P-CAN finds name for village pocket park

PHILMONT–The pocket park across from the Philmont village office on Main Street has just received an official name. An organization created last Fall, Philmont Community Action Neighbors (P-CAN), revealed at the Community Day fireworks showcase that it would be named in memory of Nancy J. Brousseau.

This came after a month of nominations submitted to P-CAN or the village office with the final voting taking place on the village green last Saturday. Other options besides Ms. Brousseau included Marilyn Tipple, Timothy Smith, Matthew Harris and Philmont Community Volunteer Park.

“We had a lot of enthusiasm for the voting. It was a tight race. We had wonderful nominations, they were all worthy of being honored,” said Carolyn Stern, one of the members of P-CAN who tabulated the votes.

Philmont’s pocket park on Main Street has now officially been named in memory of Nancy J. Brousseau. Photo by Aaron Krein

The late Ms. Brousseau served the community on various fronts, including the Philmont Zoning Board of Appeals and the Philmont Fire Company’s Ladies’ Auxiliary. She also worked on the Comprehensive Plan Board and helped Philmont Beautification Inc. secure funding to renovate the park back in 2010. This happened with funding to PB Inc. for a “streetscape project” through the Main Street Program of the state Homes and Community Renewal agency. The village owns the pocket park but PB Inc. has a lease on it as long as it’s maintained.

The idea for giving the pocket park a name came to P-CAN after holding a volunteer “spruce up” at the park last fall. “Through the experience of working in the space and talking to people about it, we realized that many people didn’t even know that it was a public park, and even those that did know about it, didn’t know what to call it,” said Julia Sedlock, co-chairman of P-CAN.

Sally Baker of PB Inc. said that her organization provided the new gravel for the park and over 400 daffodils were planted.

“There were two weekends with over 20 volunteers, organized by P-CAN, and they removed the permeable paving and relined it with landscape fabric and spread the new gravel,” said Ms. Baker.

She says her organization, which was started about 17 years ago, will be working as partners with P-CAN and supporting some of its projects.

Ms. Sedlock said the naming of the park was also a way to get the community active in participating and introducing P-CAN to the public. P-CAN describes its mission as improving “the quality of life and bringing together residents in Philmont, NY, through community organizing, empowerment, civic engagement, and advocacy.”

In terms of future plans with the space, Ms. Stern said the organization is looking into offering games for children like a hopscotch board and a “climbing structure.” But Ms. Sedlock said that nothing has been finalized other than a sign with the park’s new name and some “minor” rearrangements.

“We haven’t yet had a meeting to make a final decision about next steps, but I imagine that we will form a committee to organize the process of deciding on any additional changes that will be made to the park, and that we will continue to check in with the community at large about what they would like to see there,” sh said.

P-CAN also organized a conference on opioid addiction last month with the help of the Village of Philmont, the Village of Claverack, the Philmont Rotary Club and the Philmont Public Library. Ms. Stern said the organization is trying to empower other people in the community to come forward with project ideas.

“More than anything, we hope to cultivate enthusiasm for working in our village to make it the best possible version of itself. It’s already a great place to live and we want everyone to feel that way,” said Ms. Sedlock.

Anyone interested in joining P-CAN may attend meetings the fourth Monday of each month at Purpose Coworking or sign up by emailing .

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