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  • Mamaroneck Observer

Creating Summer Magic: Inside the Recreation and Parks Departments


by Marina Kiriakou -

 

As summer unfolds in Mamaroneck, Harbor Island Park becomes a hub of vibrant activities showcasing the beauty unique to our community.  Two Village departments are responsible for making it all work:  the Department of Recreation and the Department of Parks.  Here is a sampling of what these departments have planned or facilitated for our community:

 

  • Fireman’s Parade (June 28) and Fireman’s Carnival (June 27 - July 6)

  • July 4th Celebration featuring Excelsior Orchestra and fireworks by the VOMFD

  • Pop-up Concerts (July 19 & 26, August 2)

  • Tiki Night (July 12)

  • Summer Camp at Harbor Island (July 1 - August 9)

  • Concerts at Harbor Island (July 17, August 7)

  • Summer on the Avenue Block Party (July 24)

  • National Night Out with VOM Police Department (August 6)

  • Fitness and Outdoors Classes

  • Softball Leagues and Youth Sports

  • Outdoor Movie Nights

 

This exciting lineup of summer events wouldn't be possible without the dedicated efforts of these two groups and their hardworking teams.  Let's take a closer look at the individuals behind these festivities and how they make it all happen.

 

Creating Fun and Fitness: The Department of Recreation

The Department of Recreation takes center stage in bringing our public parks to life with exciting activities throughout the summer.  Led by Superintendent Jason Pinto, the department’s small but efficient team of four gets an amazing amount done.  “Our mission is to provide exceptional recreational facilities and programs to the community at the most affordable or free rates we can,” states Pinto.

 

Their scope of work is expansive.  “We manage events such as parades, concerts, and our popular summer day camp,” Pinto elaborates.  These events are meticulously planned and executed, often in partnership with other community organizations.  For instance, the Fourth of July celebrations, which attract some 20,000 people, involve coordination with the Arts Council for concerts and the Village Fire Department for the fireworks and carnival.  Managing the beach facility could be a job on its own, but this is just one of the responsibilities of the Department of Recreation.

 

Revenue generation is another critical aspect of their operations.  The department generates over $1 million annually through beach and parking permits, athletic field rentals, Sportime licensing agreement, and program fees.  “We offer a broad range of classes, including unique programs such as kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding,” Pinto adds.

 

The department’s collaborative nature extends to multi-department events like the St. Patrick’s Day parade, Memorial Day parade, and Halloween’s Spooktacular celebration.  “These events bring the community together, providing non-political, non-divisive occasions where families can enjoy fun and entertainment,” Pinto notes.

 

Despite their small size, the Recreation Department manages to deliver a robust schedule of activities, from summer camps to winter holiday events.  “We’re a small group, but we’re mighty,” Pinto says proudly.  Last year, the department sponsored 22 community events, some co-sponsored with other village organizations and councils.  Their efforts are particularly evident in the summer.

 

Summer Camp at Harbor Island

A highlight of the summer season is the Recreation Department's summer camp, which stands as a cornerstone of their programming.  Always at capacity, the day camp caters to about 320 kids and employs 66 part-time staff, providing a full-day program that runs from July 1 to August 9.  “Our focus is to serve the whole community so that all benefit,” Pinto explains.  “For the summer camp, we give 75% scholarships to thirty campers.”  The primarily outdoor summer camp offers a wide range of activities, including water sports, swimming, arts and crafts, field trips to amusement parks, and special entertainment from magicians to animal shows.

 

Nurturing Green Spaces: The Parks Department

While the Recreation Department fills our parks with activity, the Parks Department, led by General Forman Jeff Ahne, ensures these spaces remain lush and inviting.  “We maintain 144 acres of grass and greenery throughout the village, including 14 parks,” Ahne says.  Their responsibilities extend beyond maintenance; they create aesthetic charm and orderliness in these public spaces.

 

Every day, Ahne's team of 13, including an electrician, a meter repair person, and a street cleaner, work tirelessly to maintain the village's beauty through careful planning and upkeep." “We plant trees and flowers, prune flower beds, and tend the hanging baskets on the Avenue,” Ahne explains.  The daily grind includes sweeping streets, picking up litter, and cleaning garbage cans.  “It’s about keeping the Avenue and parks immaculate,” he emphasizes.

 

But their duties don’t stop at greenery and cleanliness.  The Parks Department is also in charge of maintaining village-owned buildings.  “Any village-owned building, be it fire departments, the police station, or other municipal buildings, falls under our purview,” Ahne adds.  “We’re here to create a beautiful, safe environment for everyone to enjoy.”

 

Beyond maintenance, the Parks Department plays a crucial role in community events, coordinating the use of outdoor spaces and facilities.  They manage adult and youth sports leagues, ensuring fields are lined, raked, and ready for play.  “We rake the beach every morning and handle garbage collection in the parks daily,” Ahne notes.  He also stresses the importance of handling as much work in-house as possible to maintain control and keep costs down.

 

The exciting lineup of summer events wouldn't be possible without the seamless partnership and teamwork of the Departments of Parks and Recreation.  "Our strength lies in how our team works together," says Ahne, highlighting their synergy and cooperation with other Village departments to make every event a success. 

 

Conclusion

From planting vibrant flower beds to co-producing a spectacular Fourth of July celebration, the Recreation and Parks teams are dedicated to making Mamaroneck a wonderful place to live, bringing people together through shared experiences and cherished local traditions.

 

For more information, go to: Village of Mamaroneck Parks and Recreation



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