SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Schenectady Foundation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday to unveil updates to a Vale neighborhood park. Located off Eastern Avenue at the corner of Windsor and Landon Terraces, the once-rundown city park has transformed into the vibrant and welcoming Jaylen’s Park.
Revitalizing Jaylen’s Park was the brainchild of Tyrell Outlaw, a Schenectady father who lives nearby. The park now shares its name with Outlaw’s 8-year-old son, Jaylen.
There’s a colorful new entryway, new steps, new fencing, and five new shade trees from local nonprofit ReTree Schenectady. Crews cleared out overgrown weeds and an old fence to open up the park. “It’s beautiful,” Outlaw said. “It looks a lot more welcoming. Families from the neighborhood have been coming here to help.”
The effort to give neighborhood kids a safer place to play included a $62,000 grant from the Schenectady Foundation’s Thriving Neighborhoods Challenge program and months of hard work from volunteers, residents, and local artists. The program funds collaborative, grassroots projects like Jaylen’s Park, which features an inspiring and unique mural painted on the newly resurfaced basketball court. The foundation says it’s the first basketball court mural in the Capital Region.
Designed by Schenectady native Kymberli Galliard, a high school classmate of Outlaw, it features silhouettes of kids with sunlight bursting from their hearts. “This is a park not a lot of people know about,” Galliard said. “This mural will bring more attention to this park.”
Outlaw got help carrying out his vision from Mary Moore Walllinger, a local landscape architect and owner of LAndArt Studio. And supervising the mural painting was local artist Rae’ Frasier. “Art is a catalyst for bringing people together,” Frasier said. “With a beautiful mural on the basketball court, this park is undoubtedly going to attract more visitors. It will get more people outside talking to each other.”
Many of the new park components were installed by the YouthBuild Program at the SEAT Center, which also managed the project’s budget. The SEAT Center’s mission is to “provide transformative educational and workforce experiences that create a sense of purpose and hope in our communities.”
“Tyrell is a graduate of the SEAT Center and we are so proud of his ongoing commitment to serving his community,” said Jennifer Lawrence, the executive director of the SEAT Center.
The city plans to support the project by installing new playground mulch and sidewalks on Windsor Terrace this fall or next spring. “This years-long collaborative effort has instilled a renewed sense of pride to the neighborhood and we’re excited to see the finished product,” said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy.