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'A Park for everyone' coming together in the Town of Tonawanda


Before Dan Crangle stepped down as a Town of Tonawanda Councilman, he had a vision for what the future of recreation might look like in the town.


The centerpiece of his idea was a new state-of-the-art ice rink at Brighton Park. The town already had two pads - one at Lincoln Park and another at Brighton – but they were outdated and needed extensive upgrades. Changes that would only benefit, well… ice skaters.


A collaborative movement, including stakeholders from around town concluded that a single pad location and a revamp of other facilities and properties would appeal to all residents.


At first, the single pad idea was met with some push back, including from me. I spoke out against the idea at a public meeting in 2018.


After touring the new facility this past week and seeing all of the other developments at Brighton Park, I’d like to admit that I was wrong. 


By the end of the month, the new ice rink will be open to the public.  


Town Councilman Carl Szarek, who is the Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee, gave Francis Boeck and I a guided tour of the rink along with the new outdoor facility being built across the road - which should open before July 4th.  




Crangle was also there. Although no longer serving on the board, Crangle still follows the developments closely and was impressed with how well the project turned out.


The facility will operate around the clock and serve as the home rink for several local high school hockey programs including Kenmore East, Kenmore West and St. Joe’s. There are four large locker rooms for teams and another sizeable locker room for officials, all equipped with showers.



The player’s benches are opposite the grandstand - which offer bleacher seating for 600. A spacious mezzanine above the stands will be another area for spectators.

The concession stand will be run by the owners of Mike’s Subs in Kenmore. Beer and wine will be offered. 




Once the new facility is up and running, the former rink will be torn down to make room for more parking.


Eventually, a mural will be put on the outside of the rink.


Across the road, finishing touches are being made on the other projects that will separate the Town of Tonawanda from other suburbs.


A splash pad, four lighted pickle ball courts, beach volleyball courts, Rugby pitch/soccer field, picnic grove, pavilion with changing rooms and a walking track are all coming together.

When it’s ready to open, Szarek says people will be able to make reservations online for the splash pad.





“The best part of this is that it truly benefits everyone,” Szarek said. “The splash pad will have designated hours for those with special needs.”


That will add to a Brighton Park that already boasts baseball/softball diamonds, the golf dome, batting cages and an 18-hole golf course. Once everything is done, Brighton Park will be renamed Paddock Chevrolet Park.


“We looked at a similar park in Indiana and took some ideas from what they were doing and what was working for them,” Szarek said.


“This is something that benefits the entire community. With the Aquatic and Fitness Center coming back to life, the Lincoln Field House and now this park, it’s truly something special.”


New York State Assemblyman Bill Conrad served as Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee after Crangle and before Szarek.


“Bill was instrumental in a lot of ways in helping to see this project through,” Szarek said.

 

 

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Frank, This supposed "park for everyone" is nothing of the sort if it requires reservations for everything. As well, if any of these activities require a fee to reserve, which it sounds like they do, this alienates a large portion of the population. I have never heard of a splash pad that requires a reservation, the pools don't. You get a nice day, and you go to the pool. So, I have to wonder if this has anything to do with race or socioeconomic status.


Reservations for weather dependent activities don't work in a place like Buffalo. Everyone who lives here knows that when you get a rare nice day, you use it right then. Families want to be ab…

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