Dedication Ceremony for the Gorman Ponds Park
Saturday, May 7 at 10am
(May 2011) On May 7th the Village celebrated its 25th anniversary by formally dedicating Kathryn Gorman Ponds Park. Under blue skies and with a huge american flag hung by the Tallman Fire Company, speeches honoring Mayor Gorman were made by Mayor Oppenheim, Village Attorney Warren Berbit, County Legislator Alden Wolff and State Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt. The event included a ribbon cutting and a tour of the park led by Tony Piazza and members of the Parks Commission. The park is now open for use by all citizens. It includes a parking lot, a handicapped accessible trail, 7 ponds with natural walkways and beautiful vistas. The Parks Commission is working on the next phase which will include water flow management.
The following are excerpts from the remarks by Mayor Oppenheim:
Thank you all for coming on this wonderful day for this special occasion to celebrate the dedication of this spectacular park. Today we are observing three simultaneous occasions. First, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the incorporation of the Village of Montebello. Second, we are officially opening this magnificent park. Third, we are recognizing the service of Kathryn Gorman by naming this park in her honor. And by observing all three events on one day we are also saving the taxpayers the cost of doing this 2 more times.
Today I want to offer a few words of recognition. Then I am going to introduce several distinguished individuals. Craig Long , Warren Berbit, Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt, County Legislator Alden Wolff, and, of course, Mayor Gorman. But before we ask Mayor Gorman to speak we will ask her to officially cut the ribbon, and we have a special pair of large scissors for the occasion. Following this the Parks Commission will lead us on a short walking tour of the park. In thinking about Mayor Gorman’s service to the Village I have been asking myself the following question: What is the hallmark of great leadership? What is it that distinguishes a leader from an administrator? Both need to tend to the affairs of the public yet only one is remembered for accomplishing great things. What is the key characteristic that sets one apart from the other? And I began to think about America’s leaders. We each know the US Presidents who are considered great leaders: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln. What is it that made only some of our President’s great leaders?
I believe that the answer might be encapsulated in one word: vision. A great leader is notable for the possession and determination of a clear vision of the future. Not just a vision for tomorrow, for next month, or even for next year; but a vision for the next generation and generations to come. Such a vision is the reason that we revere Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. 25 years ago the land that we are standing upon was undeveloped. It could have become developed in a terrible way. It could have become overly dense housing with the loss of trees, the destruction of the charm of nature and a general disregard for the surrounding community. But a small group of civically minded citizens had a vision. They knew that the only way to make certain that this land was properly developed was to found a new Village and to lead that Village diligently. And thanks to that small group, the Village of Montebello exists today. That, my friends, is vision. And that is leadership. Kathryn Gorman was the leader of that group and the first Mayor of Montebello. Under her leadership and with her vision, this community developed to be the finest place to raise a family. And the centerpiece of Mayor Gorman’s vision was the creation of a beautiful park in the center of the Pines Community. So it is completely fitting that we honor her today, on the Village’s 25th anniversary, by naming this park Kathryn Gorman Ponds Park.
Mayor Gorman labored selflessly for 20 years on behalf of our Village. When I say selflessly, I mean it. She didn’t do it for the money, there wasn’t much. She didn’t do it for the patronage, there wasn’t any. And she didn’t do it for the glory. I can tell you that she never asked for any accolades. The decision to name this park in her honor was mine alone. And you probably know that Kathy is rarely at a loss for words. But I can tell you that the day I told her that I wanted to name the park in her honor, perhaps for the first time, she was speechless. Mayor Gorman served this Village selflessly and therefore could not be more deserving of this honor. Mayor Gorman’s vision defined the quality of leadership that we honor today. Her contribution will not just be remembered by us or by those who are here in the next few years, it will be remembered for generations by all who visit this park, by all who are raised in this neighborhood and all those who have the benefit of calling Montebello their home: thanks to the vision, and leadership, of Mayor Gorman.
Today may be the end of the first 25 years of Montebello, but it is really just the beginning of some many more. We are beginning to use and develop this park. We are witness to a new generation of families who have moved here specifically because Montebello is such a great place to live. Generations to come will tell their children that they grew up in Montebello and it was a wonderful place to have been a child. They will remember their families, their community, their streets and this park. And they will remember the name of Kathryn Gorman, Montebello’s first mayor. What a fantastic legacy. Thank you Mayor Gorman.