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New Arts Park Dedicated To Retired Senator Betty Little

Betty Little Arts Park Ribbon Cutting
Pat Bradley
Local officials cut the ribbon to open the Betty Little Arts Park. From left: Plattsburgh Mayor Chris Rosenquest, State Senator Dan Stec, Plattsburgh City Councilor Jennifer Tallon, Betty Little and Assemblyman D. Billy Jones

An official grand opening was held Saturday to mark the completion of one of Plattsburgh’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant projects. The new Betty Little Arts Park honors the retired New York state Senator, who represented the region for nearly 25 years in Albany.

The new outdoor park renovates a wide and deteriorated alleyway linking two key downtown streets: Margaret and Durkee Streets. The Arts Park features outdoor seating, sculptures, a large splash pad, sloping and accessible walkways and green spaces. Overlooking the park is one of a series of murals on downtown buildings.

Retired Republican state Senator Betty Little cut the ribbon to ceremonially open the new arts park.

Little said she was stunned by the size of the park.

“I’m absolutely blown away by all of this. It’s just incredible. Totally unexpected. And when I first heard about it, it was an art walk. So I thought well it’s nice a little trail. And I pulled up in front all I could think of was wow! This is so much more than what I anticipated.”

Little says arts are important to everyone and can be found everywhere.

“This art park is something special. There’s no admission ticket. There’s no closed door. And there are no limited hours. It is really a phenomenal idea. It will be a wonderful, wonderful welcome for the people who pass through here," she says. "And the fact that it has my name on it is unbelievable. Totally unexpected recognition. An amazing honor. It’s beyond belief. So thank you very very much from the bottom of my heart.”

Democratic Plattsburgh Mayor Chris Rosenquest said the arts park is one of the most visible projects of the DRI renovations of the downtown and honors Senator Little’s contributions to the arts in the region.

“We’ve got to talk about the arts and the importance of arts in a community like ours. We know that arts is an economic driver. It builds community. It builds quality of life. And so our investment in the arts not only the monetary investment but the attraction that we provide for artists, residents who appreciate art, organizations who provide artistic opportunities for us all to enjoy create opportunities for attraction, economic growth and improvement of quality of life in our community. We need to and we will continue to invest and support the arts in our community.”

Democratic Assemblyman D. Billy Jones of the 115th district said Little has been and continues to be a friend and a mentor to him.

“She’s been collaborative. She’s partnered with people. She’s formed consensus to get things done for the North Country. And we couldn’t ask for a better partner in that throughout the years. She was a friend of ours and she continues to be and she did it the way it’s supposed to be done." Jones turns to Little, "So Betty congratulations my friend. They couldn’t have honored a better person for this of course in this beautiful, beautiful park that we have. Just thank you for being a friend to not only myself, everyone here and the North Country.”

Republican Dan Stec represents the 45th district state Senate seat that Little long held. He said this arts park dedication is a culmination of Little’s work to support the arts in the region.

“This is an absolutely gorgeous park. And I couldn’t agree more that I can’t think of a better person to dedicate this park to. Her life of service: 25 years in the state legislature, 18 as your Senator. So Betty congratulations. This is a wonderful thing and it’s well deserved.”

The Betty Little Arts Park was funded using part of the Downtown Revitalization Grant awarded by the state to the city in 2016.

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