Niagara Gazette

Columns

January 30, 2013

BRADBERRY: Happy birthday FDR, athletic field

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — As he said in his brief remarks, “I take great pleasure in coming to this dedication of this stadium today. There are many reasons why we ought to be proud of what we have been doing. This stadium, like many others in the country, represents a twofold effort. The first is to give work to people who need work, and the other is to build physical improvements for the future.”

His opening comments at the dedication reflect his visionary perception of America and Niagara Falls, New York which, as he had witnessed four years earlier during the height of the Depression, was clearly suffering the hallmarks of the economic crash that had impaled the world.

Yet, more than the less than prosperous circumstances that he saw here and across the United States in 1932, he also saw the extraordinary potential here and in the rest of the country, and he was willing to invest in it, putting hundreds to work immediately, and thousands more since as the economic impact and societal value of Hyde Park is now worth millions to this and subsequent generations.

But Hyde Park is not all that FDR helped to develop in Niagara Falls according to some local seniors, his programs helped build some of the trails along our Niagara gorge extending all the way out to Devils Hole.

FDR’s New Deal delivered real reform and actual jobs, launching an unprecedented $5 billion spending spree designed to perk up the people’s spirits as well as their purchasing power.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) signed into law on March 31, 1933, put at least 250,000 young men between the ages of 17 and 25 to work on a national reforestation program.

By the time the program ended more than two million men including 250,000 veterans had been put to work planting more than “two billion trees, stocked millions of waterways with fish, and built 52,000 public campgrounds and 123,000 miles of roads.

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