Lake Ontario State Parkway on Latest Five to Revive

By on October 31, 2016

The Lake Ontario State Parkway has gotten much attention recently due to its deteriorating condition, and now the Landmark Society of Western New York has turned its focus on the the 35-mile long parkway, which runs along the southern shore of Lake Ontario in Monroe and Orleans Counties. The Landmark Society recently included the Parkway on its 2016 Five to Revive list.

“This is 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,” Executive Director Wayne Goodman said October 19.

“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.

According to the Landmark Society, the Parkway is officially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.  It is one of only two state parkways built in Western New York.

Construction on the Parkway began in the late 1940s and the Landmark Society says it is architecturally significant as a designed historic landscape in the tradition of earlier parkways in New York State. It features, “a picturesque curving route, rustic sandstone bridges and buildings, and park-like landscaping offering scenic views of Lake Ontario and the surrounding countryside,” a news release from the Landmark Society states.

The sandstone bridges and culverts along the Parkway are constructed from Medina sandstone quarried locally in Clarendon.

Orleans County Legislator Ken DeRoller, who has worked to get the state to make needed repairs to the 12.7 mile section of the Parkway from Hamlin Beach west to Lakeside Beach Park in Carlton, says he is, “excited by the opportunity,” the Five to Revive designation offers.

“It’s more than a road,” DeRoller observes.  The Parkway, “can drive economic development … and provide motorists with scenic views.”

Wayne Goodman agrees with DeRoller. Designation on the Five to Revive list has proven to be an effective element of revitalizing aging historic structures around the area, he explains.

“Each year, the Landmark Society works closely on these priorities with owners, municipal officials and developers to facilitate investment and foster rehabilitation,” Wayne Goodman said.  “The ultimate goal is to return these important historic resources to a place of prominence in their respective communities, as economic and social assets that spark even more investment and revitalization.”

The Eastman Dental Dispensary in Rochester, one of the original Five to Revive, was recently converted to senior housing, and the warehouse on the Erie Canal at 60 Clinton Street in Brockport – which made the 2014 Five to Revive list – is on its way to restoration. It was announced recently that the structure is being purchased by the owners of the Stoneyard Brewing Co. who plan to develop the site into a small beer-themed inn.

The old Holley High School in Holley made the original list in 2013 and developers are currently working to take ownership of that property and put financing in place to convert it to senior housing and Village of Holley offices.

Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty said designation on the Five to Revive list can make a big difference. “We have seen what the designation can do,” he said.

In addition to the Lake Ontario State Parkway, the 2016 Five to Revive include the former Rochester Brewing Company complex in Rochester, The Downtown Perry Block of commercial buildings in the Village of Perry, Dove Block in the City of Geneva and the Traditional Trades – professionals trained in the skills of carpentry, masonry, stained/decorative glass, painting, roof repair, metalwork, and window restoration – who can rehabilitate historic buildings correctly.