U-E School District, Endicott Rotary Club collaborate in upcoming Tiger Park project

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Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 12:38 AM EST
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ENDICOTT (WBNG) -- The Union-Endicott School District is working on a special community project in collaboration with the Endicott Rotary Club.

Superintendent Nicole Wolfe said the project, called “Tiger Legacy Project,” will commemorate past, present and future students in the upcoming “Tiger Park.”

“The Tiger Legacy Project was the creation of Billy Nolis, class of 1979 who came up with the concept of having tigers represent the past, present, and future tigers of Union-Endicott,” said Wolfe.

Artist and U-E alum Billy Nolis designed a steel tiger monument, weighing about 4,000 pounds, to be placed in Tiger Park. The park will be located in between the high school and district office.

“Throughout my life I just wanted to do something for U-E and give back, and this came to me,” said Nolis. “I brought it to the board, and the board liked the idea so we made it happen.”

Along with the steel tigers, personalized bricks to commemorate past, current and future tigers will also be placed in Tiger Park.

Members of the community are able to purchase the bricks -- with funds directly benefiting the district through classroom grants for teachers.

The park will also include picnic seating areas for students and members of the community.

“This whole overarching park will be something the community can utilize and remember moving forward in the future,” said Wolfe.

At the center of Tiger Park stands the George F. Johnson Memorial monument. The Endicott Rotary Club is working with the district to revitalize the statue as part of the project.

“We’re really honored to be able to collaborate with the Union-Endicott School District to refurbish this monument,” said Endicott Rotary President Mario Salati. “The monument over the years has deteriorated, its sinking because of water damage, letters are missing and the statue itself needs to be refurbished.”

Salati said the restoration of the statue will likely be a multi-year project. The original contracting company of the monument, Endicott Monument, is willing to facilitate the rehabilitation.

The project cost to restore the monument is $135,000, and the rotary is asking for the community’s help in reaching this goal, as the statue will be the focal point of Tiger Park.

“George F. Johnson gave so much to our entire community. Parks, carousels, hospitals, the things that we’re enjoying today,” said Salati. “We need to say thank you to the guy that gave it all to us, so that’s why this project is so important.”

More information on the restoration of the George F. Johnson monument and how to donate can be found here.

Phase two of the project, where members of the community can purchase a personalized brick, will be announced by the Union-Endicott School District.