The Town of Newburgh is applying to the Kaplan Foundation for a grant to purchase the Desmond Estate. Accompanying this funding request is the following Vision Statement:
The Town of Newburgh envisions making the Desmond Campus the focal point of the Town by making it a municipal park and a center devoted to adult education, arts, creativity, physical activities, social engagement and healthy lifestyles as well as public open space in which conservation and educational enrichment is provided to all residents. When it becomes a park, the property will be subject to New York’s Public Trust Doctrine, which restricts alienation and discontinuance of parkland.
The Lifetime Enrichment Center will primarily serve adults, which is consistent with the wishes of Alice C. Desmond who bequeathed the property to Mount St. Mary College. The Center will provide a wide array of courses ranging from academic classes to exercise classes, health and wellness programs, and many other activities. Classes will be taught by qualified instructors and professionals from the art, business, and academic world. Programs will be designed to help participants remain active, informed, and creative while pursuing life-long interests. The programs will serve adults of all abilities - those who are physically active, those who are just becoming active, and those who have age-related limitations. By hosting these programs, our Town will foster a stronger and healthier community for everyone.
The park’s open space will be improved by a trail system which will include signage and kiosks with educational content regarding the ecology of the park and its environs. We will also provide strong, open air educational programs that will encourage both adults and children to accept responsibilities for conserving our natural resources for generations to come and instill the values of a healthy environment, sustainable economy, and viable communities. Environmental and conservation educational programs will include classes on tree identification, tree planting, horticulture and plant selection, environmental stewardship, birding, and similar topics. Other programming may include curated outdoor exhibits and community service projects and events. The Town will pursue cooperative arrangements with conservation and environmental education organizations to provide these programs. Examples of these organizations are Black Rock Forest Consortium, Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, and the Orange County Audubon Society.
The center and park will assist in creating a vibrant and satisfying living environment and attract both individuals and businesses; thus, improving our local economy. As these will be public facilities, all residents regardless of their background will be provided with an equal opportunity to be exposed to new experiences and to enhance their lives. As a community enriched by the opportunities provided by these facilities, we will create an even greater sense of pride for those who call the Town of Newburgh home.