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Columbus Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, February 20, 2003

A GREENER FUTURE FOR COLUMBUS PARK

After the events of September 11th Joseph Temeczko, a handyman from Minneapolis, Minnesota, donated his entire Estate, totaling $1.4 million, to New York City. Mr. Temeczko was an immigrant of Polish descent who came to America through Ellis Island and worked briefly at the Statue of Liberty before moving out West. He died on October 14, 2001, shortly after amending his Will "to honor those who perished in the disaster of September 11, 2001." Last week Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller announced that the City would use the Temeczko Estate to help fund two projects: the renovation of Columbus Park, in Lower Manhattan, and "The Daffodil Project," the largest citizen planting effort in New York City history.

"Like so many others who selflessly came to New York’s aid after September 11th, we are honored that Mr. Temeczko would bestow his life’s earnings upon us," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The renovation of Columbus Park is one of countless ways we plan to revitalize Lower Manhattan, and it will serve the community for years to come."

"The tragedy touched millions of people throughout the world, causing ordinary citizens to perform extraordinary acts of kindness for this City," said Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit Commissioner Jonathan Greenspun. "This is perhaps best exemplified in Joe Tomeczko, an individual whose dying wish was to help improve the lives of all New Yorkers."

"Although Joe always lived frugally, he loved to garden and was always proud to share the bounty of his flowerbeds," said William K. Wangensteen, Mr. Temeczko’s attorney. "Now his benefaction will continue his love of nature and beauty and bring some joy to the people of New York." 

The neighborhood that houses Columbus Park was directly affected by the attacks on the World Trade Center and served as one of the many gathering spots for candlelight vigils and community events. Temeczko’s donation will pay for the transformation of the asphalt field to a synthetic turf field. Once completed, Parks will erect a plaque dedicating the field in Mr. Temeczko’s honor.

The reconstruction of the playing field is part of a comprehensive proposed redesign to Columbus Park. The reconstruction will include curbing, paving, fences, bollards, play equipment, sports field with carpet style synthetic turf, basketball courts, game and picnic tables, benches and other furnishings. New drinking fountains, lighting system, storm drainage, irrigation and water supply system will improve maintenance of the landscape and better serve the public. The Temeczko funds are in addition to the $400,000 grant made by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation in October 2002 and the $1 million grant made by the National Parks Service’s Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program (UPARR) in June 2002 for the refurbishment of the Pavilion.

"Parks & Recreation is very grateful for this generous bequest which will support the vital restoration of Columbus Park," said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "The new synthetic turf, replacing the existing asphalt, will provide the Lower Manhattan community with a beautiful playing field to use all year long."

"The Daffodil Project" was launched on Saturday, October 20, 2001 as a citywide initiative to create a living memorial of hope. In 2001, over 10,000 volunteers came together to plant 1.5 million daffodils in all five boroughs. That spring the flowers bloomed to create vast ‘fields of gold’ throughout the City. In 2002, additional 500,000 were planted to bring the City’s grand total of daffodils to over 2 million. Mr. Temeczko’s bequest will help continue this urban beautification effort in years to come.

DONATE BLOOD AND HELP SAVE A LIFE

Calling all eligible donors from the Arsenal, Arsenal West, Arsenal North, the Manhattan Borough Office, and The Central Park Conservancy…please come to the Arsenal Gallery on Thursday, February 27, and Friday, February 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. for the annual Parks Blood Drive. Give Blood, save lives, and get 3 hours Comp Time.

For more information on donating blood please contact:

Arsenal Heidi Peal (212) 360-3442

Arsenal North Luke Gebhard (212) 360-2776

Arsenal West Tarice Harris (212) 830-7814

Manhattan Borough Veronica Llanos (212) 408-0221

Central Park Conservancy Nadiege Jean (212) 310-6635

Volunteers are needed for sign-in and canteen duty so if you can’t donate blood, you can volunteer your time. See you in the Arsenal Gallery.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs."

Ansel Adams

(February 20, 1902-1984)

Directions to Columbus Park

  • It's My Park Day at Columbus Park

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