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Albany Officials Announce Revitalization Of Lincoln Park Bowl

Construction has begun to revitalize the city of Albany’s Lincoln Park Bowl, a project set to transform the neighborhood park.  Mayor Kathy Sheehan says the city will add new soil to raise the Lincoln Park Bowl by almost 3 feet. Athletic fields will be regraded, new grass installed, and drainage improved — years earlier than originally planned.

Officials say improvements identified in the master plan for the downtown park are being made possible because of the excavation of dirt by the Albany Water Department Beaver Creek Clean River Project in the northwest corner of the park, aimed at reducing sewer overflows.

The clean fill will be trucked to the Bowl. The dirt transfer will save the city a million dollars, according to Sheehan, a Democrat running for a third term.

"And we've committed to investing that million dollars right back into Lincoln Park to again fulfill the hopes and the imaginings that are in the Lincoln Park master plan. And so it's really one of those projects that I think everyone wins all the way around, even though it's going to be a little messy for a while, and we know that we all have to be patient about it."

Sheehan adds one of the biggest benefits is the elimination of some 5200 dump trucks that would have been running in and out of the neighborhood and the city itself.  Fill material would be screened and processed to be placed in specific layers to make a proper athletic field.  She says the improvements will benefit the community.

"Our kids deserve these facilities. This is about fixing decades of structural racism that resulted in a lack of investment and a lack of opportunity to members of our community that deserve it. Our kids deserve to have the best facilities and the types of facilities that people who live in other parts of this region take for granted. And so I view this as delivering on a promise, delivering on a commitment, to end structural racism and to focus on the equity that it requires. The investment that it requires to address decades of disinvestment."

City officials will work with local community organizations and neighborhood associations to solicit ideas and develop concepts for final playing field configurations.

"How they're going to be laid out, and the design of that is something that is going to be happening throughout the summer. Getting that outreach. We know that this is a field or a Bowl that is used for everything from cricket, to rugby to football to kickball to softball."

Water Commissioner Joe Coffey:

"On the far side, way in the back is what we call the eastern side of the Bowl area. That's the area that we want to get fill put in first. We're going to put some some of the slate rock material down as the base, put clay over it, and that's going to make sure we can hold the topsoil and that, and still provide some drainage, and then that area will be seeded. Our intent is to get those fields back in play for early next year, Spring-Summer of 2022."

Coffey notes there will be frequent testing of soil and air quality as the project progresses, and dust-mitigating fencing will be installed between the Bowl and Bath House/Pool area to limit impacts on the pool during the swimming season. He says work on the quadrant closer to the pool will commence when the pool closes for the season. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.

Safe Reuse of Soil

The soil from the Beaver Creek excavation site was determined to be safe for reuse in the Bowl athletic fields after soil tests from an accredited lab showed no contaminants in the soil. The soils were tested using a TCLP chemical analysis, which is used to identify hazardous elements and is a common practice standard for determining the of reuse of soil in public spaces. View a summary report.


Field Closures: the eastern half from May 2021 - May 2022, the northwest quarter from September 2021 - May 2023 and southwest quarter from May 2021 - May 2023.

  • Fencing will be installed to ensure the safety of those on the walking path around the Bowl. 
  • Frequent testing of the soil and air quality as the project progresses, 
  • Dust-mitigating fencing will be installed between the Bowl and Bath House/Pool 
  • A four-way stop sign at the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Lincoln Park Road to ensure pedestrian and traffic safety. 
  • Dump trucks moving dirt will be required to stop before crossing the path near the Bath House.
Credit City of Albany Water Department

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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