East Syracuse Since the mid-1980s, Veterans Park in East Syracuse has been the community’s humble recognition of the men and women who fought to defend their country.
But in recent years, the park has become overgrown and a bit run down. Last summer, Onondaga County Legislator Danny Liedka and his wife Kimberly that they wanted to give the park a well-deserved makeover.
“I’m not a veteran, but this is my way of giving back,” said Liedka, who lives in the village of East Syracuse and represents the seventh district. “I look up to these men and women – they’re my heroes, and I would do anything to help them.”
The Liedkas’ original goal was to raise around $5,000 to take care of the overgrown trees and clean up the monuments, but their modest mission has turned into a much bigger project thanks to an overwhelming amount of support from the community: Berkshire Bank, Walmart, Wegmans, the village of East Syracuse, and countless other businesses and residents have stepped up to donate time and/or money to Veterans Park.
The only official fundraiser that the Liedkas organized to benefit the project was a golf tournament, held last fall, where they more than doubled their goal of $5,000 and brought in almost $11,000 for the park.
Kevin Morgese, the owner of Mojo’s Lawn & Landscape Service, helped to design the plans for the renovations and has donated all of the landscaping labor to make the project a reality. And Associated Builders and Contractors and DEMCO have donated the labor for the electrical work along with the lighting fixtures. Altogether, Liedka estimates they’ve raised more than $18,000 and have more than $30,000 of in-kind donations of services and materials.
“With everybody that’s come forward, we’re getting about a $60,000 project done – it has really turned into something incredible,” he said. “It’s going to be simple, but I think it’s going to be something that people can really be proud of.”