A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Oct. 16 at Trout Ponds Park in Newark Valley, N.Y. to dedicate new playground equipment, just prior to the start of the third annual Monster Bash, which was held at the park. The playground project was made possible through a grant awarded to the Village of Newark Valley by the Floyd Hooker Foundation.
Mayor James Tornatore, Village Deputy Clerk Pam Benthin, Public Works Supervisor Bill Foster, Brenda Smith of the Floyd Hooker Foundation, and village resident Rachel Smith gathered to officially cut the ribbon along with help from several children.
Floyd Hooker was a lifelong Tioga County, N.Y. resident who struck it rich in 1999 when he netted $45 million from the New York State Lottery. Hooker passed away in 2007 and designated that a portion of his estate be used to assist the children in Tioga County.
Floyd’s niece, Brenda Smith, chairperson of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, shared, “The mission is to benefit the children of Tioga County.”
Tornatore acknowledged that the success of the project was due to the collaborative work of Rachel Smith and Benthin, along with Foster and Village Trustee Cliff Alexander. The new playground equipment is geared toward children ages two through five and the project funding exceeded $40,000.
Tornatore commented, “Our deepest appreciation goes to the Foundation’s Board of Directors for approving our grant application.”
Tornatore explained that the playground, along with two new benches and a tree-planting project earlier this year are just the beginning of multiple phases to update and improve areas within Trout Ponds Park. In a future year the Village will plan to update another section of the children’s playground, specifically for older ages, as well as add a third pavilion for use by park visitors.
A good number of “Monster-Bashers” came out to Trout Ponds Park for a fun-filled fall day. The third annual event featured hay rides, vendors, games and bounce houses, pumpkin decorating, face painting and live music, fall-favorite foods, as well as a Halloween costume contest and dance show.