Landmark Society calls Parkway a top preservation priority
ROCHESTER – The five top preservation priorities in the region for the Landmark Society of Western New York includes the Lake Ontario State Parkway, a road which residents and elected officials have tried to draw attention to due to deteriorating conditions in recent years.
Photos by Tom Rivers: The Lake Ontario State Parkway has two westbound and eastbound lanes. The road is bumpy in spots with cracks and pockmarks, especially just across the Orleans County line in Hamlin. Many of the off-ramps are in bad shape.
The Landmark Society announced its annual list of “Five to Revive.” The group has picked five priorities each year since 2013.
It has previously named the old Holley High School (2013) and Hillside Cemetery and Chapel in Clarendon (2014) to the list. That designation has drawn interest from a developer for the old school in Holley and grant funds for the chapel at Hillside.
The Parkway is 35 miles long, including 12.7 miles into Orleans County. The road ends near the Lakeside Beach State Park in Carlton. The Parkway includes bridges that go over the Oak Orchard River
The Landmark Society noted the road is one of only two state parkways built in western New York. It was constructed beginning in the late 1940s. It was originally planned by Franklin D. Roosevelt to connect Fort Niagara to the Thousand Islands.
“The Lake Ontario State Parkway is architecturally significant as a designed historic landscape in the tradition of earlier parkways in New York State, featuring a picturesque curving route, rustic sandstone bridges and buildings, and park-like landscaping, offering scenic views of Lake Ontario and the surrounding countryside,” the Landmark Society stated.
The bridges over Oak Orchard River were built for the Lake Ontario State Parkway, which ends abruptly 2 miles west of the river.
The organization said the Parkway needs significant investment.
“A part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway, the Parkway could present an opportunity for reuse as a multi-purpose recreational corridor, with road maintenance costs decreased as the Parkway’s use and appeal is diversified to better serve varied groups of users,” the Landmark Society said.
Other sites on the “Five to Revive” include:
- Former Rochester Brewing Company complex, Rochester, NY
- Downtown Perry Block of Commercial Buildings, Village of Perry, Wyoming County
- Dove Block, City of Geneva, Ontario County
- The Traditional Trades
In listing the traditional trades, the Landmark Society said there is a shortage of trained professionals in carpentry, masonry, stained/decorative glass, painting, roof repair, metalwork, and window restoration with historic buildings.
“Without a new generation of craftspeople to take over, we are approaching a crisis level of diminishing resources and knowledge to care for our historic resources,” the Landmark Society stated. “Rehabilitation of historic buildings has increased exponentially during the past several decades, providing employment opportunities for craftspeople who are trained in these specific skills.”
The organization said other communities have developed trade schools and preservation skills programs.
“This the fourth year that The Landmark Society of Western New York is announcing the Five to Revive list to call attention to key properties and priorities for revitalization in western New York,” said Wayne Goodman Executive Director.
“The Five to Revive initiative is proving to be very successful and continues to showcase our ongoing efforts demonstrating that preservation and adaptive reuse are effective strategies for revitalization in Western New York,” said Tom Castelein, Vice-President of Preservation on The Landmark Society Board who chairs the Five to Revive initiative.
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