The Schenectady Rotary took part in a cleanup day at Vale Park on Saturday in the first of a series of upkeep projects to make the 40-acre park more attractive to local residents and the adjacent downtown crowd. Over a dozen people participated, using claw grabbers and pointed sticks to pick up months of litter on the green and around the pavilion, as well as in the surrounding woods.
The Schenectady Rotary took part in the cleanup as part of a nationwide day of service. Carmel Patrick, a Rotary member, said great things are in store for the park in the coming months.
“We’ve come together because we have a longterm goal of revitalizing Vale Park and making it back into a welcoming, safe, and clean environment that the folks from the neighborhood will be able to take advantage of,” Patrick said.
Rotarian Fred Daniels said local club members have been focused recently on reducing poverty in their communities, and rejuvenating a park in the heart of Schenectady is very much in keeping with that effort.
“We’ve been looking at bigger themes as a [Rotary] district, and this year we’ve been looking at poverty,” said Daniels. “So we’re trying to help under-resourced communities…and [Vale Park] is a space that’s used by under-resourced and hard-pressed neighborhoods.”
Patrick added that Vale Park has a lot to offer and the cleanup is just the beginning of a wider push to increase the amount of people who use the space. There’s also an effort underway to connect the miSci Museum of Innovation and Science to the park via a nature path.
“We’re really trying to get people to understand that this is a beautiful place,” said Patrick. “It’s great for hiking and birdwatching, and we’re trying to get people to clean it up.”
The effort was coordinated through the office of City Council President Leesa Perrazzo, who is also chair of the Vale Park Task Force.
The Vale Park Task Force is set to host a number of events at the park this spring and summer, including movies in the park and a 5k run, as well as projects like the relocation of a playground and revitilization of the pavilion. Patrick said there will be a cleanup day the first Saturday of every month through October.
Vale Park is a 40-acre, 15 city block space that was initially part of Vale Cemetery, and has within it nine sections of Vale Cemetery and the Union College Faculty Cemetery.
For more information and opportunities to volunteer at Vale Park, visit schenectadyrotary.org.