Warrensburg Chamber names Whalen 'Citizen of Year'

WARRENSBURG-A local woman who's dedicated most all of her adult life to community service has been named "Citizen of the Year" for 2011 by the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce.

Since 1984, Whalen has been involved in various projects in the town of Warrensburg, concentrating on beautification, historic preservation, lifestyle sustainability and enriching the local fabric of life, Chamber official Sandi Parisi said Monday.

"Warrensburg is her heart," she said. "It's just amazing the time she's devoted to the town through the years."

Whalen will be honored at a Citizen of the Year dinner set for June 17 at Grace's Restaurant in Warrensburg.

Starting her volunteer work in 1987 with the relatively new Warrensburgh Beautification Committee, Whalen launched various landscaping efforts around town.

In 1989, she founded Christmas in Warrensburgh, a weekend event early in December that includes a variety of holiday activities for all ages and musical performances. The event, now a treasured local tradition, draws hundreds annually to various venues and retail shops in town.

In 1998, she launched the Warrensburg Riverfront Farmers' Market, which has grown from one vendor selling vegetables off his tailgate to a weekly venue that includes 15 vendors of produce, flowers, organic meats, baked goods crafts and specialty goods.

The market, which at times features acoustic music performances, is held in the Warrensburgh Mills Historic District Park, which she helped create with other members of Warrensburgh Beautification, including Kaena Loo.

Neglected for decades as a town-owned parcel, the Warrensburgh Mills Park now features a gazebo, parking areas, landscaping, rest room and utilities due to the tireless lobbying of Whalen and her associates.

This wasn't the only town park she and helped launch or upgrade. She and others from Warrensburgh Beautification Inc. worked on developing seven town parks along the Schroon River, and obtained state grants for four of them.

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