Cicero completes Skyway Park renovations – Eagle News Online
CICERO – After more than a decade of preparation, the overhaul of Cicero’s Skyway Park is finally complete. The city, local leaders and the North Syracuse Little League cut the ribbon for the renovated park on September 21.
âIt was a very, very long and extremely rewarding project,â said project manager Pat Benz, of RFP Construction Advisors Corp.
Benz, a longtime Cicero resident and Little League volunteer, said the renovation process began in 2009 under Jody Rogers, who retired as director of the Cicero Youth Bureau, Parks and Recreation in 2020 Three phases of construction over the next 12 years resulted in a new concession stand and washroom; reconfiguration of baseball and softball fields, addition of pickleball fields and expansion of the playing field; and a repaved parking lot with 100 spaces.
âThe playing field is incredible. I think that’s my favorite part of the park – and I’m a baseball guy, âsaid Benz, whose three sons played in NSLL. âI have probably done 100 construction projects. â¦ This is probably my favorite.
âThe majority of people who come to this park are associated with the North Syracuse Little League,â said Teresa Roth, current director of the Cicero Youth Bureau, Parks and Recreation. “Hundreds, if not thousands of families are bringing their children here for Little League, and you really made it better by improving the grounds.”
The park now has five regulation Little League fields, and one of the baseball fields has been converted to a girls’ softball field.
Assembly member Al Stirpe was instrumental in securing $ 125,000 in state and municipal facilities (SAM) grants for the project, Roth said. Funding for Cicero Town and Onondaga County Community Development made up the remainder of the project costs, and local businesses, volunteers and entrepreneurs offered in-kind donations and their time to make the new Skyway. Park a reality.
Mike Kasch, former president of NSLL, detailed the history of the project. After the completion of Phase I – Concessions and Restroom Upgrades – NSLL was selected to host a major softball tournament. Phase II, completed in 2016, added basketball, tennis and pickleball courts as well as the playground.
Kasch credited Rogers with much of the success of the project.
âShe always had solutions – never said no – and told me when to be patient,â he said.
Stirpe said the two people from his district who are tracking and always finishing their projects ahead of schedule are Rogers and Roth.
âWhen it comes to Cicero-North Syracuseâ¦ I always know they are in very good hands,â he said.
Stirpe also praised the community volunteers for their work.
âYou had relatives there with backhoes and bulldozers. People are getting involved because they want their kids to have the best experience, âhe said.
Rogers called the project a “public-private partnership that was done right” and credited Roth for his smooth leadership transition. She also thanked Rudy Zona of RZ Engineering and Dave Sliski of CT Male for donating their services.
Rogers reminded the elected officials present of the importance of parks and recreation.
âThe impact that recreation has on this community, and I’ve been saying this for years – 33 of my own – is incredible,â she said. “Remember this at budget time.”
Skyway Park is located at 5950 E. Taft Road in North Syracuse.