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Town of Highlands American Patriot Garden (Highlands)
Type of Memorial: Park
Address: 976 Route 9W
State: New York
Country: United States
Open to Public: Yes
Highlands is the home of West Point, near Fort Montgomery, in Orange County about 50 miles from New York City. It is a very historic, natural area along the Hudson River near Bear Mountain. The beautification committee of the citizen's group Vision 2002 see this project as an opportunity to connect West Point and the town more, and to foster patriotism and cooperation. They want to go beyond just remembrance of 9-11, and to extend that to the veterans and West Point, emphasizing community participation and patriotism throughout history. They hope to make the unique historical connection between modern volunteerism like Vision and historical volunteerism in the armed forces, since America did not use professional soldiers. Vision views their sort of community involvement as intrinsic to their town because of its isolation and small size. One has to drive 20 minutes in order to get to a mall, for example, so neighborliness and volunteerism is fostered such that residents “feel fulfilled rather than going shopping.”
Reason site was selected:
Vision became involved with this project when they discovered that the location of the “temporary” police trailer was on a lot off 9W zoned for parkland that is directly on a pond. It is a long-term plan that should take years to complete. Nonetheless, when finished it should serve as a passive park that is a "truly beautiful" stop-off point on the greenway trail—further linking the town to this hiking conduit. It is about an acre of land that the beautification committee will plant, and the highway department will maintain, water, and mow.
Events planned for site:
The park will be created to serve the immediate area (with 100 units of housing across the street), the community and the extended region, including the hikers on the greenway, and the 3 million visitors per year to Bear Mountain and West Point. It is not, however, to be an event location; they intend it to be more of a beautiful passive park spot. They anticipate a dedication September 11, 2003, but this will all depend on how fast they can move on various components of the project.
Do you believe your memorial is a sacred place?:
Doris Lent of Vision 2002 hopes that the site will become sacred, because of all the reasons discussed before about community involvement and participation. In the past there were two sites on the pond that experienced some vandalism by teens, but once the gardeners’ presence was made known, there has been no other problem.