Several non profit organizations such as Central New York Conservancy, Indivisible Mohawk Valley (IMV), Interfaith Coalition of Greater Utica are working together to plan improvements to Utica’s Proctor Park and create a “Peace Garden” as designated by the Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT). UU Utica has been invited to join this effort and the Board has agreed since this project so clearly aligns with our congregation’s commitment to social and climate justice. Some of these include the following.
-Enhancing and expanding access to nature in urban settings such as Utica provides community members opportunities for exercise, fresh air, peaceful contemplation.
-Honoring the diverse population of Utica, especially refugees who have come here to escape political violence honors their contributions to our community.
-Planting indigenous grasses and trees in urban settings returns land use to more natural setting and adds oxygen to the atmosphere.
A detailed description and sketches of the improvements and plantings to be made is here. The cistern repair and development of the Peace Garden is to occur this spring. Future work involves repairs to the bridge across the Starch Factory Creek which runs through the park and cleaning up the forest and paths on that side of the creek which has been out of use for many years. Replanting native trees throughout the park is also planned.
Those interested in supporting this effort to provide enhanced green space for the Utica Community and honor residents who have come here searching for peace are invited to make a contribution. IMV is collecting the funds on behalf of this project so checks should be made out CNY Conservancy with Peace Garden- UU written in the memo line and mailed to Deborah Wilson-Allam, IMV, 2 Laurelwood Rd, New Hartford, NY 13413. As the weather improves and the pandemic wanes, there will be future opportunities for those interested to gather in the park for volunteer work parties or just to enjoy the scenery with friends.