Darlene Waldrone, of People for Positive Action, was one of several volunteers who broke ground on the Saranac Riverbank Park Saturday, June 1. The group will meet every Saturday at 2 p.m. through fall to work on the park. The public is welcome to join in.
PLATTSBURGH— In the hot, humid weather of Saturday, June 1, a group of people gathered in the shade of a tree behind the Farmer’s Market pavilion downtown.
A slight breeze picked up as they waited for the rest of their group to show.
The volunteers were members of People for Positive Action, and they were ready to begin cleanup and seed planting at the group’s newly adopted Saranac Riverbank Park.
Last August, People for Positive Action claimed the strip of land along the Saranac River that stretches between the Broad Street and Bridge Street bridges through the city’s Adopt-a-Spot program.
The program allows organizations to claim a natural area to beautify or revitalize it.
All applicants must be approved by a City Council vote before they can begin.
Once completed, the Saranac Riverbank Park will become a community park.
But there is still a lot of work to be done.
Mary Alice Shemo, one of the Chairs of People for Positive Action, said “It’s everybody’s park, it’d be nice if everyone would keep it nice.”
Darlene Waldrone, a volunteer who has been with the group for a couple months, added, “Nothing is more important than supporting your local park.”
The June 1 effort was the first of many Saturdays in the summer and fall that volunteers will be working in the area.
The City of Plattsburgh will provide trash bags, some tools and work gloves, and volunteers are encouraged to bring their own tools if they can.
“It’ll [the cleanup meetings] be a loose thing from summer to fall every Saturday starting at 2 p.m. behind the Farmer’s Market,” Shaun O’Connell, also a Chair of People for Positive Action, said. “Anyone who’s interested can show up.”
O’Connell wants to open up the view of the river by clearing brush and pruning the deciduous trees up to 6 feet high.
To prevent erosion of the steep bank, she said volunteers will leave the roots intact and will plant more trees and shrubs to strengthen the bank.
Along with cleaning up the area, O’Connell envisions benches and a safe walkway down to the river.
Jesse Feiler, chair of the Citizen Advisory Committee of the Saranac River Trail, explained that the park will eventually become one of several loops diverging from the main river trail.
“The mantra for trails is connecting, building what you can and linking spots together,” he said.
City Engineer Kevin Farrington said the city council wanted citizens and community members to take an active role in cleaning up the area around them.
“I think it’s (the Saranac Riverbank Park) a great example of public and private partnership and I give a lot of credit to Shaun, her group, and other groups in their efforts to beautify the city,” Farrington said.