Did You Know There Are 100 Cherry Blossom Trees at the Peekskill Riverfront?
Every Spring, the Peekskill Riverfront blossoms in color thanks to the gift of 100 Cherry Trees planted at the Riverfront in honor of the Club’s 100th Anniversary. There are pink, white, weeping, double blossom varieties showing their colors over the mid-April to early May timeframe for all to see. Planted so as not to block the views of the river, and for train commuters to see, you can find them starting behind the Lincoln Depot, along the train line, on the trail toward China Pier where the last of the 100 can be seen.
The 4th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival and Plant Sale will be held on Saturday, May 1st this year, the first date available for an outdoor event at the Peekskill Riverfront since the pandemic began. While many of the Cherry Trees may have bloomed by then, the Festival will offer a Plant Sale, Food Trucks, Craft Vendors, Raffles, Children’s Activities such as Flower Pot Painting, Seed Planting, Face Painting, and more. Held from 10 am – 5 pm, rain or shine, the event is free. Sponsored by the Peekskill Rotary, all proceeds go back to the local community and to international projects through Rotary International.
More Gifts of Nature from the Rotary Club of Peekskill Can Be Seen All Over
“Rotary Knolls” in Depew Park in Peekskill – Built in 1945 by the Club, it still stands today as a beautiful picnic area open to all. Consisting of a covered shelter, picnic tables, paved walkway, and other facilities on a picturesque knoll, it has been restored over the years by the Club
9/11 Memorial at the Peekskill Riverfront – On July 4, 2002, the Peekskill Rotary dedicated a monument in memory of the four area residents who perished in the 9/11 attacks, planting a tree and small garden at the Riverfront. Every year, the Club holds a 9/11 Memorial service at the tree and monument ensuring the day in not forgotten.
“Rotary Walk” at the Hudson Valley Hospital Center – In 2008, Rotarians envisioned this nature trail as a place of solace for those visiting a loved one at the hospital, as well as for those working at the hospital who could use a stress releasing stroll or simply just exercise. The donation allowed for the 4-year project restoration of McGregory Brook, cleanup of the wetlands, a 550’ boardwalk, wood chip trail, benches and native plantings. Visitors are welcome to walk there today.
“Healing Garden” at the Montrose Campus of the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System – This gift was completed in 2011, to thank the Veterans for their service, and to allow them to enjoy nature’s beauty. The outdoor stone walking paths and sitting areas, as well as views from inside the building were funded, designed, and constructed by the Peekskill and Cortlandt Manor Rotary Clubs.
Peekskill Schools – Recent gifts of a greenhouse to Woodside Elementary and cherry trees to Peekskill High School continue the “gift of nature” theme.
What Else Does Peekskill Rotary Grant?
Since the Club’s founding in 1919, raising funds to grant worthy causes has been job one. Over 70 grants were given this past year alone. This is a partial list of causes.
- Scholarships and Grants – Peekskill Rotary grants over 12 Scholarships/year to college, camps, and leadership programs, ranging from academic to music to vocational education to first generation American success stories, and more.
- Local library projects and museums are supported annually.
- The “Literacy Lovers” program has given out over 35,000 books to Peekskill children – toddler to grade 8 – in recent years.
- Caring for the Homeless of Peekskill (CHOP) has received weekly meals prepared and served by Rotarians for many years.
- This past year, local restaurants kept their doors open with grants to provide food to first responders and to Peekskill residents. Over $50,000 in food vouchers were distributed in 2021 alone.
- Veteran’s, Cancer Support, Drug Prevention and Rehabilitation, Alzheimer’s Association, Autism Support, and many other local organizations have benefited from grants from the Peekskill Rotary Foundation.
- Internationally, eradicating Polio, continues to be a major focus supported by the Club. Other international projects such as providing Shelter Boxes to war torn or weather damaged countries, and matching grants to Haiti, Dominican Republic, and other countries are granted from time to time.
For more information on the Cherry Blossom Festival or about the Rotary Club of Peekskill, please see www.peekskillrotary.com.
Contributed by Marie A. Green.