a picnic area, an athletic support building, grandstands, and gravel parking lot.
“It will be a facility, I can tell you, that will be used quite extensively,” Schmitt said. “There will be a lot of games that will be played there. It’s a community park. It’s part of our Recreation and Parks Department facilities. Discussions [on the project] will continue and the community will be involved as part of the process. And the community will be made aware of where the funding is coming from.”