Over the decades, we’ve seen us change from a struggling but determined group of residents to a beautiful and thriving community.
For almost four decades MMPCIA, has continued its stewardship of the Mount Morris area and Marcus Garvey Park. The members of MMPCIA were the catalyst for returning the park to its beauty. At their urging, in 1986 under the leadership of then Manhattan Borough Commissioner Patrick Pomposello, $1 million was put into the Parks Department budget to develop a master plan for restoring the park, which included landscaping the east side while restoring the amphitheater and the city’s only remaining Fire Watchtower.
The Mount Morris Park Watchtower first went into service in 1857. Watchtowers were used to watch for fires, warning of danger by ringing the bell. Eventually becoming obsolete due to technological advances, they decayed overtime. The watchtower was given landmark status in 1967 and listed on the national register of historic places in 1976. Although the watchtower was kept intact due to its landmark status, it needed restoration. Roof damage allowed water into the structure, rusting structural components. The original copper roof deteriorated and fell off, exposing the interior to more damage. Many of the internal steps were missing and park visitors could no longer visit the structure.
In 2013, Syderia Asberry-Chresfield and Laurent Delly, MMPCIA’s president and vice president at the time, spearheaded the fundraising efforts to restore the Fire Watchtower after years of deterioration. Partnering with the Department of Parks and Recreation and others, the initial $4 million was raised to restore the historic cast iron structure, which was dismantled in 2015 and returned to the public today, October 26, 2019.