Vanderbilt Park Marks a Community Milestone

The town park at the center of Greenville has seen countless baseball games played on its grounds, kids growing up at its playground, festivals and so much more over the years.

By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media

Community Gathers at Vanderbilt Park
Courtesy of Lesley Smith    
Thousands of visitors attend Greenville Day, held at Vanderbilt Town Park, each September.

GREENVILLE — The town park at the center of Greenville has seen countless baseball games played on its grounds, kids growing up at its playground, festivals and so much more over the years.

Vanderbilt Town Park Sign
George V. Vanderbilt Town Park in Greenville marked its 30th anniversary in 2022.

It’s difficult to believe Vanderbilt Park, which has become such a cornerstone of the community, is only 30 years old.

But that’s how long the park has been in existence, and it’s thanks to a cadre of volunteers who worked to make it happen three decades ago. Vanderbilt Park celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2022.

Before the park was created, the land on Route 32 was owned by a private landowner who initially wanted to sell it for around $370,000, Brian Mulligan, vice president of Community Partners of Greenville, said at a presentation about the history of the park in May 2022.

Negotiations began and the property owner, who lived in Washington D.C. at the time, agreed to reduce the price by about $100,000 if the park would be named after her father.

Her father was George V. Vanderbilt.

And that is how Greenville got its town park.

The final price of the property was around $240,000, Mulligan told the group.

But once the land was purchased, there was plenty of work to be done to transform it into a community park — and that cost money.

The Greenville Citizens Park Committee was created to fundraise and spearhead the project. The group went about getting 501c3 status, which denotes organizations that are tax exempt and not-for-profit, and then began fundraising and applying for grants.

After a great deal of paperwork, fundraising and elbow grease, the organization raised enough money to make the park a reality. The land deal was finalized and work on the park began. Members of the Greenville Citizens Park Committee recall seeing volunteers sitting atop construction vehicles, preparing the land for future amenities including a soccer field, baseball field and parking lot.

When construction bids came in too high, volunteers stepped up to take on the job — with volunteers ranging from a local civil engineer who lent his expertise, to high school students picking up rocks on the open field.

Hundreds of people from the community got involved, Mulligan said.

The work that was done to create Vanderbilt Park also led to the creation of Community Partners of Greenville, a not-for-profit organization dedicating to protecting the community’s resources — such as Prevost Hall, which the group is renovating — and hosting cultural events.

Vanderbilt Park is now a 156-acre park at the center of the town with several sports fields, a playground, two barns where cultural and other events are held, picnic tables and a 2.4-mile loop trail where residents and their furry canine friends stroll.

Playground at Vanderbilt Park
The playground at Vanderbilt Town Park has seen generations of children play and grow up.

And the park is still seeing upgrades and improvements. In 2020, the town and Community Partners oversaw significant improvements to the park’s trail system, funded in part by a $10,000 grant from Iroquois Gas Transmission System, and completed with the help of the town’s maintenance and highway departments.

The trail improvements included the grading of shaded trails, which were also mulched with wood chips, and the parking area for the trail was expanded near the soccer fields, according to a statement from Community Partners in 2020.

Over the years, in addition to hosting athletics events, the park and its associated barns have played host to various events such as Greenville Day, fireworks displays, chili contests and even  political caucuses.

Fireworks Display in Vanderbilt Park
Courtesty of Lesley Smith
Visitors enjoy a fireworks show at Vanderbilt Town Park.

Today, 30 years later, it’s hard to imagine Greenville without George V. Vanderbilt Town Park.

NYVT Media
Author: NYVT Media

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