Improvements Planned For Norwich Park

By Julianne Sweeney

July 22, 2010 Updated Mar 28, 2008 at 5:14 PM EDT

A group hopes to raise more than a half million dollars to improve two popular parks in Norwich.

It's been working on the plans since 2002.

Right now, the East and West Side Parks in Downtown Norwich are empty.

But in a couple months, people will crowd the 2 parks for summertime concerts and festivals.

"This is really the focal point and the gathering point of the entire county. And it has been for 200 years," says Eric Larson, of "Friends of the Park."

"Friends of the Park" want to give the parks a facelift, while maintaining the historical style of downtown.

This group of volunteers is proposing new sidewalks, lighting and electric systems.

And also an enclosed stage, complete with a sound system.

Normally if there's a performance in the park, a makeshift stage is set up here on the front steps of the county courthouse.

"The people that come in to set up for these events, they find some of the infrastructures outdated," says Pegie LoPresti of Norwich Business Improvement District.

Chenango County needs to approve the plans because the county owns the parks.

Still, these friends of the park have already found a friend in the city.

Mayor Joseph Maiurano says he's on board.

"If we want things to be better, we have to start building, and we have to make a few changes. And this is a very positive change," says Maiurano.

And many people in the community give the thumbs up.

"This is would only grow the tourism that we're trying to get here into Chenango County," says Kathy Coates of Norwich.

In hopes that the parks become more of a destination area for everyone to enjoy.

The group hopes Chenango County supervisors will make a decision in the next month or two.

It's also asking for 90-thousand dollars in county funding.

But the 560-thousand dollar project would be funded mostly through private donations.

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