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Centennial Park

Health Department seeking information on dog that bit person in Centennial Park

By Press Release

Press release:

The Genesee County Health Department is seeking information about the location of a dog and its owner following a dog bite incident on Monday, April 1. The incident occurred at Centennial Park (151 State Street) in Batavia, NY. 

The owner was a middle-aged male with a reddish beard and black glasses. The dog involved in the incident was described as a black and tan German Shepard with a harness that was running loose in the park.   

The health department would like to locate the dog as soon as possible to confirm that it is healthy. This would indicate that the rabies virus would not have been transmitted at the time of the bite. 

If you have information about the location of the dog and its owner, please contact the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580 ext. 5555.

Photo: Monday's Golden Easter Egg found in Centennial Park

By Howard B. Owens
easter egg find jasper thomas
Submitted photo

Jasper Thomas found the Kiwanis Golden Easter Egg in Centennial Park on Monday, with a prize certificate in it for a chocolate Easter bunny from Oliver's Candies.

The Batavia Kiwanis Club is hiding a golden egg daily through Thursday. The ticket can be redeemed at the club's annual Easter Egg Hunt in Centennial Park at 9 a.m. sharp on Saturday.

Photos: Two more golden Easter eggs found at Centennial Park

By Howard B. Owens
kiwanis golden easter egg
Killian Henry with the golden Easter egg he found in Centennial Park on Saturday.
Submitted photo.

The hunt for gold Easter eggs hidden in Centennial Park in Batavia continues, with eggs found on Saturday and Sunday.

The Batavia Kiwanis Club is hiding a golden egg daily through Thursday. The egg contains a prize ticket for a large chocolate bunny from Oliver's Candies. The ticket can be redeemed at the club's annual Easter Egg Hunt in Centennial Park at 9 a.m. sharp on Saturday.

kiwanis golden easter egg
Ivan and Clifford Heddy with the golden Easter Egg they found in Centennial Park on Sunday.
Submitted photo.

Photo: First Kiwanis golden Easter egg of 2024 found in Centennial Park

By Howard B. Owens
kiwanis golden easter egg
The first golden Easter egg of the season hidden by the Kiwanis Club of Batavia in Centennial Park was found on Friday by Aria and Mila Solis. Matt Landers said the egg for Saturday was hidden around 10 a.m. The annual Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt will be at 9 a.m. sharp on Saturday in Centennial Park, Batavia.
Submitted Photo

Kiwanis sets Easter egg hunt for March 30 at Centennial Park

By Press Release

Press Release:

With Easter around the corner, it's once again time for the Annual Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 30 at 9 a.m. sharp. The event will take place at Centennial Park with three age categories birth-3, 4-7, and 8-10.  

Along with the thousands of eggs hiding in the park, there will be nine golden eggs, three in each age group. The nine lucky children who discover the golden eggs will be able to exchange them for a chocolate bunny from Oliver’s Candies.

There will also be one golden egg hidden each day in Centennial Park beginning on Friday, March 22 through Thursday, March 28. The golden eggs will be hidden at different times each day to allow families with different schedules to search and have an equal chance of finding them. 

The golden eggs are restricted to kids aged 12 and under, although older siblings and family members can help search! The winning golden eggs must be turned in at the Easter Egg Hunt on March 30 to receive an Oliver's Candies chocolate bunny.

The club is asking those who find golden eggs prior to the Easter Egg Hunt, to please send pictures to the Kiwanis Club of Batavia Facebook page at 

Kiwanis Club of Batavia is proud to offer fun, healthy family activities that serve children in our community. For more information, visit the club’s Facebook page. The club meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday at 12:10 p.m. at TF Brown’s and welcomes new members.

Photo: First snowman of the season

By Howard B. Owens
first snowman of the season
Tristine Vanice submitted this photo from Thursday of a group of kids in Centennial Park in Batavia and their first snowman of the season.

Thursday's GLOW Corporate Cup expected to push cumulative donations to more than $200K for YMCA

By Howard B. Owens
GLOW cup steve tufts
GLOW Corporate Cup organizer Steve Tufts last week with the Corporate Cup at the official Genesee County Fair's Media Center.
Photo by Howard Owens.

When the runners take the line today for the 10th GLOW Corporate Cup at Centennial Park Thursday evening, at least a dozen of the participants will share the rare distinction of being the only ones to take to the track every year of the event.

That will make them part of a fundraiser that will surpass this year's $200,000 in cumulative donations to the GLOW YMCA since 2014.

Close to 800 runners and walkers are expected to complete the 5K track, said race organizer Steve Tufts.

Tufts has organized the race since the first year, because Merrill Lynch office partner John Riter approached him about organizing a corporate challenge style 5K more than a decade ago.  Riter came to Tufts because Tufts had experience laying out courses and ensuring they obtain 5K certification.

"The thing that makes the GLOW Cup unique is we entertain people," Tufts said. "We bring live music. This year it's Groove, a local band, and it's always a local band, and most of the teams bring their own food, have it catered, or cook right on site. It's like a corporate picnic built right into Centennial Park."

A twist this year to the race is the "couples challenge," or as it's known at the Corporate Cup, the "CUPles Challenge." The three married couples with the lowest cumulative times will win prizes, with a random drawing prize that all couples, regardless of time, are eligible to win.

Tufts said some smaller companies now use the Corporate Cup as their company's annual picnic, saving the expense of doing a separate event. One local company used to set up their own horseshoe pits each year.

"It's different things to different people," Tufts told The Batavian last week while visiting the Media Center at the Genesee County Fair. "But I think the thing that makes it successful is it's the GLOW region, and people do enjoy a night where they're not heading all the way over to the Rochester or Buffalo areas. This is in our back yard. From a runner's perspective, people do like the course because it's super fast. It is accurate. It's a certified course, which means it's an accurate distance, but it's not eligible for World Records, I'm sorry to say, because it's got a little bit too much down elevation for the distance. That is because we start out by the Blind School, and it goes down the hill down to Northside Deli and then turns left, and then it's pretty flat after that. So, just a little bit too much down for USA Track and Field Conference."

The certification expires in 2024, so Tufts plans to alter the course to start closer to State Street and end the race further up Ellicott Avenue, which should solve the elevation problem, just in case anybody wants to try and set a world record for his or age bracket.

Merrill Lynch chose the GLOW YMCA because the Y, like the Batavia Merrill Lynch office, serves the entire GLOW region.

The bonus is, the Y comes with a built-in set of volunteers.

"Right now, I'd say I wouldn't want it any other way," Tufts said. "I'm not sure how long I would get 70 people out on my course keeping people safe (without the Y). So it's been a great partnership."

Corporate sponsors help cover event expenses, which ensures all of the $25 entry fees go to the Y, Tufts said. Because of corporate sponsors, the organizers have been able to maintain the $25 entry fee, so it remains affordable for small businesses and individuals.

In the first year of the race, Tufts said they were expecting about 350 participants. They had more than 400.  It went up every year until more than 800 in 2019, the last race before the pandemic. There was no race in 2020, and in 2021 numbers were down.  In 2021, there were more than 700 again, but Tufts doesn't expect to exceed 800 this year because race participation across the nation, he said, is down since the pandemic.

The event has drawn a lot of sponsor support this year, and with anticipated participation from runners and walkers, Tufts expects to raise more than $25,000 for the Y this year, stopping the 2019 record of $23,005.

Last year was the second-best year at $22,963.

Going into this year, the cumulative total was nearly $180,000 raised.

The race starts at 6 p.m. today (Thursday).

Photos: Batavia Concert Band Cadets return to live performance at Centennial Park

By Howard B. Owens
batavia concert band cadets 2023

After a couple of years' absence, the result of COVID-19 disruptions, the Batavia Concert Band's Cadets Band returned to a concert band's Centennial Park performance on Wednesday.

The cadets are elementary and middle school music students from Genesee and Orleans counties, directed by Lindsey Fix, a music teacher in Albion.

The cadets performed two numbers before intermission and then joined the concert band for a number later in the show.

"They're part of the concert band," said Jason Smith. "They rehearse. They practiced last night. They're a junior concert band, so to speak."

The cadets will join the Batavia Concert Band for a concert in the park again later this summer.

Through the summer months, the Batavia Concert Band performs each Wednesday evening, starting at 7 p.m. in Centennial Park.

Photos by Howard Owens.

batavia concert band cadets 2023
batavia concert band cadets 2023
batavia concert band cadets 2023
batavia concert band cadets 2023
batavia concert band cadets 2023
On the second piece of the evening, written for flugelhorn, Brandon Luce was the featured soloist, 
Photo by Howard Owens.

Batavia Concert Band gives nod of appreciation, tribute, plenty of music during opening night

By Joanne Beck
Batavia Concert Band opens it's 99th season July 28th in Centennial Park.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band opens its 99th season Wednesday in Centennial Park. The free seven-week series is at 7 p.m. Wednesdays through the summer.
Photo by Steve Ognibene

Centennial Park came alive again Wednesday with the sounds of Batavia Concert Band's music in its 99th season, and the evening included a recognition of GO ART!'s support, and a tribute to former music teachers Neil and Nancy Hartwick, who left indelible notes on the hearts of many former music students from the city school district.

Batavia Concert Band presented GO ART! with the Friend of the Band Award for giving a grant of $5,000 that will be used for equipment, licensing music, chairs, sound, and percussion instruments, band leader Jason Smith said. 

Neil Hartwick was a prominent presence at the Batavia City School District, and Nancy taught mostly at Attica and at times in Batavia, while both were adored and respected for their talent roles as musical leaders in the community, band member and tuba player Peter Mark said.

“They were both wonderful people. She was a flutist, and Neil was clarinet and saxophone. Back in high school, I had him during my years in 1970 and ’71. I was out by then, but he had an excellent jazz band and he and the Sertoma Club, along about the early 70s, somewhere in there, were the ones that formed the Batavia Pageant of Bands.

"So if you're familiar with that era, you may remember the Memorial Day weekend with all of these bands from all over the area coming down and marching through the streets and having a great time,” Mark said. “Neil and Nancy were both really close to their students. And most of us that came through a program with Neil or Nancy just remember they were wonderful friends. They were more than just teachers, more than just the average teacher. They were friends with all of their students. We had a great time with them.”

When Neil died in 2017, Nancy asked that a Memorial Fund be established to benefit Batavia Concert Band, and memorials have gone to the fund ever since. Earlier this year, Nancy died in January, and the fund was renamed the Neil and Nancy Hartwick Memorial Fund, and their wish was to support the concert band via memorial contributions, Mark said.

“We've named the fund the Neil and Nancy Hartwick fund in honor of both of them," Mark said. "And former students contribute to that fund that we pay, we have other people as well, of course, and to keeping their legacy going.”

The concert band will play a  seven-week free series at Centennial Park at 7 p.m. every Wednesday through the summer.  

To donate, please make your check payable to: The Batavia Concert Band, and Mail to: Batavia Concert Band, PO Box 1705, Batavia, NY, 14021-1705. On the bottom of your check, please indicate the name Nancy Hartwick. Or those with a Venmo account, send to @bataviaconcertband.

To view or purchase prints, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

Batavia Concert Band flutes. Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band flutes. 
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band tubists. Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band tubists. 
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band trumpets. Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band trombones. 
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band brass horns. Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band brass horns. 
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band has over 100 turnout for opening night. Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band performs for more than 100 people during opening night on Wednesday in Centennial Park in Batavia. 
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band conductor John Bailey led the concert. Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band conductor John Bailey leads the concert. 
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band music followers enjoy a wednesday evening in centennial park.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Batavia Concert Band music patrons enjoy a Wednesday evening in Centennial Park. 
Photo by Steve Ognibene

Newly dubbed race director enjoying retirement, encourages Kiwanis 5K registration

By Joanne Beck
2019 Kiwanis 5K
2019 File Photo of Batavia Kiwanis Independence Day 5K, by Steve Ognibene.

As commander of the Le Roy Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post, grandpa to two grandchildren, an avid golfer, and Kiwanis Club president and race chairman, Dave Rumsey’s retirement hasn’t exactly been idle.

But leaving his post as commissioner of the Wyoming County Social Services for 17.5 years, followed by commissioner at Genesee County for another five years, has given him plenty of opportunity to “catch up doing things I didn’t have time to do,” he says.

Add to the list his role as race director for Batavia Kiwanis Club's annual Independence Day 5K. He looks forward to increasing participation to at least last year's numbers for the event on July 4. 

"We hope to get at least 117, as of today we're up to 35. They keep going up by about 10," he said to The Batavian Thursday.

The Stafford native and Le Roy High School grad went to serve in the U.S. Navy for 20 years before returning to this area, where he has remained to build his career. 

Carla Mindler filled the vacancy, and faces the same challenges that Rumsey did for those two decades: a shortage of affordable housing, healthcare issues, “they just keep continuing on,” he said.

“Nothing really major, the same stuff, a different day,” he said to The Batavian. “The staff is wonderful, they provide a valuable service to the county.”

Law Day Awards with Det. Jason Ivison, Chief Shawn Heubusch, Kiwanis President Dave Rumsey
2023 File Photo of Batavia Kiwanis President Dave Rumsey, far right, performing his duties, with Batavia City Police Detective Jason Ivison, left, and Chief Shawn Heubusch, by Howard Owens.

Once he was in as president of Batavia Kiwanis Club, serving as race director last year wasn’t that much of a stretch, he said. “It’s a two-fer.”

The club struggled during COVID’s pandemic protocols, offering a virtual 5K in place of its regular in-person race throughout the city on the Fourth of July. That didn’t go so well, he said. But members rallied, and last year they secured 117 participants for the annual  race.

“And we’re off and running,” he said, no pun intended.

People are trickling in to register for this year’s event, with about 35 signed up so far. However, Rumsey and former race director Dave Chua know that’s always par for the race course, they said: runners often wait til the last moments to decide, check out the weather, feel that runner’s energy, and go for it.

Are you ready? A gun start is at 9 a.m. July 4 on Richmond Avenue, at the top of Centennial Park in front of the state School for the Blind. Prizes will go to the top first and second male and female runners, while proceeds are going to worthy causes.

As usual, the proceeds will be divvied into thirds, and this year’s recipients are the Books For Babies program, Batavia City School District’s Foundation, and Kiwanis Club’s various children’s organizations.

The city school Foundation's donation "directly impacts our Batavia Community Schools' Heart of Kindness Center," Community Schools Coordinator Julia Rogers said.

"The Center (formerly Community Closet) is supported through donations to the BCSD Foundation, Inc. The portion of proceeds we receive from the Kiwanis 5K will go towards food items and paper products which we order for our food pantry through FoodLink NY in Rochester," Rogers said.

For the price of $25, you can get some early exercise, a race T-shirt, fresh air, camaraderie, help benefit at least three charities, and then enjoy the rest of the holiday. The 5K is for runners and walkers alike. 

As for Rumsey, he used to be a runner, but his knees have given way to walking at this stage in life, he said.

After the race, he will enjoy some time with family at a lake get-together. As a veteran, he is well aware that the Fourth of July is about “Independence Day.”

“It’s a day that the way we live and how we live is because of what our forefathers did,” he said. “We’re an independent country.”

To register and for more details, go to Kiwanis Independence Day 5K

UMMC's Lemonade Stand helps support patients, teaches children community care

By Howard B. Owens
lemonade stand

The UMMC/RRH Lemonade Stand, after a successful debut last summer, was back at Centennial Park on Thursday, this time with live music.

One reason to bring it back, said Lori Aratari, senior development officer for UMMC, was that last year's event raised $15,000, which was double the amount anticipated.

That's great, but really, it really is about the kids.

"That's the biggest thing," Aratari said. "We're getting kids involved in philanthropy at a young age and showing them the importance of giving back and especially supporting health care in our community."

This year, donations to the event will be used to assist patients dealing with congestive heart failure.

"We're going to be able to purchase these kits. They're $60 each, and these kits have some tools that patients can use to help keep them out of the hospital," Aratari said. "The tools include a digital scale and a blood pressure machine that's digital. So being able to give them the tools will help keep them home and keep them healthier."

There were 260 patients who came through UMMC in the past year to be treated for congestive heart failure. 

"If we can get every one of them a kit, that would be wonderful," Aratari said. "Every dollar we raise will stay here and will allow us to buy those kits."

Photos by Howard Owens.

lemonade stand
lemonade stand
lemonade stand
lemonade stand
lemonade stand
lemonade stand
lemonade stand

Kiwanis Easter Hunt returns to Centennial Park on April 8

By Press Release


Press release:

Families in the Batavia area are invited to attend the annual Kiwanis Club of Batavia Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 8 at 9 AM sharp.  The event will take place at Centennial Park with three age categories: birth-3, 4-7 and 8-10.  Along with the thousands of eggs hiding in the park, there will be nine golden eggs.  The nine lucky children who discover the golden eggs will be able to exchange them for a chocolate bunny from Oliver’s Candies.

There will also be one golden egg hidden each day in Centennial Park beginning on Saturday, April 1 through Thursday, April 6.  The golden eggs will be hidden at different times each day to allow for families with different schedules to search and have an equal chance of finding them. The golden eggs are restricted to kids age 12 and under, although older siblings and family members can help search!  The winning golden eggs must be turned in at the Easter Egg Hunt on April 8th to receive an Oliver's Candies chocolate bunny.

The club is asking those who find golden eggs prior to the Easter Egg Hunt, please send pictures to the Kiwanis Club of Batavia Facebook page at

Kiwanis Club of Batavia is proud to offer fun, healthy family activities that serve children in our community.  For more information, visit the club’s Facebook page or their website at  The club meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday at 12:10 at Batavia’s Original Pizza and welcomes new members.

Plans are great, but without funding they may collect a little dust

By Joanne Beck


Resiliency is a great attribute for anyone or any place, however, there’s a difference between concept and reality.

New York State and Genesee County officials announced this week a plan to boost the county and its multiple municipalities, including the city’s Centennial Park, with a 454-page resiliency plan. The three-phase strategy for Centennial Park is estimated to cost more than $300,00 once fully completed, plus ongoing maintenance.

“Like with all planning documents, funding is key,” City Manager Rachael Tabelski said. “Otherwise, they sit on a shelf and collect dust.”

The Batavian asked Tabelski about details for the plan, which was unveiled by the state and nonprofit NY Green, and paid for with a $250,000 grant, this week at the base of Centennial Park.

City officials were present but not part of the news conference, though “we did provide information to the consultants about the flood plain and gave permission to Genesee County Planning for the Centennial Park proposed concept, with input from the parkside neighborhood,” Tabelski said.

The proposed concept is a lofty one, aiming to tear out 60 trees, mostly silver maples, and plant 400 new trees and shrubs of more compatible species for a warming environment. Depending on the species, it can take new trees from 15 to 30 years to fully mature.

State Deputy Secretary Kisha Santiago-Martinez said the plan presents a “comprehensive, holistic approach to addressing and preparing for the many challenges we confront in the face of more frequent and severe storm events.”

“By developing and implementing this plan, you are proactively helping to ensure that the county, its municipalities, residents and businesses are better prepared to confront and recover from natural disasters,” she said.

The plan for Centennial, situated in the heart of the city between Ellicott Avenue and State Street, also calls for regrooved pathways and raking autumn leaves up around trees instead of mulching them with a mower. The idea was to reinforce the historic patterns of the park through the use of vegetation, pathways and tree species more akin to this area able to withstand future warming, said David Beatty, an integrally involved Batavia resident who was on the committee to flesh out a park plan.

While Tabelski had no critiques of the plan itself, it comes down to the question, as with most everything: how is it going to be paid for?


Back up to about six years ago, when former City Manager Jason Molino led the formation of a City of Batavia Tree Master Plan in 2017. Consultant Urban Forest Analytics LLC performed the study after several meetings with Public Works, the Bureau of Maintenance, and parks staff. Extensive fieldwork was completed to identify and locate trees as part of the master plan, then-DPW Director Matt Worth said in a memo to Molino.

It was a project of years in the making that included training for proper tree care techniques, risk assessments, maintaining a database, detailed forecasts and strategies, Worth had said.

That plan is followed as funding allows each year for tree removal, planting and pruning throughout the city, including in parks, Tabelski said.

“Trees are an integral part of our city landscape, and fabric of our neighborhoods, not to mention the positive emotional and recreation enhancement trees offer,” she said. “Over the past several years, I have fielded more requests for increased tree planting than any other single request from citizens of the city.”

Highlights of the Tree Master Plan include:

  • The number of street trees could increase by 50 percent
  • 7 percent of street trees are ash and need to come down (250 trees)
  • 15 percent of park trees are in poor condition 
  • 8 percent of park trees are ash and need to come down (54 trees)
  • 38 percent of Batavia has canopy cover

Even though this week’s debuted plan may have seemed to be a given, it is not a mandate, Tabelski said.

“The Genesee County Resiliency Plan includes towns, villages and the city and is purely a road map that communities can choose to follow to make improvements and access grant funds if they so choose,” she said.

As for who will pay for that road map, “the plan that included Centennial Park could be used to apply to grant funds for tree removal and planting, along with the city’s Tree Management Plan.”

“It is a tool to help make informed decisions,” she said. “It is my understanding that the DEC does, periodically, have these types of grants available.  The other options are fundraising in the community, corporate sponsors, or through the city’s operating funds. 

“This is a planning tool that can help City Council and City Management make future decisions, just like the Tree Management Plan,” she said.  “We consult these plans during grant review and budgeting.”

This year’s pending 2023-24 budget for the City of Batavia includes annual tree removal (20 trees) for $26,000, stump removal for $5,500 and tree purchase and replanting (one for one) for $11,600.

 Projected costs of future maintenance, if the park plan is completed per the resiliency plan, have not yet been reviewed or evaluated, Tabelski said.

Go here for prior Resiliency Plan coverage.

File Photos of spring, top, and summer, at Centennial Park in Batavia, by Howard Owens.

Environmental overhaul for Centennial Park announced as part of new 'resiliency plan' for county

By Howard B. Owens


Centennial Park isn't what it once was, and a new plan unveiled at a press conference Monday aims to restore some of its previous features and make it more environmentally compatible with a changing climate.

Some 60 trees, out of about 200 trees, will be removed -- mostly silver maples -- and another 400 trees and shrubs of various species (all native to the region but also compatible with a warming environment) will be planted over the next five years, with one of the main features of the original park being restored: grass footpaths.

The plan is part of a state-driven initiative for communities to create resiliency plans.  The changes at Centennial Park are just one aspect of the countywide initiative. 

Kisha Santiago-Martinez

"This plan presents a comprehensive, holistic approach to addressing and preparing for the many challenges we confront in the face of more frequent and severe storm events," said Deputy Secretary of State Kisha Santiago-Martinez. "By developing and implementing this plan, you are proactively helping to ensure that the county, its municipalities, residents and businesses are better prepared to confront and recover from natural disasters."

The draft plan for the park states that it "addresses the role of the park in the ecological network and calls for action in these areas of concern: urban heat island effects, public health, mitigation of storm-water runoff, biodiversity and climate change."

The Centennial Park plan calls for the creation in the park of resilient habitats through the introduction of climate-adaptive native plant communities.

Plants will be selected to provide a tree canopy along with under-canopy tree species, as well as shrub species that support pollinators and wildlife. 

The history of Centennial Park -- at one time known as State Park because of its affiliation with the New York State School for the Blind -- goes back to the 1880s, when Asa Lord, the first superintendent of the school, spearheaded the effort to create a green space with walking paths, ponds, trees, flowerbeds, a bandstand and a gazebo.

The park was deeded to the City of Batavia in 1969.

Over time, many of the features of the park disappeared -- the ponds, the flowerbeds, the bandstand, and the gazebo, and unless you knew where to look, there's little trace of the former walking paths.

David Beatty, a Batavia resident who served on the committee that helped develop the plan for Centennial Park, said there has been a real effort in the plan to both preserve the history of the park and enhance its enjoyment for community members who visit it as the city's primary open green space.

"We'll be removing a lot of trees, but the trees that remain, though, they'll blend in with our new plan," Beatty said. "It's really species driven, ecologically driven. The idea was to reinforce the old historic patterns with the pathway patterns by the vegetation, the trees."

The paths will be grass but maintained so that they're clearly visible.

"It is a key design element to remain with grass," Beatty said. "The idea is to use the maintenance crew, in the summers, to keep the path mowed, so the grass in the paths will be shorter and let the park be visible, let the park grow. Don't mow it. Manage it."

As part of the plan, one of the things that will change is the removal of the golden, red, and orange leaves that fall into the ground in October and November.

The report states:

Rake (or blow) fallen leaves around tree groups to create a mulch bed. Do not mulch fallen leaves with the mower, as this will destroy Lepidoptera eggs laid on the underside of tree leaves (primarily oak leaves). Leaf litter also provides shelter for overwintering adult Lepidoptera and caterpillars in diapause Additionally, leaf litter helps to retain soil moisture and recycles nutrients to the soil. 

County Legislator Marianne Clattenburg noted during her remarks at the press conference that Centennial Park has served in recent years as a hub of community events. At one time, it hosted Picnic in the Park. It continues to host the GLOW Corporate Cup, performances by Batavia Concert Band, a recent Lemonade Stand fundraiser as well as the first pine box derby in the community in decades.  There is also the annual Kiwanis Easter Egg hunt in the park.

"As you can see, Centennial Park is a beautiful resource, but it is also the hub of community gatherings," Clattenburg said. "Resiliency plans such as this are tremendously important, as we recognize the need to plan for the future in order to preserve the treasures of the past."

Beatty said preserving space for community events was a specific point of discussion by the committee.

The problem might be parking.

When there are large events at Centennial Park, attendees tend to park their cars on the grass along Park Avenue even though the entire area is posted "no parking."  

And it's important, Beatty said, that people don't park on the grass because the cars compact the soil, damaging the root systems of the trees and shrubs.

"There will be an effort to change the parking patterns," Beatty said. "The city is going to need to figure that out."

There will also be a cinder path along Park Avenue, as there is now along Richmond Avenue, part of the re-imagined park. That will discourage parking along Park Avenue, Beatty suggested.

To fund the multi-year study and plan development, Genesee County partnered with the non-profit New York Green. The plan was also funded with a $250,000 grant from the NYS Department of State Smart Growth Program.

Click here for a 44-page PDF of the Centennial Park plan. It contains details on the three phases of tree planting and what plants are being considered for the park as well as historical, current, and projected maps of the park.  You can view in more detail the map reproduced as an illustration at the top of this story, which shows what planners anticipate the park will look like when completed.

NY Green has also created a website dedicated to Genesee County's resiliency plan, which goes well beyond Centennial Park.  There you will find a link to the full 454-page report. The 454-page report cites a number of "news" interviews with local elected officials as source material.  The un-bylined "articles" appear on images of paper for a seemingly non-existent news publication, "Changing Times."

A press release from the Department of State about the county's resiliency plan lists these objectives:

1. Flood Management/Emergency Preparedness Strategies:

  • Increased communication to residents in flood-prone areas of hazards/risks from weather;
  •  Increased inter-municipal cooperation and coordination for warnings;
  • Repurposing of acquired flood-prone properties for conservation or recreation; and
  • Implementation of flood protection measures.

2. Land Conservation/Water Quality Protection Strategies:

  • Implementation of Green Genesee Road Map; protection of riparian land buffers;
  • Obtaining development rights to high-quality farmland;
  • Increased agricultural Best Management Practices; and
  • Proper management of large-scale solar and related battery storage projects.

Resilient Infrastructure Strategies:

  • Usage of green stormwater infrastructure and renewable energy sources;
  • Accommodation of sizing for culverts for volume and waterway functionality;
  • Expansion of tree planting and maintenance;
  • Enhanced water supply infrastructure; and
  • Protection of power during severe weather.

4. Community Capacity/Public Education Strategies:

  • Preparation of a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan for the Tonawanda Creek area;
  • Education on the incorporation of green infrastructure for municipalities and communities;
  • Public information on invasive species reduction;
  • Native plant use; and
  • Promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency. 


Marianne Clattenburg speaking.


Mark Masse, senior vice president of operations for GCEDC, said among the things businesses looking to locate operations in Genesee County ask about are quality of life issues for employees and what is local government doing to promote environmentally sustainable development.

"Those two questions have taken on a greater significance and importance in today's site selection processes as companies emphasize the well-being of their employees as well as the environment," Masse said. "That is why the GCEDC works so closely with the Genesee County Planning Department and other county and local government agencies on green infrastructure plans, site plan layouts and smart growth principles. The countywide resiliency plan unveiled today looks at preserving public spaces for people to enjoy while also preserving and protecting our water supply and identifying projects to help with the overall environmental quality of our community."


Shelley Stein, chair of the Genesee County Legislature, said, "The resiliency of our valuable land in our natural resources is a hallmark of Genesee County and our dedication to land use planning, and especially as an agricultural community. For instance, one of the goals of Genesee County's smart growth plan is to protect farmland and the rural character of our countryside and maintain the viability of our agriculture. By engaging all sectors of land use planning, desired outcomes and local government partners, including the City of Batavia. It has brought forward a well-thought-out, environmentally sensitive and achievable resiliency plan."

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