By Rob Potter
LIBERTY March 9, 2001 In the near future, visitors and residents alike should see an improved LaPolt Park in Liberty.
The Liberty Revitalization Group, sponsored by the Liberty Chamber of Commerce, has big plans for the park.
At its latest meeting Wednesday night, the group members discussed plans to revitalize the park on the villages Main Street. The group also talked about its grant proposal for Sullivan Renaissance.
(Sullivan Renaissance, a collaborative effort between Sullivan First and the Beaverkill Foundation, is offering several grants to provide communities with seed money for a beautification project. Twenty grants of $1,000 each will be awarded at the end of the month, with $10,000 Second Prize and $20,000 Grand Prize grants to be handed out in August.)
The Liberty Revitalization group hopes to earn one of those $1,000 grants later this month.
The group has also formed a special committee dubbed A.L.I.V.E., which stands for Assembly for Libertys Investment in Visual Enhancement, to complete projects such as the improvement of LaPolt Park. Among the positive changes ALIVE plans for LaPolt Park aside from a general cleanup of the facility are setting new pavers, painting and repairing the parks benches, landscaping around the Parks and Rec building and repairing the fountain.
We sent a draft of the project to the Sullivan Renaissance steering committee, and it was extremely well-received, said Frank DeMayo, one of the leaders of the Liberty Revitalization Group. The idea is to have something that is going to visually enhance our town. Hopefully, when the project is completed, we will have something we can all be proud of.
While ALIVE certainly hopes to receive one of the Sullivan Renaissance grants, it will reform LaPolt Park with or without those funds. The group is currently planning fundraisers to cover the costs of the park improvements, which will run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Rita DeMayo, an area real estate agent, announced that the first fundraiser would be a dinner-dance. The event, featuring a prime rib dinner and Partymaster DJ, will take place on Saturday, May 19.
In addition, the group members spoke about the possibility of putting donation cans in Liberty-area businesses. There was also talk of designing and printing Liberty ALIVE t-shirts as another fundraiser.
We want to show everyone that the park is our focus now, group member and District 6 Legislator Jodi Goodman commented. But we want this improvement effort to grow like an octopus and spread out to the rest of the community.
After the meeting, Liberty Mayor Kevin Mullen who is also a member of the revitalization group marveled at the groups efforts.
When we started meeting about eight months ago, there were only eight to ten people here, Mullen said. We had upwards of 50 people here tonight. Its nice to see so many people interested in a revitalization effort.
Mullen also noted that, with approximately $5,000 in private donations, the village was recently able to pay off back taxes and fees to take ownership of the Town and Country Building on Main Street. The Town of Liberty and Village of Liberty have each applied for $22,000 grants for the demolition of the building and subsequent construction of a community plaza on the site, Mullen added.
While excited about that project, Mullen also noted that three new businesses have opened within the village recently. In addition, the top and bottom floors of the former Fleet Bank are being rented out to businesses.
Things are starting to happen in the village, Mullen said. A lot of residents are helping us improve the village for the future. And the big thing is that people are believing they can do it.