Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Gonna try with a little help from my Friends...

I often talk about the importance of our neighborhoods. I truly believe that we can only be successful if our neighborhoods are strong, united, and willing to fight for a better future.

On a similar note, the help we receive from local organized community groups can be just as important. One group that has recently reestablished itself is the Friends of Barker Park. This group really brings a smile to my face. It is a diverse group, made up of young professionals, veteran developers, and talented residents eager to make a difference in their community.

Taking over for the previous Friends of Barker Park, this new group has made great strides in making strategic improvements in a short time period. They have partnered with the City to rehabilitate the park and transform it into a welcoming urban center for everyone to enjoy.

Known first as the site of the former City Hall, and more recently the avian-influenced Pigeon Park, this area was unfortunately forgotten for far too long. That has changed thanks to the vision of the Friends and its members. Troy will continue to do all it can to help out with the different phases of the project. During the first portion, we provided the labor that removed old concrete pavers, benches, and made the decision to remove dilapidated playground equipment. Below are some pictures of that original work, and one of the early results:

The next phase of the project includes removing the remainder of the antiquated concrete pavers and installing additional grass to help make the park more appealing.

It is a very ambitious project that will take a combination of hard work and unique fund-raising to complete. As a City, we are going to do all that we can to raise the profile of the park, and more broadly, the 3rd Street area. In July we held a concert with Rocky Velvet during Troy Night Out. It was a great time. The band put on an energetic show, and the Friends had a chance to talk about their plans for the park with the general public. Stay tuned for more shows in the future during Troy Night Out.

Here's the band warming up several weeks ago.

Up next for Barker Park is a public meeting Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Saint Anthony's Church on State Street. Unfortunately, there has been some misinformation about the park out there, and I know that the Friends are looking forward to clearing all that up, while receiving some new ideas for future phases of work.

For more information on the park, check out

There are many groups like the Friends of Barker Park around the City, and each brings a different level of interest to different projects. Whether it's the Friends of Prospect Park or the Frear Park Conservancy or a number of others, they all do their piece to improve some part of Troy, and we could not be more thankful or happy.

Have a great day! If you need any information on any topic of the upcoming election, feel free to e-mail me at