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Transformation Trails __ Masterplan 2023 __ by AGRISCULPTURE.jpg

Exciting New Chapter for a Great Warwick Story

by Geoff Howard

April 28, 2023

One of the true success stories for Warwick in this century is what happened — and is still happening — to the

Mid-Orange Correctional Facility. Closed in 2011, the 750-acre MOCF, which looked and felt more like the campus of a private school than a prison, was transferred, after three long years of negotiations, from New York State to Warwick. The site was divided into 2 areas — roughly 150 acres for eventual commercial development, priced at $3.7 million, and 600 acres with a large lake and some of the most beautiful land in Orange County, at a cost of $1! Now, 12 years on, the fruits of that acquisition are evident: multiple tax-paying businesses offering hundreds of good jobs, and the lovely Wickham Woodlands Park. The latest addition to the Park area has just been announced: an irregularly shaped, unused and overgrown strip of land of about 10 acres, will be opened up to make room for Transformation Trails : from Prison to Park an arboretum with hundreds of trees; planted meadows that will attract birds and pollinators; a sculpture garden; trails that wind through the area, some incorporating exercise stations and a possible small amphitheater for outdoor concerts and events.

Transformation Trails __ Rendering Aerial Southeast __ by AGRISCULPTURE __.jpg

This rendering by AGRISCULPTURE provides some sense of where this new area is situated and how the various components will fit together. The dark area are the fields and buildings of the Hudson Sports Complex, the green areas will be the arboretum, planted with hundreds of carefully selected trees. The yellow areas will be the pollinator meadows flanking the amphitheater and sculpture gardens, which have breathtaking views of both Wickham Lake and Sugarloaf Mountain. The transformation of this project from a vague idea on paper to something real that is coming to fruition is the result of a productive collaboration between Town officials, Warwick Community groups, and local business owners. Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, Warwick DPW, The Shade Tree Commission,  Sustainable Warwick, AGRISCULPTURE and the Hudson Sports Complex were all involved.  To kick off this exciting addition to the Park, an Opening Celebration will be held on Arbor Day - Saturday April 29, 2023 - at the site and will feature a ceremonial planting of the first 5 trees and a full description of how the area will evolve that will tell the story of how things will look in 10, 20, and 50 years — the future of this great Warwick story.  In addition, an exciting opportunity for Warwick residents or businesses to sponsor future trees will be announced, a program that is already attracting people who want to see their family or business name displayed on a tree that will be seen for many decades to come.

 

Transformation Trails __ Rendering of Gate 1 and Exercise Stations __ by AGRISCULPTURE __.

The Opening Celebration for Transformation Trails : from Prison to Park was held on Arbor Day -

Saturday, April 29, 2023 at 10am.  Thank you to all the intrepid folks who came out to make the Opening Celebration a huge success!  Stay tuned for more updates and news on the Park's official opening to the public...

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