Bringing the river to a river town
By KAREN MACBRIDE
CALLICOON — In the beginning,
Callicoon, or Callicoon Depot as it was called, was
a small group of buildings clustered around the railroad
track. The track is still there, zippering down the
center of town, giving this small hamlet the feel
of an old-time western town. The several-times-daily
freight train still rolls through, recalling the excitement
of those bygone days when the railroad was the future.
It’s a wonderful feeling to step out of the
Callicoon Theater after a late movie and be confronted
by a roaring freight engine, less than a stone’s
throw away, and be swept into the past as the countless
cars clatter by.
These days, the focus is changing.
Although the architecture on both sides of Main Street
stares fixedly at the tracks, a shift has occurred.
The Callicoon Creek and the Delaware River, the natural
beauties that flow by this town much more steadily
than the trains, are being accessed and developed
for use by the community and visitors alike.
photos by Karen Macbride
Click for full images
Callicoon Creek Park is located behind
Main Street in Callicoon. It features
benches along the Callicoon Creek,
pole dedicated to victims of September
11, the Sullivan County Farmer’s
Market ((06)Contributed photo by Christina
Maloney) on Sundays and perenial
gardens. A painted river walk leads
visitors through the gateway.
is the second year that volunteers have
worked on the park as part of the Town
of Delaware’s participation in the
Sullivan Renaissance beautification initiative.
plans include the construction of a performance
space and concerts along the river.
The Callicoon Creek Park (CPP), now
in its second year, is located behind Main Street
and right on the riverbank. It is rapidly evolving
into a lively center for community activities. This
evolution has been a community effort, with many local
groups and organizations as well as dozens of individuals
donating their time, energy and expertise to create
a beautiful public gathering area. The town is completely
behind this effort and has helped in many ways. “I
fully support it; they are doing a wonderful job,”
said William Moran, Supervisor of the Town of Delaware.
“It’s been amazing how people have
come forward and have become a part of the project
and now feel a connection and ownership of the park,”
said Ginny Boyle, one of the original movers and shakers.
“The big reward is seeing the park being used.”
The CCP has hosted a variety of events
to date, including a Flag Dedication and Ceremony
to the Victims of 9/11, the Veteran’s Memorial
Dedication and the farmer’s market, which sets
up every Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The upcoming
Sloan Wainwright concert on August 17 will highlight
a new dimension, music and performance. The funds
garnered from this concert, and other sources, will
help toward the goal of a permanent performance pavilion.
Michael Chojnicki, who has been involved
in the project from the onset, said, “My vision
of the park is to bring the river into a river town.
By bringing the town focus to the river, lower Main
Street can open up and develop, right now there is
only the back of the stores. This is really the next
frontier for expanding Main Street, since geographically
upper Main Street is locked in.”
With solid community support and a
possible grant from The Sullivan Renaissance Program
(winners of the grant will be announced August 25),
the CCP supporters will surely realize more of their
dreams. “Another dream of the committee is to
build a footbridge across the Callicoon Creek connecting
the new CCP and the Delaware Youth Center grounds,”
Chojnicki said. “This connection will make it
safer for the kids to freely access both spaces without
having to use the street.”
For now, the park is a relaxing haven.
“In this time, places to go and commune
with each other and nature are important places,”
Boyle said. “This is something that we are losing
from our culture. We need to bring back our connection
with each other and with the community.”
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