With an outdoor swimming pool and pavilion, Law Memorial Park has been a hub of activity in Briarcliff Manor since its inception in the early 1900s.
Walter Law, the founder of Briarcliff village, donated land to build the park in 1917, and the original swimming pool was constructed in the same location as it is today in 1927.
The park was originally named Liberty Park, but village officials changed its name in the 1950s to honor Law.
Today the park has a retention pond, paved trails, four tennis courts, a kiddie pool and children's playground, a pavilion and a 116-by-75-foot swimming pool. The pavilion includes changing and locker rooms on its lower level, and a summertime concession stand on its upper level. The Briarcliff Manor Public Library is also located on one side of the park.
"Law Memorial Park is the jewel of our park system," said Henry Jamin, the superintendent of recreation in Briarcliff.
From 1999 to 2001, Law Park underwent a major $4 million renovation to accommodate more people around the pool. A former bathhouse on the north side of the pool was demolished, and a new pavilion on the east side of the pool was constructed. . Temporary trailers with showers and changing rooms were put in during that construction..
In addition, the Law Park pond was restructured so that it was deeper and took up less area, allowing for a grassy seating area with umbrellas placed on the south side of the pool.
"There was a time when the pond and pool shared a wall," Jamin said. "In the 1960s when it rained really hard, pond water would spill into the pool, along with frogs, fish and turtles."
Today the pond is set back and away from the pool. There is no fishing or swimming allowed there, but it serves as a nice backdrop for photographs such as those taken on prom night by Briarcliff High School students.
According to Jamin, there was little opposition to the 2001 renovation project because the need for extra space around the pool had been an ongoing issue for years. .
"On really busy days, the pool was extremely crowded, and there was not enough area for people to spread out and lounge," he said. "The project was embraced by the community."
Law Memorial Park is used year-round and is the site for a number of community days, including the spring Easter egg hunt, Memorial Day services, a summer family fun night, a Community Day with games, activities and fireworks in September, and a sing-along by bonfire in December.
Briarcliff pool users must be residents of Briarcliff or live in the Briarcliff school district. Guests can use the pool, but they must come with a Briarcliff member and pay a $10 fee at the gate.
In addition to being used by the Briarcliff public, the pavilion and pool can also be rented out for private events.
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