September 15, 2011
Yaman continues giving spirit in city park that bears family’s name
Longtime real estate developer donates $5,000 for repairs to Yaman Park entrance
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
George Haesche repairs loose stone in the Yaman Park entrance sign Wednesday afternoon. The entrance to the park is being enhanced with new landscaping and the repaired sign.
Real estate agent Jim Yaman stood Wednesday afternoon at the entrance of the 16-acre park he donated to the city 44 years ago as a landscaping crew ripped out an 8-foot-tall hedge and replaced it with a row of 26 deciduous shrubs.
The 92-year-old still remembers back in 1967 when he donated the land for the park to the city as a tribute to his parents.
“That was a long time ago,” he says with a smile.
The park, located off Clinton avenue, is used by 35,000 people annually during beach season and many others during the rest of the year, said John McNerney, director of the Cortland Youth Bureau.
On Wednesday, landscapers and a mason were busy doing work at the front of the park, replacing the hedge with a line of shrubs. A local mason also patched the sign at the entrance of the park.
As is his wont, Yaman donated the services to the city.
Just about every year, Yaman donates something for the park, whether it is barbecue grills, new playground equipment or something else. This year it was about $5,000 for landscaping, masonry work and a new plaque at the park entrance.
Yaman did not want to say the total amount of the donation, but McNerney said it was about $5,000.
“It’s good for the community,” Yaman said. “And what’s good for the community is good for all of us.”
McNerney said Yaman has a long history of donating to the park.
“He’s always been very generous,” McNerney said. “The park has become a very important part of the community.”
In 1996, there was a budget shortfall, which left the city pondering a parking fee for people to use the park. Yaman donated $10,000 at the time to allow people to use the park for free.
For Yaman, the park is a tribute to his family — his father Deib Joseph Yaman in particular, who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon. He was a lifelong clothing salesman who died in 1974.
The park has evolved over the years, with playgrounds, gazebos, picnic pavilions and a boat launch that connects with the Tioughnioga River.
Cortland Granite made the new plaque for the park entrance.
The plaque is a reminder of Yaman’s love for both his family and Cortland and his desire to give something back to the city.
“This park is named for Deib Joseph Yaman, who arrived from Lebanon in 1907; whose devotion to family life and love of children is typical of the many fine qualities displayed by the immigrants who settled in Cortland County,” the plaque reads. “The land was donated by his son James J. Yaman to be used by the families and children of the City of Cortland.”
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