By PHIL NOBILE
On Oct. 2, distinguished members of the Harrison community turned out for a ceremonial dedication of a new garden to resident Peter Gisondi and his family.
The unveiling ceremony included Mayor Ron Belmont, Councilwoman Marlene Amelio and other Harrison dignitaries who came out to view the dedication of the garden. The Harrison Beautification Foundation president Denise Di Biasi spearheaded the project after years of support to the organization from the Gisondi family.
“They were tremendous supporters of the Harrison Beautification Foundation financially when we started out,” Di Biasi said. “We wouldn’t have been able to accomplish many of our projects without them.”
The garden—described by Di Biasi as located at the “gateway to Harrison”—is on the corner of Kenilworth Road and Harrison Avenue, in the neighborhood of the Gisondi’s home. It took two years for the project to gain approval, which, according to Di Biasi, required conforming to various rules and regulations set by the state.
Once the project received approval by the state, Di Biasi immediately began preparing the garden, adding various types of flowers, pumpkins and other autumnal twists. It was presented to Peter Gisondi and two of his sons, John and Peter Jr.
“We truly love our mother and father,” Peter Jr., said. “So, the family garden commemorated yesterday lets us see their vision clearer: To never forget where you came from no matter what happens in your lives.”
The family operates the largest painting contractor business in the tri-state area, Peter Gisondi & Co Inc., which has been family-owned and operated since 1952.
Di Biasi, who started the Harrison Beautification Foundation in 2000, created the non-profit in hopes of focusing any money raised solely toward beautification. The organization has since contributed numerous projects to Harrison, including donating clocks in the downtown and West Harrison area as well as setting up planters at the Harrison train station.
The foundation also operates an “adopt-a-plot” project that mirrors White Plains where residents can adopt a local park. Harrison residents can be recognized in a plot of their choosing if they sponsor it, and pay for its upkeep and flowers.
“I think beautification is important anywhere, this time of year especially,” Di Biasi said. “If you’re backed up in traffic and aggravated and you look out the window and at a beautiful display of flowers, you’re going to smile.”