With the exception of a few dog walkers and elderly couples strolling through the fall breeze, Robert Treman Park is at a standstill when the sound of construction workers in the distance breaks the serenity of Wednesday morning. The changing of the seasons, melancholic for some, has a different meaning for James Dunn, Ithaca’s Park Manager.
“We use this time of year to get things done,” he said. “We’re repainting lines, repairing buildings, and taking out dangerous trees around cabins. We absolutely take advantage of the free time during the week.”
The major project Dunn is overseeing is the repair of the Upper Gorge Trail at Robert Treman. On August 8, the Trail suffered severe water damage due to heavy rains. The Upper Gorge Trail will be closed until at least spring of 2014.
“I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made with the repairs,” said Dunn. He oversees all the projects at the parks, even the smaller ones, including lawn care, cabin site maintenance, and the winterization of buildings. All these projects take place in the fall.
Dunn was pleased with the weather in the Ithaca area so far in the fall. He is hopeful to have a few more busy weekends before things start to slow down, and snow covers the ground instead of leaves.
“We’ve been having absolutely perfect weather,” said Dunn. “We should have a couple more really packed weekends. Columbus day weekend is huge for us. That’s the last weekend we charge a car fee.”
Even with the repairs, Dunn said that the parks will remain accessible throughout the winter. “We are public parks,” said Dunn. “We should be open for the people throughout the year.”
All the fall and winter projects are projected to be done by spring of 2014, just as the parks will see a rise in attendance.