Supporting our Environment
“Protecting and preserving the environment in which we all live is vital to our living.”
Understandably, the term “environment” has often been limited to land, water and air. Historically, the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc. has generously supported many “green” programs and projects. The health of our living spaces is important, but we care equally deeply about the quality of life for our communities.
Spencer Crest Nature Center
What does one do with 250 beautiful hilltop acres? Continually improve access and offerings so as many people as possible can enjoy and learn from them. The Community Foundation has been supporting this landmark for as long as we can remember. Over the years our donors and grant committee members have helped Spencer Crest create a fully functional education building that supports offerings for children and adults alike. We’ve partnered with local groups and agencies to create and maintain a “sensitivity” trail that is fully wheelchair accessible via a lift from top to bottom, a switchback ramp from the parking lot and a “boardwalk” that runs along the entire ¼ mile loop. “Improvements to the trail have had significant impact,” says David Pindel, Professor of Biology at Corning Community College and President of the Spencer Crest Advisory Board. “Use of the trail by the elderly and injured people has skyrocketed.”
In the 1880s, Eldridge Park was a Victorian walking garden. In the 1970s it was an amusement park. Now, it is a delightful mixture of the two with trails and a pond for strolling, as well as a carousel and mini golf course for amusement. It boasts dragon boats and popcorn; it hosts live music and fireworks. Most of all it is a thriving community gathering spot for picnics and parties, weddings and proms. Evidence of Community Foundation support exists throughout the park from the renovated buildings to the newest attractions.
The Promenade, Downtown Elmira
Well over fifteen years ago, planners from around the country who consulted on Elmira’s transit center noticed the elevated train trestle that cut right through the eastern part of downtown. Rather than an “ugly viaduct” they saw a unique walking space that could serve as a connector for important structures, facilities and amenities. It took a long time and significant convincing, but finally all parties got on board to make the Promenade Project a reality. “The Foundation was one of the first grant-makers,” notes Jay Schissel, project coordinator. “They brought significant visibility and legitimacy to the effort.”