Palisades Rec Center Projects Need Donations

By Sue Pascoe

Three major projects to enhance the Palisades Recreation Center need community support in terms of fundraising and planning. The Park Advisory Board heard updates on all three campaigns at its quarterly meeting on January 17.

Bill Maniscalco, the park’s recreation coordinator, said fundraising is underway to renovate the aging small gym. About $75,000 is needed to resurface the floors, paint the interior and upgrade the lights. If funds are in place, the target date for completion is June.

Officials hope that families who have current players in the basketball program or have had players in the past will donate by going to and designating the small gym project. Money raised will be used exclusively for the gym.

The Palisades Recreation Center small gym as it looks now.

Another fundraiser in the works is to make the playground ADA compliant. The topic was first raised in 2014, when the playground was already out of compliance. Playgrounds are no longer described in terms of how many swings and kinds of slides, but in the differences between ADA compliant (required by law) and accessible and inclusive.

The PAB board had investigated an inclusive or universally accessible playground, which goes a step beyond ADA compliant and allows access to children of all abilities. At the time, the cost for an inclusive playground was estimated at between $300,000 to $700,000.

At the latest PAB meeting, park director Erich Haas said he thought the city would build an ADA-approved playground, estimated at $400,000. The question is, “Would the community raise the rest of the money needed for an inclusive playground?”

Those interested in the playground project should attend the next PAB meeting in April.

How the Palisades Recreation Center small gym could look after renovation.

The PAB board also discussed the Veterans Garden/ bocce-ball courts in the upper picnic area, which has been in the planning stage for many months.

If the community raises $200,000, American Legion Post 283 will donate an additional $400,000 to build three bocce courts and five outdoor “living rooms” that would commemorate Post 283, with five service monuments celebrating the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

Opportunities to give will be unveiled soon, with the possibility of naming rights for the individual courts and the “rooms.” Initial costs were projected at $133,000 for landscaping, $124,000 for walkways, $53,000 for picnic tables, benches and barbecues, $160,000 for bocce courts, $50,000 for contingencies and $60,000 for three years of maintenance.

The recreation center received an A- grade from the city last year. 

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