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November 17, 2010 Government and Politics

Mayor Ryan, Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, Cliff Frazier and Community Partners to dedicate MLK Statue and Peacemakers Stage

From: City Of Binghamton
“Peacemaker’s Trail” built in conjunction with grant-funded improvements to City River Trail.

---Mayor Matt Ryan November 17, 2010 joined the Broome County Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, fellow public officials and community members to dedicate the new MLK statue and Peacemaker’s Stage, which is located on the River Trail, just north of the Court Street Bridge. Also participating in the dedication was Cliff Frazier, Executive Director of the New York Metropolitan Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolence.

“The Peacemaker’s Trail seeks to educate, inspire and unite,” said Mayor Ryan. “Peacemakers have a played a fundamental role in promoting social justice in our country and around the world, and they continue to do so today. Dr. King’s example is second to none, and we’re proud to honor him with a statue at the center of this trail, which also highlights the work of other peacemakers. We hope the Peacemaker’s Trail makes Binghamton a beacon for peace and understanding, attracting citizens from across the Southern Tier and beyond.” 

Building a “Peacemaker’s Trail”

The Commission raised more than $30,000 for the seven-foot tall, bronze statue, which the City installed in conjunction with the Peacemaker’s Stage and other improvements to the River Trail from behind the University Downtown Center to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Promenade on Henry Street. The Stage includes plaques with information on and quotations by 20 other prominent peacemakers, including Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, Mohandas Ghandi and Nelson Mandela.  Click here for a full rundown of what the plaques will feature.

“The way in which leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. worked to make our society more just and fair must never be forgotten,” said Congressman Maurice Hinchey. “I applaud the community leaders who drove this effort forward.”

Major donations for the statue came from Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Tom Libous.

“This statue is a tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, as well as the diversity of our community,” said Assemblywoman Lupardo. “It also complements the City’s River Trail. I commend Mayor Ryan, the MLK Commission and all those who helped make this possible.”

Recent Improvements to River Trail

Mayor Ryan November 17, 2010 also applauded the completion of the River Trail’s other recent improvements, which include new landscaping, tree plantings, railings, bollards, benches and a revamped patio next to the Peacemaker’s Stage. The City undertook this work with a $250,000 NYS Department of State (NYSDOS) grant. In keeping with the grant’s requirements, the City matched that amount in a combination of funds and in-kind services.

“We’re very pleased to upgrade this important downtown amenity,” said Mayor Ryan. “And just like with our other projects we succeeded in winning a grant that allowed us to limit the cost to the local taxpayer. I applaud City Planning, Engineering and Economic Development for submitting the grant application, and I thank our state leaders for continuing to direct important resources to our community.”

River Trail Projects

The City last year landed additional state grants to extend the City River Trail at either end:

- Cheri Lindsey Park to Otsiningo Park: The City is paying for this $900,000 project with a $718,000 NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) grant, a $147,000 NYSDOS grant and $147,000 through bonding.

- Confluence Park to the Exchange Street Bridge: A NYSDOT grant is paying for $667,000, while the City is paying $200,000 through bonding.

Once these projects are complete, the City River Trails will be nearly three miles in all. The City expects both projects to go to bid next spring.

“Dr. King stood up for equality, opportunity and a better life for our children and grandchildren,” said Senator Libous. “This statue will remind future generations in our community of these American values and rights that we have the privilege of enjoying today.”

For more on the City River Trails, please visit the River Trails Commission dedicated page on the City website.

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