By Diana Page in a Letter to the Rye Record
We were delighted to see an article on Rye Town Park on the front page of the August 25th issue of The Rye Record and agree with the well-deserved kudos to Park Director Russ Gold and his hard-working staff.
Your readers may not realize the role that the Friends of Rye Town Park, a 501c3 nonprofit, plays in the partnership to keep the park beautiful.
For over 30 years, the Friends has provided critical support and funding for the park, including ambitious projects like restoring the pond to its original design, restoring the historic lamp posts, planting hundreds of trees, introducing the free summer concert series, and much more.
Late last year, the Park Director asked us to fund and staff the planting and maintenance of the majority of the park’s gardens. Our volunteer board members redesigned these gardens with a focus on native plants and hired a local landscaping firm to install and maintain them throughout the season. We selected and purchased 16 new trees, including our lovely new redbud necklace honoring Bill Lawyer, which were planted and cared for with the help of park staff. We funded the removal of dangerous invasive plant species to thwart the growing spotted lanternfly population.
In April, we unveiled the beautiful pond-side seating area we built in partnership with the Northshield family, featuring new stone walls, a centerpiece semicircular teak bench, and new native redbud trees and gardens. It is the perfect place to pause and enjoy views of the park, pond and Long Island Sound.
The Friends of Rye Town Park will spend over $62,000 this year alone to beautify the park and to supplement its landscaping staff. We add these to other highlights of our work in recent years: funding the daffodil hillside, in partnership with the Little Garden Club of Rye; providing seed funding and advocacy for the Rye Poetry Path; installing the beehives near the pond, with Park Director Gold volunteering as our beekeeper, and funding the new water fountains and beachside showers which park visitors use daily. The Rye Garden Club showed their support by planting two native trees in celebration of Earth Day. We welcomed several elementary school classes to the park this year, to explore the Rye Poetry Path, help us plant gardens in front of the Tower Building and generally enjoy the park as an outdoor classroom. We run beach cleanups and other volunteer events throughout the year.
We are grateful to our generous donors who make our work possible and invite anyone who would like to contribute to our mission to do so by visiting www.friendsofrtp.org/donate.
The Park is a splendid oasis by the sea, but its historic buildings and walls are crumbling before our eyes. The grants which the Rye Town Park Commission and its team diligently seek often require that the City of Rye and the Town of Rye, who share ownership of the park, provide matching funds. We implore all elected officials to make these critical investments in park infrastructure a priority.
– Diana Page, President, Friends of Rye Town Park