The Story Behind Binghamton’s “Secret” Little Park
A park in Binghamton that's "hidden in plain sight" seems to be known to only a few people.
Union Park is located near the top of Mount Prospect just southeast of the city-owned Ely Park Golf Course.
There are no signs to call attention to the park that occupies a small patch of land at Ridge Road and Conti Court, which borders the town of Dickinson.
People in the neighborhood who spoke with WNBF News said they enjoy the tranquil park. Most said they didn't know it had a name and had knew nothing about its history.
A man who now lives in Vestal recalled working on the park project during the summer of 1968 as part of a parks department program. He said he and other Binghamton high school students "built that park," working to clear the land. He said bulldozers then were brought in to finish preparations to the site.
According to a short account in the Binghamton Evening Press in September 1969, members of Laborers Union Local 7 put "the finishing touches on the handball-basketball-tennis court area."
Mayor Jared Kraham and the current parks department staff were unfamiliar with the small park's history. In an email, the mayor noted Local 7 members helped with some renovations at the site, resulting in the name "Union Park."
Kraham said people who live in the neighborhood had mentioned their use of the park and nearby trails during a public meeting that was held regarding a new antenna that was to be installed at the golf course.
The mayor noted residents of the city and of the town of Dickinson make use of the park. He described it as "a hidden gem."
A woman who lives near Union Park calls it "the best kept secret in Binghamton."
VIDEO: An afternoon visit to Mount Prospect...
Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: firstname.lastname@example.org or (607) 545-2250. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.