Carmel park opens
after decade of delays
The Journal News
Dwight R Worley
CARMEL - A cloudy sky and a couple raindrops couldn't
stop yesterday's opening of Paul A. Camarda Park
- the first recreation facility in the hamlet.
As parents pulled up in SUVs filled with food, children
hopped from the vehicles and darted for the basketball
courts, tossed baseballs back and forth, flung Frisbees
and played kickball.
"A lot of people have been waiting for this," said
Paul Holman, shooting hoops with his son, Ryan, 7. "These
fields are going to get a lot of use."
The town held a grand opening ceremony for the park,
which was attended by Carmel Supervisor Kenneth Schmitt,
developer Paul Camarda Jr., who donated the land
and named the park after his father, and other local
officials. Even with the rain, the park got a lot
of use on its first day with a picnic under a white
tent and an awards ceremony for Little League baseball
The 37-acre park, which cost about $2.5 million,
is ringed with trees and sits near a trout fishing
stream off Seminary Hill Road. It holds two baseball
fields, a basketball court, a large open field for
soccer or for use as a picnic area, and a volunteer-built
children's playground with swings and a jungle gym.
Muriel Cornish donated $30,000 to the Carmel Sports
Association, which gave the money to the town to
build an open pavilion in the park.
Schmitt said officials are preparing to solicit
bids for the 25-by-50-foot structure, with plans
to have it completed by the end of the summer. Plans
for the park also include restrooms and nature trails,
"The town needs this," said Sandor Kozma,
38, who visited with his three children. "The
kids will have a place to play, away from traffic
and close to home. It's long overdue."
The joy yesterday was a stark contrast to the contentious
battles that delayed building the park for a decade.
Opponents of the project, some of whom live in older
homes along Seminary Hill Road, cited environmental
and safety concerns. They sued the town and won some
changes to the original plan, which was larger and
Camarda, who made the donation in 1999 when he set
out to build 71 homes in Willow Ridge near Lake Gleneida,
said yesterday that the concerns were overblown and
that the park fits in nicely with the community.
"It's a lot of satisfaction to see it done," he
Staff writer Barbara Nackman contributed to this