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Emerson Park

Residents gather in April at a discussion regarding the future of Emerson Park.

If you haven’t been to a Doubledays game, this is probably the year to start being a huge fan. Thanks to some hard work, creative thinking and lots of investment, Falcon Park is guaranteed to be one of the best places to spend your time this summer.

IGNITE was treated to a VIP tour of the facilities with General Manager Mike Voutsinas and Operations Manager Kenny Lindberg. It’s the first season with the Doubledays for both guys, and they’ve already made a huge impact at the ballpark — even before the first player stepped onto the field.

Falcon Park has a brand-new field, which fixes the drainage issues and will offer players a level surface for chasing down fly balls and snagging grounders.

IGNITE Vice Chairman Joe Salzone, who will serve as this year’s public address man at the park, will sound better than ever, thanks to the brand-new speakers installed this year. A new dining area, reconfigured private party seating area and lots of other improvements have been made at the park, as well. And this year, Falcon Park will present fireworks six times.

Thank you to Mike, Kenny and the staff at Falcon Park, for such a memorable night.

IGNITE is also proud to have had the opportunity to offer the perspective of young professionals in the Emerson Park master plan draft. The county planning department reached out to us for input. In answer, IGNITE used an online survey and a round-table discussion to find out what improvements could be made to get more young professionals — and the whole community — to use the park more often.

The results of the survey and discussion might surprise you. Respondents overwhelmingly supported improvements that would enhance the park’s natural appeal. While past master plans have called for major developments, such as hotels, our participants were in favor of adding a sandy beach area and improving the swimming area. They were also interested in adding a walk-up snack bar, adding more walking trails and creating the dog park that’s been talked about over the past several years.

IGNITE will be watching as the plans are drafted and presented to the public. We appreciate the opportunity to weigh in on this important topic.

This summer, our second Tuesday events are sure to please. July’s event will be a tour of Johnston Paper. In August, we’ll hold our now-annual IGNITE summer cookout. This year, the cookout will be at Emerson Park, and I’ll be grilling burgers and hot dogs throughout the evening. IGNITE will provide meat, water, sodas and several other food items. We ask attendees to bring a dish to pass. And this year, we ask that you bring a sense of adventure. We’ll be offering the chance to use paddle boards and boats from Owasco Paddles, so attendees can spend a little time on the lake, weather-permitting.

In September, IGNITE will offer a Cayuga Lake wine tour. There are only 26 spots available on the bus, so hurry to make your reservations.

For more information on these events and more, visit ignite-cny.org or like us on Facebook.

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Daniel Lovell is chairman of the IGNITE steering committee and an Auburn resident. Find more information about IGNITE at www.ignite-cny.org or www.facebook.com/ignitecny.

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Features editor for The Citizen.