Four years after construction began in Port Allegany’s Serenity Glass Park, its builders continue to expand upon the colorful gem.
Symbols representing local history now grace the park’s walkway, and the group is designing additions to its Wall of Inspiration. Made of glass blocks — fitting for a borough known for its glass manufacturing history — the park started to become a reality in spring 2016 with the start of construction, and a dedication ceremony was held in September 2017.
“The good things about the glass park is that it is free, open air, and sometimes a surprise to people passing through,” said Susan Carlson, architectural designer and chair.
In fact, Carlson has been able to enjoy the experience of watching visitors discover the space.
“I saw a car coming from the west go through the traffic light, stop abruptly, turn around, park, and all car doors open with people running to the park with awed expressions,” she explained. “They didn’t expect to see the exhibit of glass and history tucked away on a small lot, anchoring Main Street in a charming little town.”
A more recent feature is the addition of illustrations to the glass walkway.
“Our art director, Brenda Sawyer, went to the Seneca Nation to research symbols that we could use to tell the story of our town’s history as a part of the Seneca Indian’s Hunting Highlands along the Allegheny River,” said Carlson.
She explained they cut out the “intricate graphic symbols” from a blue sandpaper-like material that is meant for use in skate parks. The symbols were stuck to the walkway’s glass paver blocks.
“The result was stunning,” said Carlson. “It added history and beauty while making the walkway safe in the winter or when the blocks were wet which made them slippery and dangerous. And it is so visually gorgeous!”
As for the Wall of Inspiration, they are currently in the design phase for the second to last panel.
Community members are invited to put their own mark in the park by sponsoring a block.
The Wall of Inspiration comprises blocks etched with messages.
“There are eight panels in all with sixty-six blocks in each panel and this will be the seventh of eight,” said Carlson. “Because of the virus we sold very few blocks for this panel before June, each costing $50 which covers the cost of the blocks, the design of the message, etching the message on the glass block, and installing the 66 separate blocks in place with mortar.”
They started offering the blocks for $35 each in June, and while many orders came in, some blocks are still available.
“I hope everyone that wanted a message on a glass block for future generations to read will contact me before there are none left,” she noted. People can contact me at: email@example.com.
The panel will be built next month.
“After that our last message block panel will be installed in August of 2021, next year, completing this feature of the park,” Carlson said.