by Linda Viertel –
With its magnificent views of the Hudson River, the Dobbs Ferry Waterfront Park draws walkers, concert goers, picnickers, dog walkers, soccer players, runners, kids who enjoy the newly refurbished playground, and many others. But, in these days of limited municipal funding, “it takes a village” to maintain a park. To this end, the Friends organization was set up officially in 2012, succeeding the Waterfront Committee which had helped secure and add to funding from New York State, the County, Village, and private donations for major park renovation. In 2015, when the initial restoration was completed, the Waterfront Committee was disbanded and now the Friends organization has been working in partnership with the Village, its Recreation Commission and DPW. The Friends provides improvements over and above what the Village of Dobbs Ferry can provide.
The Friends of the Dobbs Ferry Waterfront Park, Inc. a public/private non-profit 501( c )3 corporation was formed “to support and provide funds for the preservation, conservation, improvement and development of the park for use by the general public.” This active group of volunteers works closely with the Dobbs Ferry mayor, its board of trustees, DPW staff and village police to extend their efforts and enhance one of Dobbs Ferry’s greatest assets.
Their ongoing efforts, to date, include: planting two new willow trees at Willow Point plus a new tree near the playground, renovating plantings and bushes, enhancing soil for new tree and shrub plantings, hiring an expert tree trimming company to prune and care for existing trees, commissioning a landscape plan by a local expert, hiring an expert videographer and arborist to create training videos for current and future village employees on tree care, and advising village officials on safety issues such as removal of tree stumps. Other energetic volunteers are pulling out invasive vines and weeding.
Plans are in the works for the installation of flowering lilacs, additional shade trees for the picnic area, and the expansion, rehabilitation and maintenance of several flower beds, such as the park’s iconic and formerly vibrant patch of black-eye Susans, all to be accomplished with longevity and future ease of care to insure viability. For these enhancements, The Friends is seeking to raise $25,000, which will be matched dollar for dollar by a generous resident, thereby doubling any contribution. Any amount contributed is tax-deductible, and those contributing $100 or more will be listed on the Friends website.
President of the Board of Directors, Marie McKellar, gives special thanks to Dobbs Ferry landscape architect Lisa Guggenheimer, who drew up the plan for the park, and landscape designer Elizabeth Martin, an unpaid advisor to the group’s work. Other official advisors include Wayne Cahilly (arborist), Nancy Delmerico (graphic designer), Karen Jenkins (fundraiser), and Susan Weisenberg (expert gardener). In addition, generous support has been provided by Will Vitagliano (arborist), Rishi Gandhi (videographer), Bill Logan (arborist), Emerald Tree and Shrub Care, and Kevin Mangan (Rosedale Nurseries). The hard-working Board of Directors’ members helping McKellar are Jeanne Ceccolini, David Koenigsberg, Arch McKellar (treasurer), Mayor Robert McLoughlin and Kathryn Slocum.
So many volunteers, advisors, contributors and village officials have come together on behalf of maintaining this valuable community resource already. As McKellar says, “We are all working together to renovate and beautify the park while keeping it functional.”
Contributions can be made online at: www.dfwaterfrontpark.org. If payment by check is preferred, please mail it to Friends of Dobbs Ferry Waterfront Park, P.O. Box, 543, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. 10522.