November 30, 2021

Pitching in for park

Dwyer site in Preble undergoes a flurry of repairs

Shenandoah Briere/contributing photographer

From left Conor Hayes, 10, Cooper Burt, 11, and Michael McCall, 14, of Boy Scout Troop 85 out of Homer begin scraping one of the bridges that crosses the creek at Dwyer Memorial Park in Preble. The Scouts were just one group that has been involved with trying to beautify and fix up the park.

A group of Boy Scouts from Homer worked together Saturday, talking each other through lowering a blue tarp just above the rushing water of the creek at Dwyer Memorial Park in Preble and dragging it under the bridge, so it could to catch specs of old or fresh paint.

The 31 Scouts were painting the bridges and landscaping around the flagpole — an Eagle Scout project developed by 15-year-old Matthew Eckstrom.

“I wanted to help out my community in some way and I thought about how the CRT (Cortland Repertory Theatre) was doing stuff here,” Eckstrom said. That’s when he got the idea to repaint the three smaller bridges in the park, do landscaping around the flagpole and paint three benches.

The troops are just one group among several working to beautify the park.

County Legislator Linda Jones (R-Homer) said much of the focus on the park has been the repairs to the pavilion theater. The theater will have a new roof, gutters and fresh coat of paint, funded by a $300,000 state grant secured by Assembly Member Barbara Lifton (D-Ithaca). County maintenance crews have also been fixing things both inside and outside the building, including putting a railing around the lower portion of the pavilion.

Want to be involved?

• Visit the Friends of Dwyer Park Facebook page:

• Call Legislator Linda Jones: 607-423-6653

However, Jones and county Legislature Clerk Eric Mulvihill said more has been done or is under way.

“The biggest project is the 22 stone fire places built in 1951,” Jones said. “What we’re looking for now is for masons to donate their work on them or for families to adopt them.”

The stone fireplaces, which also have inserts so they can be used as grills, are crumbling.

Jones said $700 has been raised to repair the fireplaces and that a family of masons has adopted a fireplace, while other masons are looking at adopting one or donating their skills. Jones said she’s not sure what the estimated value of work will be for the fireplaces. She said it will vary for each.

• The park will also get seven new hibachi grills, which are being fabricated by Homer Iron Works. They will have steel covers to help them last through the seasons and be 24 inches wide instead of the previous 16 inches. They will cost around $1,800.

• A water infiltration system was installed at the park, at the direction of the county Health Department. A new well pump was added, as well as a water holding tank to replace the one from around the 1950s or 1960s. Repairs were also made to the wading pool filtration system. The project cost around $20,000, Mulvihill said.

• Roof repairs will happen on two of the three pavilions in the park, although Mulvihill didn’t say when that would take place or the cost associated with it.

• County crews built 18 picnic tables last winter and 16 the winter before.

• Town and Country Garden Club started over the weekend restoring the Colonial Herb Garden. The club will maintain the garden, which was once cared for by the Little York Garden Club, which ended its involvement around 2014 as club members aged.

Other projects under consideration are painting the larger bridges at the park, repairing Mary’s Bridge on Mary’s Trails along the east side of the park near Interstate 81, adding a volleyball court, replacing the playground equipment and adding horseshoe pits.

Mulvihill said some of the projects may be covered by state funding but the county won’t know how much until it submits the claims.

“You spend the money in the first instance and then you submit the vouchers and claims and they decide up to $300,000 what to reimburse,” he said.

Whatever is not covered will come out a $90,000 reserve account set up to cover projects at the park.

Jones said the work at the park took off last year after she and the Friends of Dwyer Park raised money to fix the old circus cars. Jones said the artwork on the cars should be finishing in the next month.

“It lit a fire,” she said. “It made me realize I wasn’t the only one who loved the park and had so many great memories there. It’s just been ballooning from there. It’s exciting.”