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Inmates Put Finishing Touches On Wankel Park Project

Jeanette Lenoir, WIBX

Utica, NY (WIBX) – The only Little League baseball field in South Utica is getting a face lift.  It’s a collaborative project between the City of Utica and the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office. With free labor from inmates, officials are building a grand entrance to Wankel park, complete with flowers and other shrubbery. The construction items were donations from the City’s leftover park supply.

Oneida County Legislator, Daniel Travesani, (19th-Dist.) says the project is an example of getting the most out of County tax dollars. “Obviously the City, they’re strapped right now with manpower, not only will they not be able to build it, they will not be able to maintain it. So, with the left-over material, the inmates can come here and build a grand entrance and then I’m going to get a group of volunteers to help maintain it. And, it’s a start …it’s a start at this park,” he said.

He says the deal is a win-win for all, because the inmates learn horticulture skills, which can transfer to real job opportunities after their release. Also, officials say the inmates must first qualify to join the jail’s horticulture work program. Some of the criteria include classification, health, status and charges.

Jeanette Lenoir, WIBX

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