SCHENECTADY — Three years ago, Camille Sasinowski was relaxing with friends at Steinmetz Park thinking about future improvements.
“We were dreaming about what would be nice,” Sasinowski said.
Those dreams led to concrete concepts released in January.
Plans for the Steinmetz Park Senior Garden and Neighborhood Veterans Memorial reveal a blend of modern park amenities, including fitness equipment and bocce court, paired with landscaping, benches and an interpretive panel.
The heart is a memorial to honor veterans from the Goose Hill neighborhood.
Organizers hope to break ground this summer and complete the project by Veterans Day in November.
“We’re up and running,” Sasinowski said.
Plans call for a solar-lit flagpole accompanied by a wall engraved with the names of neighborhood residents who served in the military and received an honorable discharge.
Sasinowski, who serves as the project co-chairwoman with David Bouck, said organizers have tracked down the names of 546 residents who have served.
“It’s a way to honor the people who grew up here and contributed over the years,” she said.
Now they’re trying to cross the fundraising goal.
The committee has secured $31,000 to date, including a $25,000 state grant through Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Colonie, coming from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Total costs are $46,000.
The community has been generous with their contributions, Bouck and Sasinowski said, including people like Alan Boulant, owner of Solid Surface Craftsman in Glenville, who donated the granite for the memorial.
“We weren’t going to ask for money from any veterans, although they have contributed because they already paid the price,” Sasinowski said.
The city will contribute in-kind services.
A separate component of the project at the 44-acre park aims to repair the stone wall running around the lake’s perimeter that was originally constructed during the Depression-era Works Progress Administration program.
Bouck said it wasn’t long ago the park in the city’s Goose Hill neighborhood nearly fell into complete disrepair.
“We were going to lose it,” he said.
Improvements as part of state- and county-funded renovation efforts included the construction of a new pavilion and infrastructure upgrades.
Sasinowski, who also serves as president of the Goose Hill Neighborhood Association, noted the park has historically served as the heart of the neighborhood, where friendships were forged over countless hours, and wants to see future generations capture that same sense of enjoyment.
She realizes life today is more transitory. But even if neighborhood children relocate to another part of the city, she hopes they will feel that same sense of ownership in their new local park.
“We grew up here,” said Sasinowski. “We wanted to recreate something something similar for today’s children and give them an outlet.”
Those wishing to donate can address checks to: Goose Hill Veterans Memorial, City of Schenectady, 105 Jay St., Schenectady, NY 12305.