Date: September 29, 2020
Contact: David Galin
ALBANY, NY – Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan joined state, county, and local elected officials, Department of Recreation Commissioner Jonathan Jones, and community representatives to announce she is proposing a nearly $2 million investment in Lincoln Park as part of her 2021 proposed budget. These improvements – derived directly from the Lincoln Park Master Plan study that was completed in 2019 – include the building of a Hillside Open Air Theater, the addition of a pavilion, seating, and fitness equipment along the Morton Avenue Overlook Pavilion, and pedestrian safety improvements along the perimeter of the Park.
The level of proposed investment in Lincoln Park could not have been possible without financial commitments of $250,000 from New York State Assemblymember Patricia Fahy and $200,000 from New York State Assemblymember John McDonald.
Mayor Sheehan also announced the City of Albany will revitalize the Ridgefield, Westland Hills, Mater Christi, and Washington Parks Playgrounds in 2021 – part of a plan centered around equity that has already led to 20 revitalized playgrounds across the City since 2014.
Mayor Sheehan’s 2021 proposed budget will be released in its entirety on Thursday, October 1.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, “Even in the face of unprecedented fiscal challenges, the City of Albany is doubling down on our commitment to equity. These unique investments in our City parks – including one of our crown jewels, Lincoln Park – will help make these important community spaces destinations for years to come. Thank you to Assemblymembers Fahy and McDonald for helping make these improvements a reality for our residents, and to the local elected officials and residents who advocated for these important investments.”
New York State Assemblymember Patricia Fahy said, “Since the turn of the 20th Century, Lincoln Park has served well in its role as both a public green space for City residents and a key place for community gatherings and events. I am proud to have secured a $250,000 grant that will assist Mayor Sheehan’s plans to add an Open-Air Theater and upgrade pedestrian infrastructure throughout much of the park. These improvements will cement Lincoln Park even further as a cultural and social center in the City of Albany, while investing directly in the South End neighborhood and the surrounding community.”
New York State Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, “I am proud to provide continued support to the Capital City through the Lincoln Park improvements. I applaud the City of Albany and Mayor Sheehan for continuing to invest in our communities. Improving and adding resources to our parks is vitally important at a time when utilization is at its peak and even more people can benefit from better access.”
New York State Senator Neil Breslin said, “It is so important to continue to invest in the outdoor spaces that enrich our community and give residents opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle.”
Chairman of the Albany County Legislature Andrew Joyce said, “Our city parks are vitally important to establishing the quality of life in the community, specifically for our youth. Now more than ever, it is pivotal that children can have a safe environment where they can be physically active and socialize with others their age. I commend the City of Albany for investing in our parks as they provide a valuable resource for everyone.”
Albany County Legislator Carolyn McLaughlin said, “Lincoln Park is a gem. I’m proud to have spent much of my life enjoying this beautiful neighborhood greenspace. I walk this park several days a week along with many other residents. It is worth this sizable investment in capital improvements to ensure residents and visitors alike have the opportunity to enjoy its beauty.”
Albany County Legislator Matthew Peter said, “Investing in our City’s park system is vital for economic and neighborhood development. Lincoln Park and Washington Park are not just important places to recreate but serve as the heart of our community. Thank you to Mayor Sheehan for investing in this vital infrastructure.”
Chief City Auditor Dorcey Applyrs said, “The proposed Lincoln Park enhancements are symbolic of taking steps to prioritize the health and well-being of South End residents. The built environment is a social determinant of health. Having a safe space to engage in recreational activities promotes healthy decisions and lifestyles. The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the importance of functional and well-maintained parks in our urban neighborhoods. Our youth, families, and seniors depend on parks like Lincoln Park as a convenient place to properly socially distance while engaging in activities the preserve one's mental and physical health. The creation of the Hillside Open Air Theater, Morton Avenue Overlook Pavilion and other improvements will further enhance the beauty of the South End's cherished Lincoln Park.”
7th Ward Common Councilmember Cathy Fahey said, “Our parks are truly the jewels of our city and the creation of an open air theatre and pedestrian improvements in Lincoln Park will enable this tremendous asset to sparkle and shine, benefiting us all.”
1st Ward Common Councilmember Sonia Frederick said, “Lincoln Park is a staple for our City and our South End and Delaware Avenue communities. I'm excited to see such great investment going towards renovation of this park that will benefit our City for years to come.”
6th Ward Common Councilmember Richard Conti said, “Urban parks are among the most important amenities cities offer. Albany is blessed with some beautiful greenspace, including Lincoln Park, Washington Park and the Tivoli Preserve. I'm pleased that during 2021 the City will maintain its commitment to urban parks including upgrading the play area in Washington Park to a playground that was developed with the input of neighborhood stakeholders.”
10th Ward Common Councilmember Owusu Anane said, “The new investments we’re seeing in Ridgefield Park will pay dividends in the form of kids having fun in a safer environment, and adults and seniors enjoying new exercising activities. This will ensure that Pine Hills remains a great place to live, work, and literally play.”
Daniel McEneny, President of the Washington Park Conservancy said, “The Washington Park Conservancy is thrilled to continue our partnership with the city to bring a new playground to the historic center of the city’s park system. The Conservancy has hired TWLA Landscape Architects to create conceptual designs for a destination playground in Washington Park. Over the next six months the Conservancy, the Department of Recreation, and the consultants will be working extensively to engage city residents, particularly our youth from all city neighborhoods, to help develop a site that stirs a sense of imagination, creativity, and play.”
Andrew Neidhardt, President of Walkable Albany said, “Walkable Albany is excited to see Mayor Sheehan fulfilling her promise to focus on investing in our city's historically underserved neighborhoods. We are especially glad to see that the Mayor is focusing on pedestrian safety improvements in and around the park. Prior generations' focus on speeding up auto traffic has resulted in tragic injuries along Morton Avenue, like the six-year-old who was hit by a driver last September; we must commit as a city to making our streets safe for everyone.”
Lily Mercogliano, Co-Founder of the Lincoln Park Alliance said, "Lincoln Park is a treasure in the city of Albany. We love our park and are excited for it to get the resources it deserves. The Lincoln Park Alliance has been formed to sustain and advance Lincoln Park for the benefit of the diverse communities, particularly residents of Albany's South End, which is serves. This is a growing new organization. If you love Lincoln Park too and want to be involved please connect with us on Twitter @LPA_Albany or email the Lincoln Park Alliance."