Current & Ongoing Projects
Oldest Trees Campaign
The Conservancy is working with City Forester Tom Pfeiffer to identify the park’s most venerable inhabitants, its ancient trees, with the goal to provide needed funds for preventative care and maintenance that will help keep our landmark trees healthy for as long as possible.
The Conservancy is working with the City on repairs and improvements to the area surrounding the King Fountain, with a special emphasis on upgrading lighting with historically appropriate light fixtures will be installed to better illuminate the area.
With support from a grant from the Lowenstein Family Foundation, the Conservancy is helping the City establish a skateboard park near Washington Park’s south-west corner. Construction of the skateboard park began in 2017, re-purposing four deteriorated tennis courts that have been unused for many years. The Conservancy has acted as a partner with the City and the skateboarding community throughout the project, and we hope that the new Washington Park Skate Park (the first designated skate boarding area in the city) will entice skateboards away from more fragile parts of the park.
Together with Park Playhouse and the Albany Police Athletic League (which presents the annual Capital Holiday Lights in the Park), the Conservancy is identifying needed improvements and upgrades to the Lake House and its immediate surroundings that will benefit park users, provide additional amenities, and encourage greater year-round use of the facility. Long-term, these efforts will make the area better suited to theatrical events, while protecting the building’s stunning architectural character. WPC’s 2006 Lake House Reuse Study will serve as a basis for ongoing discussion.
Meadow & Playground
WPC is working with the City of Albany on a plan to improve the playground and move it to its original location, allowing for the restoration of the Meadow, an original park feature lost over the years, and for a play area where children can be more easily monitored. As part of this project we are exploring the re-creation of the original rustic shelter.
Based in part on the Conservancy’s 1989 Historic Landscape Report, the Sesquicentennial Plan for Washington Park will address current project needs as well as maintenance goals. We hope to create a concise and accessible document that will help the Conservancy and the City work collaboratively to prioritize improvements and get the Park ready for its 150th anniversary in 2021.
Since 2012 the Conservancy has completed projects including:
- Twelve new markers highlighting the history and uses of various sections, elements and now-missing structures in the Park
- A new fence at the east end of the Lake; a two-year restoration of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument
- Restoration of the bridge over Washington Park Bridge
- Treatment of 28 ash trees in the Park against the ravages of the Emerald Ash borer, an invasive beetle originally from Asia which first appeared in Albany in 2014
The purposes of the Washington Park Conservancy as outlined in its Bylaws (updated January 2015) include the following:
- To preserve and enhance city-owned Washington Park in Albany, N.Y.;
- To plan for the popular and safe use of the Park;
- To improve the patron experience in the Park;
- To encourage understanding of the roles history and ecological balance play in the well-being of the Park, its neighborhoods and the City of Albany;
- To foster recognition of the Park as an example of Olmstedian landscape design;
- To preserve, restore or recreate historic structures and plantings in the Park;
- To produce and disseminate… brochures, booklets, maps and related informational and promotional material;
- To initiate or assist in the development of projects, plans, research and other activities for the betterment of the Park in cooperation with public agencies, civic and community organizations and other appropriate entities;
- To conduct public and organizational events in the Park or elsewhere for the purpose of raising operating funds, promoting the mission of the Conservancy, and fostering community goodwill.