Utica, NY (WIBX) - Members of the Kemble Park Revitalization Committee are holding a "Visioning Session" tomorrow at the Home Ownership Center located on 1611 Genesee Street in Utica. Gene Allen with Cornhill Neighborhood Association, and also a member of the park committee, says through a partnership with Cornell University Landscape Design and the Home Ownership Center, the committee is developing an overall plan for the park that will include community representation.

Allen said, "The public is invited to come and give us some ideas of how they would like to see this park to go. What are the needs in the neighborhood? ... Because we know we need green space, we need places for the children to play and be off the streets, but how do you want this to look at the end of the day when everything is done." He calls it "Community Development 101." He says once a plan is in place, the committee will begin the grant writing process to help raise the nearly $400,000 needed to make the park a reality. However, he says the committee will also look to area residents to help raise the necessary funding to build the park.

Commissioner of Public Works for the City of Utica, Dave Short says he plans to attend the meeting to prepare for his department's part in helping to build the community park, even though the city is limited in what it can actually do to move the project forward. "We're very limited in what we're going to be doing. We'll lend some assistance maybe with some construction components, or maybe with some top soil or gravel, but it's really a community sponsored event along with the school district," he said. Short says Mayor Rob Palmieri supports the project, but also points to the city's budgetary constraints as a reason for the limited support it can offer.

Also, Short says the land for the proposed community park is owned by the Utica City School District and those involved with the planning aspect of the project are still ironing out a lease to rent the property. The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. and will convene at Noon. Community members are encouraged to attend and share their hopes and visions for the future community park. For more information contact the Cornhill Neighborhood Association.

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