OSWEGO — Lakeside Park, the only city-owned property that provides access to Lake Ontario, is now complete, with city officials holding a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday to mark the opening of the waterfront park.
Public access to Lake Ontario on the Port City’s east side has long been limited, and earlier this year the city announced plans to revamp a vacant, city-owned parcel at the north end of East 10 ½ Street. The more than 3-acre park, which was constructed in-house by the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW), includes ample parking, a pavilion, volleyball pit and a launch for small watercraft.
“Lakeside Park will be a beautiful spot for our residents on the east side to have easy access to the waterfront,” Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said earlier this summer, noting the city transformed an underutilized waterfront property into an “attractive space for residents to interact even more with our waterfront.”
Barlow on Tuesday said the Lakeside Park makes “wonderful use” of the city’s limited east side waterfront, and converted a gravel driveway to a welcoming public area.
“We’re continuing to create more public amenities and attractions throughout the Oswego community and Lakeside Park is the first of many projects to come as we transform our waterfront,” Barlow said.
Construction on the project started in June and was largely completed by early August. The city plans to add lighting to the area and install electrical service in the park in the near future.
Barlow said the park was made possible through a $100,000 grant secured by state Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Huevelton, who attended Tuesday’s ribbon cutting. Ritchie commended the city, and particularly the DPW, for a job well done, adding “all you have to do is look at” the completed park “to want to come back with your family.”
“With the new Lakeside Park, the city of Oswego has taken a gravel lot and transformed it into something that can be used by children, families and individuals for many years to come,” Ritchie said, adding she’s happy to have been able to support the project.
First announced in Barlow’s State of the City Address in March, the mayor said the city was looking to form the then-unnamed park to expand on the waterfront improvements at Wright’s Landing Marina and Breitbeck Park. The Lakeside Park lot was once a dirt drive that provided public access to the lake, but the parcel saw little use, as it was simply a parking lot with no amenities or attractions.
The East 10 ½ Street site is the only city-owned waterfront property on the east side of the Oswego River outside the wastewater treatment facility, officials have said, making it all the more valuable.
Councilor Shawn Burridge, R-2nd Ward, who represents the area in which the proposed park is located, said earlier this year he pushed for the creation of the park to turn what was essentially a vacant lot “into something pretty nice” that the community can use. Burridge said the waterfront is one of Oswego’s best features and noted the east side could use the added access and beautification project.
In a statement Tuesday, Burridge called the park a wonderful addition to and “a huge win for” the Second Ward and east side.
“Our new park gives the public easy access to the water and creates a great new place for east side residents to go check out the water, watch the sunset and have a good time,” Burridge said.
City residents have already started to utilize the park to launch kayaks and have picnics under the pavilion, which was relocated from Wright’s Landing Marina to make way for the forthcoming upgrades to that waterfront facility.
DPW Commissioner Tom Kells said the park took city crews about three weeks total to complete, though the work was spread out over the course of the summer due to other obligations. Kells commended the DPW employees for a job well done, and said the department is proud of the final product.