NEWBURGH – The Cultural Landscape Foundation has issued a report looking at “threatened and at-risk landscapes” across the country and Newburgh’s Andrew Jackson Downing Park is among them.
The 35-acre park, which opened on July 4, 1897, faces “chronic underfunding resulting in long-lasting deterioration,” the Washington, DC-based organization said.
It also pointed to plans “to insert a new memorial, which needs to be sensitively addressed, featuring the re-interment of remains of more than 100 African Americans from the 19th century ‘Colored Burial Ground’.”
Mayor Torrance Harvey has his own theory as to why Downing Park is on that list of at-risk landscapes.
“It sounds like somebody reached out to this organization from within our community because they don’t want the remains of African former slaves to be reinterred in that park,” he told Mid-Hudson News. “There were a number of people involved in the decision-making with a special committee.”
The foundation cited “accrued neglect” leading to the deterioration of park structures and infrastructure including broken light fixtures, paths cracked and heaved from tree roots, and the pavilion that is crumbling and riddled with graffiti.