What began with a vision, conceived by Arc Herkimer’s leadership on an afternoon stroll through a nearby empty field, is now a one-of-a-kind, fully accessible recreation facility where individuals of all ages and abilities are welcome.
Arc Park is the first and only public park of its kind in a nine-county region to provide a completely accessible outdoor recreation experience. Located behind the Arc Herkimer Business Park on East German Street in Herkimer, the brightly colored playground includes jungle gyms, swing sets, slides and distinct equipment for all age groups and abilities to enjoy. A wheelchair friendly fitness trail meanders throughout the park, connecting five exercise stations. Overlooking basketball courts and a softball field is the bandstand and concession facility – a gathering space for concerts, entertainment and events.
In June 2017, hundreds turned out for a grand opening celebration, the culmination of several years of planning, fundraising and collective support of many community partners. Now, after a year in operation, Arc Park is a daily recreational destination for hundreds of community residents and visitors from around the region. The park is host to many summer activities including youth programs, fitness groups, wellness events, craft fairs and band nights, with activities at the family pavilion nearly every weekend.
In addition to community engagement and an overwhelmingly positive response from local families, Arc Park has received promotional attention from Arc of New York and Arc of the U.S. The park will also be featured in an upcoming article in the New York State Legislature Commission Rural Resources newsletter.
These outcomes confirm The Community Foundation’s decision to invest $80,000 in grants to support the Arc Park project and have advanced the organization’s long-time partnership with Arc Herkimer. In total, The Community Foundation contributed more than $200,000 to the $1.5 million park through the generosity of five donor-advised funds including: A. Richard Cohen Family Fund; Albert S. Mazloom Family Fund; Bull Family Fund; Hummel Family Fund; and M&T Bank/Partners Trust Bank Charitable Fund.
To cover the final cost of construction and ongoing park maintenance, Arc Herkimer continues to seek additional funding. Future goals for the park include the addition of accessible bathroom facilities, a wheelchair accessible platform swing, and a splash park area.
Collaboration among many partners helped accomplish the initial goal to create a fun-filled recreation park for all ages and abilities to enjoy – providing only a glimpse of the project’s ultimate potential.
“This has the potential to go beyond the Village of Herkimer and Herkimer County,” said Frank Reid, Arc Herkimer’s vice president for strategic development. “As it’s the only facility of its kind in the region, people can come here for a day and have a recreational experience they might not have otherwise because it’s not available in their area. That’s really the long-range vision for this park – to become a destination that will bring people together from all around.”