Keeping Pelham Beautiful: One Park (and Lantern) at a Time

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Walk or drive through Pelham and you’ll be struck by its green spaces and unique architecture, which together help give the Villages charm, beauty and style. In the last 12 years alone, the Junior League of Pelham, a guiding light in our town for nearly 70 years, has spearheaded town-wide efforts to help restore Pelham’s parks and architecture and bring them to their full potential. By raising the necessary funds, (more than $400,000 in total), providing volunteers, working closely with community organizations and individuals to garner community support and collaborating with both Villages through planning and implementation, the Junior League of Pelham played a vital role in the massive restorations of both Julianne’s Playground and Weihman Park, in addition to the restoration of the more than 30 lanterns found throughout Pelham and Pelham Manor. On Thursday December 10, please join the Junior League of Pelham to keep the lights shining in Pelham as they revive the JLP’s luminary tradition (formerly Pelham Loves to Read) with “Light Up Pelham.” In recognition of each tax-deductible donation of $20 or more, the Junior League of Pelham will deliver one or more luminary kits to your home or business.  On this evening, join the Junior League of Pelham and other local organizations to fill the night with the light of Pelham’s great community spirit.  All donations directly support the Junior League of Pelham’s programs that improve Pelham and its neighboring communities.  (In an effort to be environmentally-friendly, donors may return their luminary kits the week following the event to designated locations in Pelham so the materials can be reused.  You are also welcome to receive fewer kits than provided by your donation).   Please visit to find out more details about the JLP’s Light Up Pelham event and to make a donation.  You can also contact Theresa Breskin at with any questions.  Donations will be accepted until December 1, 2009. Checks payable to the Junior League of Pelham may be mailed to the Junior League of Pelham, 901 Pelhamdale Ave., Pelham, NY 10803. Photo at top: Lighting up Pelham nightly, the lantern shown here at Monterey and Colonial Avenue is just one of more than 30 lanterns purchased, installed and illuminated with electricial light through the Junior League of Pelham’s Lantern Restoration Project between 1999 – 2001. Before they fell into disrepair, the massive stone pillars were once capped by ornamental lamps fueled by natural gas, softly illuminating Pelham and marking the entry points to the town’s neighborhoods. The JLP raised more than $85,000 to “Light Up Pelham” and collaborated with community organizations to garner support for the project.  Other restored lanterns’ locations include, among others:  Boulevard and Wolfs Lane, Coronoa and Colonial Avenues, top of Washington Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue.  (Photo credit:  Anneliese Turck)Above Julianne’s Playground:  Back in 1997, the existing playground at Sixth Street between Third and Fourth Avenues was old, outdated and in need of repair. The Junior League of Pelham identified the need for the playground renovation after a study revealed there were few areas for toddlers to play in the community. After reviewing possible locations with the town council and inviting community input at open forums, it was decided to renovate the Sixth Street Playground instead of building a new playground from scratch. Between 1998 and 1999, the JLP raised a staggering $100,000, donating $20,000 itself and receiving donations from the Town (who also donated $20,000 upon the suggestion of Town Supervisor Joe Solimine), individuals, and numerous community organizations. The funds went towards the purchase and installation of new play equipment, new benches, waste receptacles, and updated landscaping. Working side by side with the Pelham Civics and more than 100 volunteers, the playground was completed and the newly renovated park re-opened June 26, 1999. Thanks to a true community effort, one of the finest community playgrounds in Pelham was restored for the benefit of its youngest residents. Now called Julianne’s Playground, the park is stimulating, educational and fun for kids of all ages.Photo above: Drivers and walkers along the Esplanade can’t help but notice the recent restoration of Martha Emmons Weihman Memorial Park, a Pelham landmark since 1941. A small park located on the corner of Boston Post Road and the Esplanade, just behind the Huguenot Church, the park had fallen into disrepair. Beginning in 2005, the Junior League of Pelham worked with the Village of Pelham Manor throughout the fundraising, designing and implementation of this park revitalization project which is nearly complete. The park is now in the hands of the Village. In total, the Junior League of Pelham raised more than $240,000 to help return this green space to its former self: a tranquil walking park with meandering pathways and beautiful tree canopies that will once again be “the pride of Pelham.”