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Rensselaer Falls must wait for playground land

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RENSSELAER FALLS — The village has hit a roadblock in securing property for a new playground.

The parcel for a proposed playground in the 300 block of State Street, behind Chapin’s Country Market, 102 Canton St., was set to be purchased by the village for $2,000 in February. However, because of concerns over former ownership of the land, the sale has not gone through.

The village recently undertook an effort to determine the owner of the land, which was believed to have been owned at one time by David LaBarge. Village officials learned that St. Lawrence County owns the property.

“We’ve been kind of going back and forth, until the county did its own search,” Mayor Jeffrey W. Dollinger said Tuesday. “They do indeed own the property.”

Mr. Dollinger said village trustees have been waiting to hear whether the county can sell the property to the village.

At Monday’s village Board of Trustees meeting, the board considered purchasing one of two other properties available, but trustees agreed to hold off on making any decisions until they hear from the county.

“I think our next move is to wait for the end result,” Mr. Dollinger said. “It’s a ‘hurry up and wait’ kind of situation. We’ve already invested $2,000 in this property. There’s no sense in throwing in the towel early.”

The old wooden playground at 107 State St. was demolished last year over safety concerns. With the help of donations and fundraisers, Playground Committee members have raised more than $19,000 for new equipment.

“We were very eager to purchase the equipment, as it was almost at half-price,” said Jolene M. LaSiege, committee co-chairwoman. “We got a $30,000 set for about $18,000.”

The equipment, purchased from BYO Recreation, St. Augustine, Fla., will be delivered Friday and stored in the village’s wastewater treatment center until it can be assembled.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Ms. LaSiege said. “It’s unfortunate to hear about the land. But the equipment has been purchased. Once the land is finalized, we are going to start a grant-writing process. We are going to continue to add on teeter-totters, a swing set and benches.”

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