Melissa Bianconi's Design and Operation of Recreational Areas and Facilities class from Ithaca College Seeks Out New Design for Montgomery Park

Dryden Recreation Director Melissa Bianconi’s Design and Operation of Recreational Areas and Facilities class from Ithaca College is starting an exciting revamp project on Montgomery Park.

Bianconi teaches the class and set up a planning exercise for the students in the class. She said that there are several course objectives but the most important one is an understanding of comprehensive community planning with a special emphasis on community and stakeholder involvement. She brought them to the park to get potential ideas for a redesign.

They began brainstorming non-traditional ways to get the community involved without making them come to a town board meeting. That’s when the idea of the Vision Board came.

The Vision Board is something where people from the community can come to the park, walk around, get ideas and then be able to put them directly on the board. They can either write or draw their ideas on it. Bianconi and her class ask that people think of the park as a blank slate but be sure to keep in mind that the park is legally designated as park land and therefore must stay as a park. They simply want some ideas on how to improve the space and redesign it.

Ithaca College Senior Diana Sukut is excited about the project because even though it’s being done in a short amount of time, they are really able to make a change.

“It’s something that’s never been done before and I’m really glad that I’m fortunate to be able to be in a class where we can make a change for Montgomery Park,” Sukut said.

The Vision Board will be put up on one of the main fences around the basketball courts. Bianconi said that they have a goal of getting the board up by Friday, November 30 and she is confident they will meet that goal. The board will be up until Sunday, December 9 but if it seems to be going well they may keep it up a couple of days longer.

If you can’t make it to the Vision Board, you can visit and click on the Making Montgomery tab. From there you can also email the account that they set up for the project. The students in the class have also created a Facebook page and a Twitter account to receive more ideas. Aside from the Vision Board, these methods will be available for you to send your ideas to for an indefinite amount of time. In a short time, they will also be putting out a survey to the community.

“I’m extremely excited for this opportunity it’s going to be a profound project … for the community. I think that it’s beautiful to have the connection between the students … where their knowledge is fresh on this topic and we’re also an outside perspective and combining that with this unbelievable space. I really like how great the community involvement is on the project,” Ithaca College Senior Rachel Cohem said.

Once all the ideas have been collected, they will try to come up with some conceptual site design for Montgomery Park. Then they will present the idea to the Village of Dryden. Bianconi said that the village is open to changes being done to the park and has a modest fund to put toward the project.

The village doesn’t have a planning or recreation department so that’s where the town will come in and help out as they have both of those departments and want to help.

Bianconi is excited about this experiment in planning and public outreach and incorporating her class into it. She and the class are hoping for significant involvement from the community and for the community to be excited about it too.

She wants to encourage everyone to go to the park and put up their ideas on the Vision Board. She also asks that people respect the process, take the Vision Board seriously, and not perform any acts of vandalism.

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Bianconi's class is calling on community members to contribute ideas for Montgomery Park on a "vision board" placed in the park.