Bringing the beauty back to a popular Waterbury park

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH)–Flower power has consumed Waterbury and what’s blossomed here is something beautiful.

“When we first announced this project there was just an outpouring of love and sentimentality from people,” said Kathleen McNamara who works for the city.

The project is an effort to clean up Fulton Park – a piece of Waterbury history that has meant so much for generations of families since it opened in the 1920s. Children have come here to play, fish and run by the pond. It really means something to people who’ve grown up here.

“I grew up here at Fulton Park,” said Michael Salvio, president of a civic organization called the Historic Overlook Community Club. “As a child in the 1950s, I spent a lot of time here.”

Michael continues to spend a lot of time here now as an adult. For the last 7 years, his club has spearheaded efforts to get hundreds of proud Brass City residents out to Fulton Park to clean it, take care of it and keep it beautiful. Michael says there was one period, however, when his beloved park became more known for prostitution and drug activity and he’s fought to change that.

“People wouldn’t even come here because they were afraid to walk through the park,” he said. “It was deplorable.”

So, tomorrow morning (Saturday, April 28th) at 9 a.m., Michael and his club are kicking off another special park clean up day by planting more than a hundred lilacs. Over the last 3 months, they embarked on a community-wide fundraising campaign to buy lilacs to help spruce up the park. Lilacs were a big part of the park when it opened so many years ago.

“These lilacs represent a whole rebirth of our Fulton Park,” Michael said.

The community rallied around the call to buy the lilacs and now, Michael expects an army of more than a hundred volunteers from several community groups to help plant them and to help spruce up the park. It’s a way for people in Waterbury to rally around the place they call home. Michael can’t wait to see what blossoms here because he wants the filth out and hopes –with their help — Fulton Park will be even more beautiful for future generations.

“Everybody has taken ownership of this park as far as keeping it clean and keeping it beautiful,” Michael said. “It’ll never go back to the way it was.”

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