UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – In preparation for the upcoming Boilermaker Walk and Run, the Olmsted City of Greater Utica group began sprucing up the front gate at F.T. Proctor Park this morning, and the group is always looking for additional help.

“We schedule two days a month to come out and do routine maintenance on the various projects we have going on throughout the park,” said Amy Funkhouser, volunteer, and Vice-Chair of the Olmsted City of Greater Utica. “So we’re always looking for volunteers to come and help us out.”

You may remember this park from another story I covered on the restoration project earlier this year, and in just three short months, the Olmsted City of Greater Utica and its volunteers have made significant progress in several areas of the park.

Today’s focus? The main gate is at the corner of Culver Ave. and Rutger Street.

“It’s been an extremely busy spring, early summer, for us,” said Phil Bean, Chair of the Olmsted City of Greater Utica. “We’ve had about five separate major projects, and now we’re just doing upkeep maintenance on the gate.

He continued, “This is the gate that has been here since like 1913, and so right now this is just upkeep – putting down mulch so that the weeds stay under control, and so it looks a little bit more presentable when people come to see the park.”

This area in particular will also be a pleasant sight for participants of the four-mile Boilermaker Walk coming up on July 9th.

“Participants in that longer version of the walk will walk right past this gate,” said Bean, “They’ll also go into the lower level, and they’ll see what we’re doing in the area of the lily pond, the peace garden, [etc.].”

And while these volunteer efforts help the park look presentable on the outside, it also gives a feeling of ownership, on the inside.

“The volunteers get a sense of ownership out of helping and maintaining the park, and I think it’s really important for a community to feel empowered to go out and be agents of change, and to make their community better,” said Bean.

And if you’re interested in learning more about the history of the Olmsted family and their work, you can stop by the Oneida County History Center this evening, June 22nd at 7 pm, to witness the world premiere of the short video series: “Utica: An Olmsted City.”

To learn more about how you can get involved in volunteering, please visit the Olmsted City of Greater Utica Facebook page or email olmstedcity@gmail.com.