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TRR photo by Karen Macbride
The Callicoon Creek Park offers visitors a place to renew their relationship with nature and the community. (Click for larger image)

Bringing the river to a river town


CALLICOON — In the beginning, Callicoon, or Callicoon Depot as it was called, was a small group of buildings clustered around the railroad track. The track is still there, zippering down the center of town, giving this small hamlet the feel of an old-time western town. The several-times-daily freight train still rolls through, recalling the excitement of those bygone days when the railroad was the future. It’s a wonderful feeling to step out of the Callicoon Theater after a late movie and be confronted by a roaring freight engine, less than a stone’s throw away, and be swept into the past as the countless cars clatter by.

These days, the focus is changing. Although the architecture on both sides of Main Street stares fixedly at the tracks, a shift has occurred. The Callicoon Creek and the Delaware River, the natural beauties that flow by this town much more steadily than the trains, are being accessed and developed for use by the community and visitors alike.

TRR photos by Karen Macbride
Click for full images

The Callicoon Creek Park is located behind Main Street in Callicoon. It features park benches along the Callicoon Creek,  a flag pole dedicated to victims of September 11, the Sullivan County Farmer’s Market ((06)Contributed photo by Christina Maloney) on Sundays and perenial gardens. A painted river walk leads visitors through the gateway.

This is the second year that volunteers have worked on the park as part of the Town of Delaware’s participation in the Sullivan Renaissance beautification initiative.

Future plans include the construction of a performance space and concerts along the river.

The Callicoon Creek Park (CPP), now in its second year, is located behind Main Street and right on the riverbank. It is rapidly evolving into a lively center for community activities. This evolution has been a community effort, with many local groups and organizations as well as dozens of individuals donating their time, energy and expertise to create a beautiful public gathering area. The town is completely behind this effort and has helped in many ways. “I fully support it; they are doing a wonderful job,” said William Moran, Supervisor of the Town of Delaware.

“It’s been amazing how people have come forward and have become a part of the project and now feel a connection and ownership of the park,” said Ginny Boyle, one of the original movers and shakers. “The big reward is seeing the park being used.”

The CCP has hosted a variety of events to date, including a Flag Dedication and Ceremony to the Victims of 9/11, the Veteran’s Memorial Dedication and the farmer’s market, which sets up every Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The upcoming Sloan Wainwright concert on August 17 will highlight a new dimension, music and performance. The funds garnered from this concert, and other sources, will help toward the goal of a permanent performance pavilion.

Michael Chojnicki, who has been involved in the project from the onset, said, “My vision of the park is to bring the river into a river town. By bringing the town focus to the river, lower Main Street can open up and develop, right now there is only the back of the stores. This is really the next frontier for expanding Main Street, since geographically upper Main Street is locked in.”

With solid community support and a possible grant from The Sullivan Renaissance Program (winners of the grant will be announced August 25), the CCP supporters will surely realize more of their dreams. “Another dream of the committee is to build a footbridge across the Callicoon Creek connecting the new CCP and the Delaware Youth Center grounds,” Chojnicki said. “This connection will make it safer for the kids to freely access both spaces without having to use the street.”

For now, the park is a relaxing haven.

“In this time, places to go and commune with each other and nature are important places,” Boyle said. “This is something that we are losing from our culture. We need to bring back our connection with each other and with the community.”

News & columns provided by The River Reporter