A community is coming together in Poughkeepsie after receiving an $8,000 grant to help bring back a rock garden that most didn’t even realize the history behind. YNN’s Michael Howard reports.
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Driving through College Hill Park, you might not recognize what’s being called a piece of history that dates back to the 1930s.
“Oh my gosh, we had no idea who Clarence Lown was,” said Nancy Cozean.
According to former City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Nancy Cozean, it is a rock garden that was dedicated by Mayor Caven and Mrs. James Roosevelt to Clarence Lown in 1931. Lown was known as the “father” of rock gardening in America who lived in Poughkeepsie and died in 1930. The garden, which now features animals and overgrown shrubbery, hasn’t been touched for more than 50 years. Until now.
“The 1950, 1960 and 1970s were very tough times in the City of Poughkeepsie,” said Cozean. “Parks like this one, which is a renowned park, actually just fell into neglect. As a result, it became a target of vandalism. ”
Cozean’s plan was to bring the community together and revitalize the garden. That came true just weeks ago after her and her friend, Anne Perry, applied and were awarded a three year $8,000 grant through the Department of Environmental Conservation.
“We were the only recipient of this grant in Ulster and Dutchess County, so we were flabbergasted because it was very stiff competition,” said Cozean.
She, as well as numerous other groups in the community, are joining in and helping out. In a meeting Thursday night, many were on hand, including representatives from local colleges, the Warring Elementary School and the Boy Scouts, to discuss plans on what the garden should look like and how others can help out.
“This is a way for the neighborhood to get involved,” said volunteer Barbara Restaino. “In an incredible open space that they may not be aware of, a lot of people just drive by and say oh I haven't seen College Hill Park. Where is it? And it's a wonderful resource.”
The group has already started clearing brush from the site and expects to finish the project within three years.