Lakeside Park to Get a Masterful Makeover

by Marlea Willis

If you have taken a stroll through Lakeside Park or driven past it recently, you may have noticed a tall mound of soil on the Great Lawn. The great pile of topsoil is the first phase of a major parks renovation plan commissioned by the Pawling Community Foundation (PCF).

In 2016, the PCF hosted Town Hall meetings and surveyed members of the Pawling community regarding what they wanted from Lakeside and Edward R. Murrow Memorial Parks. Based on that feedback, the PCF, with the support of the Pawling Town Board, authorized nationally known landscape architectural firm LandDesign, Inc., to create “One Community One Park,” a redevelopment plan incorporating concepts Pawling residents deemed most important. Former PCF board member Ed Hauser was retained to serve as project manager. The PCF’s goal is to execute the plan by raising private donations the same way the PCF funded the recently completed Pawling Village Green project.

“The Pawling Community Foundation is always looking for new projects that will enhance the vitality of Pawling,” said Michael Cerny, Chair of the Pawling Community Foundation. “The completion of the Village Green was a tremendous achievement for Pawling and the PCF. The success of that initiative roused the interest of the foundation to look for other outdoor space projects that would showcase the natural beauty of our town. We are confident that ‘One Community One Park’ will ensure that Pawling will have active and beautiful parks for years

to come and serve as a legacy for future residents.”

The first phase of “One Community One Park” is the revitalization of the Great Lawn at Lakeside Park. The new design will incorporate two full athletic fields as well as a larger open space for community events and recreation programs. All the fill required for the redevelopment is onsite and was donated and delivered as a community service by Trinity Pawling School, currently engaged in a major building project. The next step is to raise funds to hire contractors to complete the makeover.

Future plans in keeping with suggestions from community members consist of a Murrow Park Development featuring an offleash dog park, community gardens, rehabilitation of the natural amphitheater and band shell, and potential partnerships with other organizations for a nature center. Lakeside Park further development includes improved nature trails, featuring paths linking Murrow and Lakeside parks; demolition of the Donaldson Building; creation of a bonfire point at the lake, and repurposing the site of the Old Inn.

“One Community One Park” is a four-year initiative. The cost of the first phase is estimated to be between $400,000 and $500,000, with the budget for all improvements totaling a little more than $2 million.

To achieve the full potential of “One Community One Park,” the PCF will begin canvassing for donations June 1, 2017. In addition to grants and corporate sponsorships, the PCF is asking each Pawling household consider contributing between $10.00 - $21.00 a month over the next two years to support the parks project. More information about the PCF is available at

The Pawling Community Foundation (PCF), a 501 (c) (3) organization, is committed to improving the quality of life for all Pawling residents by developing community resources and public spaces, by furthering the community's economic vitality, and by supporting the arts, cultural activities, tourism and recreation.