The Forest Home Park

The Forest Home Park, May 2013

The strip of land above the downstream bridge on the north side of Fall Creek belongs to Cornell.  For many years it was a rough meadow and the bank of the creek was badly overgrown.  The idea of creating a park was tossed about between Cornell and FHIA for at least a decade, with little progress until 2012 when the Town of Ithaca offered to maintain the site if FHIA would make a commitment to the the Town’s adopt-a-park program

Today, the Forest Home Park is one of many parks and trails maintained by the Town of Ithaca. It owes its existence to a collaboration between an FHIA committee led by Montana Petersen, the enthusiasm of Rich Schoch, the town’s Parks Maintenance Manager, and the advocacy of Herb Engman, the town supervisor at the time and a Forest Home resident.

Here are some of the contributors:

  • The strip of land along Fall Creek is owned by Cornell, but leased to the town at $1 per year. Cornell continues to maintain the bank of Fall Creek.
  • The parks department did the heavy work of clearing the land and provide the tables and the sign.
  • The parks department and Forest Home neighbors pulled invasive plants and shrubs from the creek side and laid mulch to combat their spread.
  • Members of the Plantations (now known as the Cornell Botanic Gardens) designed the layout of the shrubs.
  • The shrubs were planted by an FHIA working group and paid for by a grant from Tompkins County.
  • The stone bench with the Hasbrouck plaque was a gift from Cornell.

Most of this work was done in 2013.  The following year, the Town of Ithaca gave Montana Petersen an award for her efforts. FHIA received the first place award in Sustainable Tompkins’ 2015 People’s Choice ‘Signs of Sustainability’.

On September 19, 2015, there was a dedication ceremony in the park, which incorporated a rededication of the Hasbrouck plaque, which had been rescued from a bench installed in 1932 by Cornell on the creek side of Pleasant Grove Road and attached to a new bench in the park. The plaque reads,”In memory of CHARLES A. HASBROUCK of the Class of 1884. A Forest Home boy who gave Cornell University his home and seventy acres including this ground to be put to such use as would best subserve the welfare of the women students.” Bruce Brittain presented a Timeline for Forest Home Park and Hasbrouck Bench, a chronology for the Hasbrouck family in Forest Home, the donation of land and house (200 Forest Home Drive) to Cornell in 1910, Cornell’s disposition of some of the property in the 1940s, up to the establishment of the new park.

Continuing our commitment to the adopt-a-park program, every year FHIA volunteers help with the plants in the park.  The Town does the rest of the maintenance.