YONKERS (CBSNewYork) – Major renovations at a popular Westchester garden have turned the attraction into one of the area’s hidden gems.

Cynthia Zak says Untermyer Gardens in Yonkers brings back happy memories. “My mom used to bring me here 40 years ago in a stroller and push me around when I was born,” the Hastings on Hudson resident said.

Zak showed off the Persian garden to a friend, days after the free city space repaired and restored the venue’s water canals.

“This has really impressed me. It’s just so unbelievable,” Nader Soliman said.

Garden organizers raised $500,000 in private donations to fund the nine-month project. They tell CBS2’s Cindy Hsu the plumbing was 100 years old and pipes were leaking all over.

“We ripped out the plumbing. We ripped out the concrete, rebuilt the bridges, put in a new lining, and basically re-built the whole thing,” Untermyer gardens conservancy president, Stephen Byrns explained.

This is only phase one of an extensive face lift.

Organizers are turning to the city and state to fund the rest of the project. They’ll need $2.5 million to recondition the swimming pool and also fix the “temple of the sky” – something visitors hope to see happen.

“I think it’s awesome. Continue to do so. Put the tax dollars to use on things like this,” Patricia Bardaghawi of Yonkers said.