Port Jefferson’s iconic Rocketship Park is getting a facelift this winter. Village board members, mayors past and present, local politicians, community members and donors gathered at the park Oct. 13 to commemorate the kick-off of the project.
“In the seven years that I’ve been your mayor, we’ve done a lot of projects here in Port Jefferson … but of all of those projects, I don’t think one is more important or near and dear to our hearts than this little park, because Rocketship Park is really the heartbeat of the community,” Mayor Margot Garant said.
In all, nearly $275,000 has been raised toward the project, in large part thanks to the efforts of the Village’s Treasure Your Parks campaign.
On Oct. 9, a 15K Run to the Port Jeff Brewing Company hosted nearly 1,000 runners and raised more than $5,000 toward the renovations. The brewery’s owner, Mike Philbrick, said he decided to donate the proceeds from the race toward the Rocketship Park initiative because he has four kids and the cause is very personal to him.
Local Cub Scout Troop 41 held a bake sale and sold candy and popcorn for movie night events at Harborfront Park during the summer to raise money as well, and representatives from the group were in attendance Oct. 13 to hand over a $350 check to Garant.
“It takes a village to rebuild Rocketship Park,” Garant said. “It’s about our children and it’s about the local economy, because parks are critically important to our community.”
Former village trustee and a member of the fundraising committee, Adrienne Kessel, thanked those involved for their hard work.
“No one does this alone — we have a committee that has worked tirelessly for the last four years to get us to where we are today,” she said.
Garant also recognized the long list of private donors who supported the fundraising efforts.
The park will be dismantled beginning in late November, equipment will be ordered and installed, and a ribbon cutting ceremony for the brand new Rocketship Park will be held sometime in late April or early May, according to an estimate from Garant.