Midway Park has been around longer than most area residents; and like anything that spans the course of time, it needs help with maintenance.
But Midway will receive the help of dozens of volunteers this Saturday, as part of the state's second annual I Love My Park Day.
"We're very excited," said Kate Gross, park manager for Midway and Long Point state parks. "We had 60 volunteers last year. We gained some new volunteers this year through the Americorps project. We have lots of things that we could use help with here at Midway. We've set up for some volunteers to help paint fences and the golf course, to help clean up the rides that have been set up, and there's some gardening and leaf removal to be done, as well as the planting of some perennial plants. There's a little bit of touching up that needs to be done on some of the rides, as well."
Volunteer projects, such as the ones described at Midway, will be completed throughout many state parks in New York. I Love My Park Day is a second-year statewide event to improve and enhance New York's state parks and historic sites and bring visibility to the entire state park system and its needs. Volunteers from across the state will participate in cleanup, improvement, and beautification events at state parks and historic sites. Volunteers will celebrate the state park system by cleaning up park lands and beaches, planting trees and gardens, restoring trails and wildlife habitat, removing invasive species, and working on various site improvement projects.
"Gov. Cuomo continues his remarkable commitment to keeping all of our parks and sites open for the public to enjoy, making historic investments to improve the infrastructure of parks, and exercising great leadership in making sure the parks damaged in Superstorm Sandy will be open this summer," state Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. "Yet we continue to need the support of the public and dedicated partners to make our parks and sites the very best they can be. I Love My Park Day is a great way for citizens to make a strong show of support for New York's wonderful park system. I'm grateful to Parks & Trails New York for organizing this inspiring initiative, and I am thrilled to welcome the many New Yorkers who love their parks to join us again on I Love My Park Day."
Many of the volunteers who will be participating in I Love My Park Day at Midway have already signed up, however Gross stated that there will be projects available for volunteers who make an impromptu decision to donate their time on Saturday morning.
"There is still an opportunity to register," said Gross. "You can register on the parks and trails website, or you can just show up. We'll have volunteer forms here for anyone who shows up. The event runs Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Everyone is meeting at the Midway office down by the arcade at 9 a.m., and will disperse to work on projects. Volunteers who show up after 9 a.m. can simply join in when they arrive."
The parks and trails website can be found at www.ptny.org/ilovemypark/findanevent.shtml.
And because Midway State Park was first opened in 1894, I Love My Park Day offers parents and grandparents an opportunity to volunteer with their children and grandchildren at a park they likely played in at the same age.
"You definitely see the multigenerational families that came to help last year," said Gross. "It's very special to hear a grandparent tell their grandchild, 'I rode that carousel with your grandmother when we were dating.' Then they were able to come back that summer and ride the carousel with that grandchild. It's all very special."
For questions about how to help Midway celebrate I Love My Park Day, call 386-3165.