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Carpenter’s Pond, Willow Patch to see improvements this year from CPF grant funding

This nine-foot-tall willow basket sculpture was made by willow artist Elizabeth Schoonmaker and placed in the Willow Patch in September 2103 by a dozen volunteers. This picture was taken from South Street, where a new overlook into the area is planned to be created this summer.

This nine-foot-tall willow basket sculpture was made by willow artist Elizabeth Schoonmaker and placed in the Willow Patch in September 2103 by a dozen volunteers. This picture was taken from South Street, where a new overlook into the area is planned to be created this summer. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— The Cazenovia Preservation Foundation will put nearly $60,000 worth of improvement work into Carpenter’s Pond and the Willow Patch this year, thanks to grant funding it recently received from the Central New York Community Foundation.

The work, which has been part of a five-year project by the CPF, will contribute to the “restoration of Carpenter’s Pond and the Willow Patch as a reliable, safe hydrologic system with educational and recreation benefit to the community,” said Judy Gianforte, CPF conservation manager.

“It’s very exciting, pulling together all these little pieces,” Gianforte said. “It really is a two-acre gem right on the edge of the village.”

The Willow Patch is located between Carpenter’s Pond and Mill Street and is bordered on the south by the Chittenango Creek canal and walkway. The canal was built in the 1850s to channel Cazenovia Lake water flow into Chittenango Creek; before that, the water flowed through the wetland now known as the Willow Patch. This site once served as a mill pond in the early 19th century then it was drained and planted with willows providing material for the Syracuse region’s willow industry.

The CPF was gifted the Willow Patch in 1986 to be kept as open space and a sanctuary for wildlife; it was then gifted Carpenter’s Pond in 1987, also to be as open space as well as a recreational amenity for the community, according to CPF information.

The current restoration project began in 2009 when Carpenter’s Pond started overflowing, and the CPF had to take actions to prevent flooding and create a modern reliable system to control water levels, Gianforte said. In 2010, the CPF worked on trail development and expansion in the Willow Patch area, and in 2013 connected the Willow Patch trail to the trail along the canal dike.

Also last year, a larger-than-life willow basket was created from local willows and moved into the Willow Patch. There was also installed a new boardwalk and trail completed by the Boy Scouts and new interpretive signage added.

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