Kids GRAB some summer fun, scaling town's barn walls

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland Rock Adventure Barn is re-opening to the public during select hours, after being used only for Tawasentha Park summer camps for the past several years.

The GRAB is a town-owned, renovated barn, featuring 3,000 square feet of climbing walls, with five different shapes. The GRAB was opened in 1997, after being dreamed up by Dennis Moore, the town’s director of Parks and Recreations, who got the idea during a rock-climbing trip out West.

The climbing walls are each about 18 feet high, and are made out of three-quarter-inch plywood. About 20 people can use the barn at a time — 10 climbers and 10 spotters.

The GRAB was originally open to campers in the morning, and open to other residents weekday afternoons and on the weekends.

“What happened was, the use just really trailed off,” said Moore this week. “We weren’t getting much use in the afternoons, and we were always closed in the winter anyway.”

The barn was being staffed in the afternoons, and Moore said it wasn’t bringing in enough revenue to break even, so the Parks and Recreation Department decided to close it for the public and use it solely for the day camp.

Beatrice Rucinski, a Guilderland resident and grandmother, thought the GRAB might be something her granddaughters, ages 9 and 11, would enjoy.

“They need something to do in the summer,” said Rucinski this week.

Rucinski called Moore and told him that she thought her grandchildren and their friends would use the barn if it were open.

“I touched base at town hall and we took a look at opening it up again,” said Moore.

He decided to open it to the public on a trial basis, from noon to 6 p.m. on Fridays, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. There will be a charge of $5 to climb and staff will be on hand to guide people and get them started.

Rucinski said her grandchildren and a friend went and used the barn last Friday, and she hopes that it will get enough use from other residents to remain open.

“The kids are important,” she said.

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