New growth in Central Park Rose Garden

Photographer: Amy Luke
Left to right, Kevin Mastropietro, Corey Hall, and Jason Benamati work on the new pergola.Photographer: Amy Luke Left to right, Kevin Mastropietro, Corey Hall, and Jason Benamati work on the new pergola.

By Brett Samuels

SCHENECTADY- A new structure is being assembled at the rose garden in Schenectady’s Central Park, rounding out improvements that have been ongoing for years.

A pergola, which is an archway that provides cover in a garden, is going up along the path in the back of the garden. The archway will be completed in the spring, and is expected to be a popular spot for weddings, said Dave Gade, operations supervisor of the rose garden. The pergola is the last major project the Rose Garden Restoration Committee sought to complete in its efforts to improve the space.

“I’ve seen a lot of rose gardens around the country, and a lot of them have pergolas,” said Gade, who has volunteered at the Schenectady garden for about two decades.

Construction of the pergola began earlier this year, with workers continuing to make progress into the winter. As of Friday, about a dozen brick columns have been placed, with construction equipment parked nearby for additional work.

The top of the structure will go up this week, assuming the weather cooperates, Gade said.

The finishing touches will be put on in the spring, Gade said, when lights and climbing roses will be added to the pergola.
The addition will be handicap accessible, Gade said. Under the archway there will be a paved walkway with some benches, he said, and the structure will be surrounded by plantings.

The pergola costs approximately $200,000. The Rose Garden Restoration Committee held a fundraiser for the project, sent out letters and offered residents the chance to buy bricks in the garden, with money going toward the project.

“We’ve had a lot of people that have seen what we’ve done so far and are willing to support it,” he said. “People are generous.”
The rose garden receives funding from donations and through fees on permits required to hold weddings in the space. That money allows the restoration committee to reinvest in the garden, Gade said.

The pergola is the latest in a series of projects that the Rose Garden Restoration Committee has undertaken in the last few years. Those projects included adding steps and a gateway in 2009 along Central Parkway, installing a fountain in 2011, and lighting the sidewalk along Central Parkway, which was done last year, according to the committee’s website.