Pavilion Planned for Camarda Park
The Putnam Examiner
Andrew Vitelli

Shade-seeking visitors of Paul A. Camarda Park in Carmel will soon haveprotection from the summer sun. The Carmel Sports Association has donated $30,000 for the construction of a pavilion in Camarda Park. It will be called the Muriel Cornish Pavilion, in honor of the woman who donated the money to the CSA in 1999.

“What she has done for this community is really immeasurable, and I think it is something that is important for the people in our community to recognize her efforts,” said Putnam Legislator Mary Ellen Odell, the co-founder and former president of the CSA. “I felt that the pavilion would be a wonderful opportunity to honor Mrs. Cornish.”

From 1964 to 1968, Cornish was the treasurer of the Memorial Recreation Association of Carmel. When MRAC remaining in a bank account as well as 100 shares of stock. Through prudent investment, this turned into $38,600 by the late 1990s. Since MRAC was defunct and the mission of the CSA was similar, she donated the money to the CSA.

When Cornish donated the money, she hoped that it would eventually be used to build an aquatic center or swimming pool in Carmel. With the economy down it became clear that it would be difficult to do this without using taxpayer money. Jim Gilchrist, director of Carmel Parks and Recreation, suggested that a pavilion be built, and the CSA voted in favor of it. Cornish, now 93, supported the idea. “She held on to her dream of donating the MRAC money to the Town of Carmel for 30 years and now all the families of Carmel will reap the benefits,” Muriel’s daughter Tina Cornish-Lauria said of her mother.

Construction of the pavilion will start sometime in the summer. The 37-acre park will open June 20 with a ribboncutting ceremony. The land was donated by developer Paul Camarda. “The pavilion will be a beautiful edition to Camarda Park,” Carmel Supervisor Ken Schmitt said at the May 13 town board work session. “We are pleased and very grateful for the generous donation and the opportunity to have this opening at the park.”

The pavilion will be located in the center of the park and will be about 25 feet by 50 feet. The pavilion will be built at no cost to the taxpayers. One of the reasons that the CSA decided to build a pavilion was its benefit to all members of the community,from young kids to senior citizens. “We feel that a pavilion is necessary up there for a community as a whole,” said CSA President Mike Berg. “It’ll be useful for family gatherings, picnics, barbeques and general community use.”

A longtime Carmel resident, Cornish was always involved in the community. She was the vice president of the Parent- Teachers Organization and a long-time volunteer at the Putnam hospital. Starting in the late 1950s, Cornish helped advance recycling in Carmel and in 1970 she started Putnam County Recycling.

“You really have to credit both my parents, who became very involved in many Carmel organizations soon after moving here in the 1930’s,” she said. “I just listened to what they taught me: To always give back to your community for the good of everyone.”