Faces of Dryden: Changing faces of Dryden parks


By Cathy Wakeman

Tompkins Weekly


To walk past the once avoided Montgomery Park is to see a playground bustling with children, sports courts teaming with ball players and a pavilion hosting picnics. That turn-around in just a few short years can be attributed to a small group of committed citizens who worked for change.

One of those citizens, Debbie Fisher, is one of the Village of Dryden’s newest members of the Board of Trustees. Fisher first got involved at the village level with her appointment to the Montgomery Park Comprehensive Plan Committee. Formed in 2015, this committee was tasked with coming up with a comprehensive plan for the upgrade of this prominent village park nestled between Main and Elm streets.

Hiring a landscape architect, surveying the needs of the community, seeing the plan approved by the village board and beginning to implement the three phases of the plan were some of the tasks this committee accomplished. With phase one of the three-phase plan mostly done and several other parts of the infrastructure done or underway, the Committee will sunset and the Village will focus on maintaining the park.

The Friends of Montgomery Park, an independent group of residents of both the village and the town, will come together to dream and explore what we as a community would like to do with this lovely new space.

On Tuesday, Aug. 21, a community visioning session about the future of the park will take place at the Southworth Library, 24 West Main Street, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Members of the community have an opportunity to offer input about and participate in the future of Montgomery Park.


Playground Committee Coordinator Mary Kirkwyland says “The goal is to connect people in the community with the park. The session will focus on visioning what you would like to see happen at the park and encouraging programming along that vein. We’ll be asking the questions, ‘What does the community want to see in the park and how can we work to make that happen?’ The main point is that we are trying to break down any barriers that would prevent various groups that want to use the park for any reason.”

The Village has formalized the reservation structure of the park, now allowing for the various parts of the park to be reserved independently. A $100 refundable deposit will reserve a space, with a $20 fee for the individual sites, such as the pavilion and gazebo. Now there will be no guessing if a park space will be available, as with the first-come-first-served format that currently exists.

A wide swath of the community is invested in Tuesday’s meeting, including the Southworth Library Association, the Town of Dryden, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Tompkins Families. Kids, families, and community members alike are all invited to share their vision, ideas, and talents. Light refreshments will be served. If you know you’ll be coming, please R.S.V.P. to the Southworth Library at 607-844-4782 or southworthlibrary@gmail.com.

As Debbie has learned in her almost five months on the Village Board, while certain aspects of village life are prominent and easy to see, the bulk of the work isn’t in the public eye. Tomorrow’s meeting is another opportunity to cast a vision for the future of our village and participate in making our community all that we want it to be.


Freeville Facelift

Taking advantage of the sunny weather, a team of residents from the Village of Freeville were busy working in Freeville’s Mill Dam Park. Mayor David Fogel, Village Board Member Miles McCarty and Stephanie Goddard installed a new sign and planter box to welcome visitors. Goddard says, “Once the pressure-treated wood has had a couple of months to dry out the box and posts will be painted, to be followed by soil improvement and new plants in the spring.”


Change of Plans

The weather has played havoc with the Dryden Recreation Department’s Music in the Hollow series, held outdoors at the Ellis Hollow Community Center. While the Music on the Hill series at the Dryden VFW moves inside when the weather isn’t cooperating, the Ellis Hollow Community Center just isn’t that big.

The “spicy blend of rock blues and funk” scheduled to play at the center on Tuesday, Aug. 7 was rescheduled. Lil’ Anne and Hot Cayenne play at the Hollow on Tuesday, Aug. 28. New this year at Music in the Hollow is the addition of “The Good Truck.” This Ithaca-based food truck offers locally sourced, seasonal foods, “with a Mexican flare.”

So stretch out your summer just a bit longer, take one more dip in the Ellis Hollow pool and come out for an evening of spicy fun!


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