Warwick's Village Green Park officially dedicated

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    WARWICK-The idea was born at a community meeting held in February 2002. And although most of the work had been completed by the summer of 2003, it wasn't until Sunday, June 13 that the Village of Warwick would celebrate the official dedication of the new Railroad Green Village Park. At the same time, members of American Legion Post 214 and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 4662 were on hand for a flag raising ceremony at the park's newly installed flag pole. Congresswoman Sue Kelly, representing the 19th Congressional District of New York, which includes all of Putnam County and portions of Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Westchester Counties, presented the Village with an American Flag that had recently flown over the U.S. Capitol Building. The Flag was raised to full staff and then lowered to half-staff in honor of former President Ronald Reagan who died on June 5. Local radio host and professional singer Dick Wells sang the National Anthem. Members of the flag pole committee were Jack Porter, John Moore and Dorothy Anderson. Mayor Michael Newhard welcomed dignitaries and other guests who came to the dedication and flag raising ceremony. He gave a brief history of the park which, he said, had flourished since the late 19th Century. At one time, he reported, a proposal to convert the Railroad Green into a parking lot was seriously considered. Ed Klein, then owner and publisher of The Warwick Advertiser, led a crusade with a media blitz against the idea and it was soon forgotten. In more recent times the property was privately owned by Jim and Gail Tunnell who graciously allowed the community to use Railroad Green for special events such as the annual Christmas Tree and Menorah lighting ceremonies. Several years ago, fearing that the property was about to be sold, the Village purchased the Railroad Green. Mayor Newhard praised former Mayor Anthony Portelli and his Board of Trustees for this decision. He also thanked New York State Sen. Thomas Morahan, the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Historical Society of the Town of Warwick, the Warwick Conservatory and others who contributed to the purchase. In 2002 a Park Committee of concerned citizens and gardeners, led by Village Trustee Bill Iurato, was formed to plan the total rebuilding of the park. The committee hired award winning garden designer Ken Druse. Warwick resident Dominick Treschitta, owner of Stone Bridge Construction, won the competitive bid for the total project and most of the contractual work was awarded to local firms. There were numerous contributions for the project from individuals and organizations and the Village also received a grant from Orange County. Mayor Newhard thanked the Warwick Valley Gardeners for not only contributing to the project but for being the volunteer caretakers of the park since 1999. He also praised many individuals and organizations who contributed or worked on the rebuilding project including Orange County Sod Growers, which donated the sod; the Masonic Lodge and Green Mountain Landscaping. The Mayor thanked other organizations, committees and individuals, some who were present, for their dedication and generosity in helping to complete a project that he said was instrumental in Warwick winning last year's America in Bloom Award. "When the judges turned that corner and saw the results of the community spirit and cooperation that went into rebuilding this beautiful park," he said, "it tipped the scale."