Businessman receives key to the city of Gloversville

Terry Kucel, a retired principal of Townsend Leather, poses with family members and employees of Townsend at Wandel Park in Gloversville on Thursday after he was presented with a key to the city by Mayor Dayton King for the restoration project he led at the park. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — Mayor Dayton King presented a key to the city to Terry Kucel on Thursday, honoring the retired businessman for his efforts leading a restoration project at Wandel Park.

“It is my honor to give you this key to the city in recognition for all of your hard work and leadership,” King said during a presentation ceremony at Wandel Park on Thursday.

Townsend Leather funded the roughly $75,000 renovation project at Wandel Park that began in April under the direction of Kucel, a retired principal at the company.

Kucel approached the city earlier this year when the Johnstown based company was looking for a project to undertake as a way to give back to the community and employees. Wandel Park was selected due to its location in the downtown area and the need given the condition of the park.

“I think it came out fantastic. When we were approached by Mr. Kucel saying ‘hey, we want to do something,’ we never expected it would be this great,” King said.

Gloversville Mayor Dayton King presented a key to the city to Terry Kucel on Thursday, honoring the retired principal of Townsend Leather for his efforts leading a restoration project at Wandel Park. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

Improvements at Wandel Park included the removal of damaged trees, removal of damaged wooden beams along the concrete path running through the park, planting trees, removing and replacing the existing concrete walkways and steps, gardening, repairing the roofs of the two gazebos, adding lights, replacing the monument at the front entrance to the park and adding seating.

Work was completed by Kucel, Townsend employees and city employees with the Department of Public Works. Townsend contracted William R. Dorn Construction, Inc. to complete roof work and Integra LED donated lights that were installed in the gazebos.

“I just want to thank Mr. Kucel and his whole leadership team and the men and women who put a lot of sweat and hard work into this,” King said.

King noted as he presented Kucel with the key to the city that it was only the second time in his nine years as mayor that he had bestowed the honor on an individual.

“Mr. Kucel and his team, the leadership and his family, they are just great people,” King said. “They’ve got a really successful business and they take care of their employees and they care about the community.”

Councilman-at-Large Vincent DeSantis spoke during the presentation ceremony, noting that cities try to lay the groundwork for businesses to flourish and expand to increase the tax base and revenue that is reinvested in public amenities.

“This is not only an improvement in the appearance of this space, but the design of this makes it a much more useable space for public activities,” DeSantis said. “I don’t think you realize how much appreciated this is. Townsend Leather, Terry Kucel designing this space and then making it a reality directly to benefit everybody in the city. That’s a very rare thing, it’s the height of citizenship, so thank you Terry.”

Kucel then thanked the employees of Townsend Leather for their part in the project and the leadership team who were on hand for the presentation.

“If they weren’t doing what they’re doing, the money wouldn’t be available,” Kucel said.

He went on to thank all those who were involved in the renovation of Wandel Park including the DPW employees, noting that the park was originally dedicated to a DPW employee, Milton Wandel.

“I think it is deserving to suggest that this park is a commemoration to all the DPW employees and a thank you to the current DPW employees,” Kucel said. “I give a special thank you to Dale [Trumbull] and his department for the work they do all year for the city and community of Gloversville.”

Kucel explained that he undertook the project as a way to give back to the city that shaped his and his wife’s life.

“Barb and I were raised in this community,” Kucel said. “Many of our family values were shaped by the examples of hardworking families in Gloversville.”

He noted that he has an office downtown in Schine Memorial Hall and pointed to the city as providing for his family’s basic needs along with many Townsend Leather employees.

“Of the 160 working partners at Townsend, 40 live within the city limits of Gloversville. Gloversville provides police and fire protection, transportation, infrastructure and public safety, water and sewer, access to healthcare and education, all the necessary elements,” Kucel said.

Kucel said he hopes residents in and around the city will enjoy the park that he wanted to improve as a way to show his gratitude.

“It’s a thank you for helping educate and raise two kids who traveled the world but decided to come back and stay in Gloversville,” Kucel said.