UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Eyewitness News has been following the restoration progress at F.T. Proctor park, and today, I took a tour with Olmsted City chair, Phil Bean, to learn about the progress on the peace garden, and the lily pond fundraising initiative.

“So, this is like a little pocket park in the middle of the lower level of F.T. Proctor Park,” said Phil Bean, describing the Peace Garden area.

Phil first showed me the progress on the peace garden which involves the restoration of a piece of stonework from 1913.

“The area gets a lot of traffic and eventually we’ll also plant five trees around here – we’ve put in this bed of native plants and wildflowers,” said Bean, “It’ll take one or two years before it grows in appropriately, but it’s making good progress we’re really excited.”

The Olmsted City group will be officially dedicating the peace garden on Saturday, September 10th which is Proctor Olmsted Day – but that’s not the only project Olmsted city is currently working on – they’re also working on the lily pond, which is over a century old.

“And it’s served well,” said Bean, “But it’s showing its age, and some of the condition issues – if you notice here, there seem to be two walls, and that’s because there are two walls. Because this wall, you’ll see cracking with collapsing, and they had to put that in there to support that wall which also narrowed the size of the pond.”

He continued, “We are proposing to restore this, a full restoration – and we also proposed to create a winding pathway which will start at those bathhouses those little hobbit huts over there and come together and wind around and connect all this together as well as several trails that come here and the road that’s behind us.”

Phil also explained to me that Olmsted City is running a matched donation challenge to raise money specifically for the lily ponds restoration, and thanks to an anonymous philanthropist from New York City, every dollar that is collected during this challenge will be matched, up to $50,000.

“And if this challenge works well, we’ll have collected two-thirds of the money we need to do this project,” said Bean.

“This is definitely doable, they’ve done much more expensive things in this town, and we just need folks to contribute to it and help make this a reality in time for next year’s centennial of the donation of this park to the people of Utica by Mariah Proctor.”

To donate, please visit olmstedcity.org to learn more or click here for GoFundMe.