How many of you reading this message have run the full 15K race course? Next question – How many have walked the 15K miniature race course in Butler Park? OK, final question – Do you know what Boilermaker Square at Butler Park is all about?
With that out of the way – Here is your history lesson for the day.
The venture began in 1997 when a group of Boilermaker volunteers met to discuss how a vacant and seldom used Utica City park could be developed to honor and memorialize their 15K race. The location was ideal, near the finish line and adjacent to the post race party. The Boilermaker Race Committee adopted Butler Park, developed a plan to renew and revitalize the land and return it as a gift to the Community, as the Boilermaker celebrated its 20th Anniversary. Boilermaker Square at Butler Park was created.
The original concept included the development of a walkway in the shape of the race course route, tree plantings with a specific grid pattern, and decorative pole lighting.
The main feature is a 4 foot wide – red brick path – forming an exact miniature replica of the 15K Boilermaker race course as it winds its way through the City. Along the way are brick pads designating major landmarks such as the F.T. and T.R. Proctor Parks, MVCC, the Zoo, Utica College, and 15 others important Utica features. Engraved brick pavers, with personal messages from donors line the two sides of the pathway and the borders of several of the landmarks. Two of the landmarks are dedicated to the winners of the Les Diven Media Award and Volunteer of the Year Award. The Start line, Mileage markers and Finish line are also engraved and placed along the course.
Soon after developing the concept, a Boilermaker Brick Drive was initiated and several hundred bricks with engraved messages were accumulated. By late 1999 construction was started. Grading of the entire Park, subbase for the brick pathway was placed, decorative light poles were installed and more than 40 trees were planted. Nearly all of the work was completed with donated labor and materials from local contractors and material suppliers.
Today more than 1,900 inscribed messages have been selected by Boilermaker supporters and installed along the pathway with just as many blank spaces left to be filled. Are you one of them? If not, here is how you can participate.
- Bricks are sold at the 2 day Health and Fitness Expo in the Boilermaker Merchandise Store.
- Bricks are sold along with other merchandise at the Post Race Party.
- Bricks are available for purchase from the Boilermaker web site.
Each brick includes your personal message:
- Standard Brick is 4 inches by 8 inches. Cost $30 each.
- Up to 3 lines of engraving.
- Each line contains 14 letters/spaces maximum.
The engraved bricks vary from reading like entertaining scripts to memorials for loved ones, but each is a personal message created from their heart. From runners to spectators, to volunteers to race supporters they each have purchased an everlasting piece of Boilermaker history. Here are some examples from recent purchases:
THERE IS NO PLACE I RATHER BE
J MO RUNNING FOR BEER SINCE 2000
UTICA FREE ACADEMY CLASS OF 1947
IN MEMORY OF JOHN C. MANION UTICA CLUB
For the Committee members and volunteers, Boilermaker Park has been a labor of love. The process to sell the pavers and install the engraved product has been long and enduring. We have been happy to have those who have supported our efforts by creating their individual lasting memories.
For more information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.