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Potential changes coming to improve Ross Park

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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- The Community Foundation for South Central New York and the City of Binghamton are working on a plan to revitalize the park for visiting families.

Both the Ross Park Zoo and the Discovery Center have been hit hard by the pandemic.

"We went from having five birthday parties on a Saturday, to just a few visitors on a Sunday, to absolutely nobody on a Monday," said Discovery Center Interim Executive Director Cheryl Dutko.

Dutko has been working at the Discovery Center for nearly 20 years. She says it wasn't always as quiet as it is now.

"All the trails, all the people that came up here on the trolley, that was a destination then, and I think it could be a destination in the future too," said Dutko.

Other non-profits agree, with the Community Foundation seeing an opportunity within the park.

"Our goal is to improve the quality of life in the region, so maybe we should talk to the city, the zoo, the Discovery Center, and see if they have any interest in us funding something along the lines of a master plan," said Diane Brown, executive director for the Community Foundation for South Central New York.

While plans are not yet set in stone, they do include renovating trails, improving accessibility, and making the park more enjoyable for all families.

"When you come to Ross Park, you could be in the forest, you could be in the woods, you have this zoo that's on one end, and the Discovery Center on the other end," said Dutko. "It's a perfect destination for families."

As plans continue to be finalized, the Community Foundation says they have pledged up to $50,000 for the master plan.

Katie Jones

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