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Centennial Park

Kiwanis Easter Hunt returns to Centennial Park on April 8

By Press Release
Mar 25, 2023, 4:45pm

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
Mar 10, 2023, 8:10am

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
Mar 7, 2023, 7:30am

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."

Photos: Batavia Concert Band opens 96th season in Centennial Park

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 23, 2022, 12:26pm

The Batavia Concert Band opened its 96th season on a perfect evening in Centennial Park on Wednesday with a tribute to long-time member Bob Knipe and a thank you to its 2022 sponsors, including (but not limited to) GO ART!, Brighton Securities, WBTA, and the Batavia Rotary Club.

Upcoming concerts are at 7 p.m. on July 27, July 6, July 13, July 20, July 27, and Aug. 6.

The July 3 concert will feature soloist Dave Hollenbeck, as part of the Pam Frisby Memorial Concert Series.  

The July 27 concert will be conducted by Batavia native and resident Joshua Pacino, current music teacher at Notre Dame.

Returning for his ninth season as conductor is John Bailey, Instrumental Music teacher at Pembroke Central School District and the organization is under the leadership of General Manager Jason Smith.

The concerts in the park are free.

Photos: Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt returns to Centennial Park

By Howard B. Owens
Apr 16, 2022, 4:03pm

After a two-year hiatus, the annual Batavia Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt returned this morning to Centennial Park in Batavia. Despite damp and cold conditions a couple of hundred children turned out to hunt for hundreds of eggs, including golden eggs that contained a slip that awarded the finder a giant chocolate bunny from Oliver's Candies.

Health Dept. trying to locate dog that bit person at Centennial Park

By Press Release
Oct 13, 2021, 4:50pm

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 the late morning of Monday, October 11 at Centennial Park in Batavia (near Lincoln Avenue).

The dog is described as a grey pitbull with white markings around its neck, front paws, and left ear. The dog was approximately 55 to 60 pounds and was wearing a camo collar. The dog was NOT accompanied by its owner and was running loose throughout Centennial Park.

It is important to locate the dog to determine whether or not it is current on its rabies shot. If the health status is not identified, post-exposure rabies shots will be offered to the victim.  

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.

Photos: Batavia Concert Band finishes of weather-perfect season with awards

By Howard B. Owens
Aug 5, 2021, 12:45pm

The Batavia Concert Band and its patrons finished the 2020 season with its seventh straight perfect Wednesday evening in Cential Park and presented some of its supporters and musicians with awards.

The Batavia Rotary Club was honored with the band's annual Friend of the Band Award and Dr. Marlin Salmon accepted the award on behalf of the club.

The band also present a donation to Rev. Ivan R. Trujill, Resurrection Parrish, for allowing the band to practice at the church for the past seven weeks.

Scholarships were presented to 

  • Katie Dessert (flute), receiving the Conductor's Choice Award. She starting her senior year at SUNY Fredonia studying Music Education with a concentration in Voice and General Music.  
  • Lydia Geiger, currently majoring in Music Performance in Music Education (on flute) at SUNY Potsdam. 

Photos by Liz Bailey.

Disc golf promoter puts Centennial Park in rear view mirror, now has his sights set on Williams Park

By Mike Pettinella
Jul 23, 2021, 11:24am

City of Batavia resident Phillip Boyd on Thursday said he has shelved his idea of a nine-hole disc golf course at Centennial Park in favor of working with city officials to place one at Williams Park on Pearl Street.

“It’s much larger than I originally thought,” Boyd said after taking a walk around the east and south portions of Williams Park with City Maintenance Supervisor Ray Tourt and City Parks Supervisor Brian Metz yesterday afternoon.

“Our talk went very well and there’s definitely a lot of potential for a nine-hole and we talked about possibly clearing out some of the woods in the right (southwest) corner for an 18 (hole course) in the future.”

Boyd said that he planned to return to the park today with a couple friends to map out a nine-hole course that would start near Pearl Street on the east side and proceed south along the east, southeast and south edges of the park.

He said he is hoping to attract sponsors for each hole to cover the expenses for tee pads, signage and baskets, figuring it would cost around $5,000. He also said he will be submitting his plan for Williams Park to City Manager Rachael Tabelski.

“Yes, I’ll have to do the same thing that I did to try to get Centennial Park; send in my course layout and proposal,” he said.

When asked to comment about the stir he caused with those living around Centennial Park, with many residents of that area rising up in opposition, Boyd said he wants to look ahead.

“Look, we all have our passions. Their passion was for Centennial Park’s history and mine is for disc golf,” he said. “I have no problems with leaving that behind now that there are other options available.”

Boyd also said he is willing to help those seeking to put an 18-hole course at Genesee Community College, and already has received quotes for the necessary equipment for that layout.

Photo: Brian Metz, left, Phillip Boyd and Ray Tourt looking at a map of Williams Park as they explore the possibility of placing a disc golf course at the Pearl Street recreational area. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

You can't fight City Hall? Batavian Boyd pushes on in effort to put nine-hole disc golf course at Centennial Park

By Mike Pettinella
Jul 17, 2021, 3:26pm

Learning that Batavia lawmakers apparently have squashed his vision of placing a disc golf course at Centennial Park is not sitting well with 27-year-old Phillip Boyd, the Hart Street resident who pitched the idea at a City Council meeting in late May.

This past Monday, Council members – responding to complaints from homeowners living near the tree-dominated park in the northwest quadrant of the community – agreed that Centennial Park is “off the table” as a potential location for a nine-hole layout for a sport that has gained in popularity in recent years.

SIDEBAR: Western New York: A Hotbed for Disc Golf

Boyd is an avid disc golfer who competes in a league at courses in the Buffalo/Niagara region and has played at courses closer to home, including one at Hartland Park in Bergen. He said he’s not giving up on his push to have a disc golf course in Batavia and sees the 14-acre parcel across from the New York State School for the Blind as the perfect place.

“I’m definitely going to still try to get it there,” he said on Friday. “The main thing that I’m disappointed in is that the argument that they have is ‘keep it a green park’ when it has never truly been a green park. And, also the idea of the traffic being around there.It’s a park. It’s not busy now and parks are typically busy.”

Boyd said numerous people have told him that Centennial Park is rarely used.

“That’s the thing that should be changed -- to actually use a giant open space, and actually use it in Batavia. We have no activities around here. There’s nothing to do; everyone has to go to Buffalo and Rochester,” he said.

“These smaller towns like Bergen, Pembroke; they can do these, but Batavia can’t. That’s why we’re so far behind and why Batavia is a declining city. We aren’t the true hub of Genesee County. Everyone’s leaving Batavia because there is nothing to do here.”


City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said he and his colleagues do support events and activities, regularly approving requests from community organizations that are submitted to city management and staff.

“There’s a procedure and a process for these types of things and putting in a disc golf course at a city park is no exception,” Jankowski said. “Mr. Boyd was requested by Council to hand over his plans and documents to the city manager (Rachael Tabelski) for review and to get that process started, but he has yet to do so.”

Jankowski said Boyd appeared at two Council meetings, stating his case for disc golf during the public comments session.

“He was asked twice to submit the paperwork to the city manager, but instead he showed up at two City Council meetings and has yet to submit his written plans,” he said.

When this was mentioned to Boyd, he said he intends to hand in the information (sketches and a detailed course layout at Centennial Park) on Monday – July 19th, the deadline that he says he was given by Tabelski.

The Council president said his main issues with Centennial Park are that it has no facilities -- specifically bathrooms and amenities that are available at other city parks -- and that the only parking is along city streets.

“We’re willing to work with Mr. Boyd to find a better place, including working with our partners at neighboring towns and with Genesee County to try to make this happen,” Jankowski offered. “We’re not against disc golf, and are willing to look at other alternatives.”


Boyd said he has walked the other parks in the city and finds that none of them, except maybe Williams Park (depending upon how much land the city owns at that location), would be acceptable.

“The Council president said that Centennial is off the table,” Boyd said. “If he is going to do that for 150 signatures and 12 people who showed up at the (July 12) meeting, that’s a problem. If I come with as much support as I have – a lot more than 150 signatures -- and he is still going to stand with that, then you’re not really being open to the idea of change in Batavia.”

“If Batavia is the hub of Genesee County, the lone city, we should be the one to lead the way for all the towns. Why do so many towns in our area have more activities than the city? There’s no reason for that.”

Boyd said he “feels comfortable with the amount of support he has and it’s building,” noting that he has reached hundreds of people through various social media platforms.

Jankowski questioned Boyd’s petition, which he said is on

“That’s open to anyone in the country,” he said. “How would that have anything to do with people who live here?”


Residents of Ellicott Avenue and Park Place, two of the streets that border Centennial Park, came to last Monday’s meeting and urged Council to keep the park as it is – without any permanent structures other than trees – now and into the future.

Some brought up the “negatives” associated with disc park, but most were there to profess their affection for the park in its current state.

Before they had a chance to voice their opinions, however, Jankowski said that he had received information that Boyd had backed off on having the course at Centennial Park due to the neighbors’ concerns and was open to other locations.

When that was conveyed to Boyd yesterday, he said that he never agreed “with just dropping this.”

“I said if there was a good enough reason why they didn’t want it here other than it is a green natural park, which technically it is not, (then I would listen),” he said. “But it hasn’t been that at all.

"They say traffic. If you put anything in any public space, that public space will be used more. Therefore, there will be more traffic. If they have a better opposition except just those small things, I’ll leave it alone.”

He then said that a nine-hole pitch and putt golf course used to be at Centennial Park in the 1960s.

“No one wants to bring up that golf balls do way more damage than a disc could ever do,” he said. “The park used to have a fountain and a pond before things got changed over. Then, in time it was stopped and taken care of by New York State and then they gave it over to the city.”


Tabelski said that an email from Maintenance Supervisor Ray Tourt indicated that he spoke with Boyd, who said he was willing to look at Kibbe and Williams parks if Centennial wasn’t available.

“The confusion stems from the fact that Phil has yet to submit the information that the Council president and staff has requested,” she said. “Even taking Centennial Park out of the mix, if you look to work with the city, there is a process to follow.”

She said that process includes review of any requests by the city manager, department heads and city attorney, considering financial and insurance implications. Once the review is complete, it then is brought forward to City Council for discussion and potentially to a vote.

“We’ve engaged with him and we’re waiting for his plans and documents,” she said, reiterating Council’s decision. “City Council will not consider Centennial due to its historic use and importance to the community.

“It was clear that it was the strong sense of Council that it is inappropriate. Phil has not reached out to myself or the Parks Department to further discuss an alternative location.”


Boyd defended the disc golf community, one that he says is “very big on being as respectful as possible” and provided examples where disc golfers have won over those who initially were against them. He said disc golfers police each other and prioritize keeping the courses in top shape and free of debris.

“If somebody notices that someone does something not typical of our community, they’ll speak up to them and say, ‘Hey, that’s not what we do. Don’t make us look bad. Please refrain from doing that, and do it this way,’ ” he said.

He said disc golfers carry out the trash they carry in where no garbage cans are provided, and some disc golfers walk the courses to pick up trash left behind by other park goers.

“There’s plenty of room at Centennial Park,” said Boyd, comparing it to Pine Woods Park in North Tonawanda. “When they first started to put a course at Pine Woods, the residents in the neighborhood were so against it. They had picket signs in their front lawns that read, ‘No to disc golf.’”

“But eventually they got the course approved and they put in a nine-hole course. Two years after that, even after they had continued pushback from the neighborhood, the city approved an increase to an 18-hole course because the city realized how many people were coming to play. It was huge; the park was actually being used again.”

He said he mirrored his course layout after Pine Woods because it is similar to Centennial Park.

“The way I’ve set it up is that there will be room for other activities and still have disc golf,” he said, adding that it would take up about two-thirds of the park, stopping short of the hill used for winter sledding.

He said that he told Tourt that he walked all of the other parks and “there’s no other true park in Batavia other than Centennial that will give you a disc golf course that will bring anyone to it.”


Boyd said his nine-hole course works so well at Centennial Park because of the abundance of trees.

“You can set trees up in a fairway to make it more difficult hole. You can make holes so much shorter as long as the trees make it more difficult,” he explained, showing a printed Google map of the proposed course. “A few friends and I have placed portable baskets at the park and played the course a few times, and it works out great.”

He said the first hole starts at the corner of Park and Ellicott and is angled inward toward the park to avoid the road – a par 3, 300-foot shot. He said he tried keep everything away from the roads to avoid any possible danger.

“It works down Park Avenue for two of the holes and the third hole comes back toward the center of the park. The fourth hole goes about 50 feet short of the walkway and hole five brings you back down to the middle of the park,” he said.

“Six and seven are in the middle of the park, eight brings you to the outside and hole nine is up at the corner of Richmond and Ellicott and brings you down to where you first started.”

He said the average hole length is about 225 feet.

Hartland Park in Bergen has a nine-hole course that is similar to the one Boyd has drawn up. There, he said, disc golfers coexist with those walking their dogs and using the park for other purposes.

“There was opposition at first from people saying they didn’t want discs thrown in their backyards,” he offered. “That’s not the case anymore because people realize that the disc golf community is a good community, and there’s really no true harm in it. And people still walk their dogs there; I see them while I’m playing.”


Councilperson-at-Large Robert Bialkowski said he has been trying to educate himself about disc golf, talking to managers and officials at Darien State Park, Beaver Island State Park on Grand Island, and Lincoln Park in Buffalo – places that offer the activity.

He said the consensus is to have these courses away from the general public.

“The manager at Darien Lakes State Park said they have it on trails that aren’t used much,” Bialkowski said. “And the discs aren’t Frisbees; they’re special discs for different uses – short range, long range. If you get hit by one, it’s going to sting.”

He also said courses should be equipped with trash cans and some need additional landscaping to make them work.

“The manager at Lincoln Park said they have an 18-hole course that used 16 to 20 acres and it works out pretty well, except for one part that is near a picnic area,” he said.

Bialkowski explained that Batavia’s smaller neighborhood parks may be able to support a disc golf course, but noted that baseball and other athletic fields have taken space that previously was used for walking and hiking.


As far as Centennial Park is concerned, he said citizens have spoken, they enjoy the park as it is and Council has rendered its decision.

“Being an at-large councilman, I represent all of the citizens of the city,” he said. “We have to do our homework. I’m disappointed that Mr. Boyd isn’t satisfied with our process, but that’s the way it is.”

Jankowski said that he heard there was movement toward putting a disc golf course at Genesee Community College and encouraged Boyd to look into that as well as other possibilities.

“There might be better options out there and I find it interesting that he is so focused on one area and not any other opportunities that might be even better,” he said. “Let’s look into it.”

Boyd, in response, said he is aware of a course proposed for GCC and is assisting those who are spearheading that effort as well.

"They were having problems with finding funding and I’m now working with them to get the funding and quotes for the baskets, tee pads and signs with the people I have connections with," Boyd said, adding that it opens up the prospect of having disc golf courses in both the town and city. 

Previously: Residents speak out against disc golf at Centennial Park

Photo at top: Phillip Boyd, wearing his disc golf jersey, displays his plans for a course that he hopes will find its way to the City of Batavia. Photo at bottom: The course that he designed for his preferred destination -- Centennial Park, which has been removed from consideration by City Council. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Residents speak out against disc golf at Centennial Park

By Mike Pettinella
Jul 12, 2021, 9:09pm

Despite receiving prior assurances from several Batavia City Council members that Centennial Park was off the table as a possible location for a disc golf course in the city, representatives of the “Save the Park” committee weren’t taking any chances.

About 16 of them made their way to tonight’s City Council Conference Meeting at the City Hall Council Board Room, with five of those people urging the board to maintain the aesthetics of the 14-acre natural setting by finding another place to put a nine-hole disc golf layout proposed by Batavia resident Phillip Boyd.

On May 24, Boyd attended a City Council meeting, hoping to persuade local lawmakers to let him and other enthusiasts of the sport set up a course at a city park. At that time, he stated that his group preferred Centennial Park, which is surrounded by Ellicott Avenue, Park Avenue, Richmond Avenue and State Street.

In recent days, residents in that area inundated Council members with emails and phone calls – and had “Letters to the Editor,” signs and other forms of communication ready to publicize their views.

Fast forward to tonight, even before they had a chance to protest, Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. informed them that Centennial Park is “off the list … and not even a consideration.”

Council Member Rose Mary Christian quickly remarked, “I’ll second it.”

Jankowski explained that the process of attempting to accommodate Boyd had just begun and required the “vetting process” involving police, fire and the Department of Public Works to see if it was a good fit for the city.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski added that she had spoken to Boyd, who said he understood residents’ concerns about having it at Centennial Park and agreed not to pursue that location.

“We may not have a park big enough” for a disc golf course, Jankowski said, but added that they will work with Genesee County officials to see if it could be situated somewhere else.

Council Member John Canale acknowledged that his phone and email “were on fire,” and appreciated the feedback, and also commended Boyd for “realizing it wasn’t a popular choice.”

“I hope we can find a spot for him,” Canale said.

Still, the Centennial Park supporters had come there prepared to speak and five weren’t leaving until they had their say.

Communicating that Centennial Park was established about 150 years ago in conjunction with the New York State School for the Blind, Ellicott Avenue resident Carl DeLuca emphasized that putting a disc golf course would occupy about two-thirds of the park.

“Those who have the freedom to choose an activity would be restricted to use of just one-third of the park’s area,” he said. “The proposed installation of disc golf would be a permanent impediment to the freedom of use for the general community.”

DeLuca, a retired teacher, mentioned several “negative impacts” of disc golf, including safety issues from the hurling of hardened plastic discs, excessive car parking, noise and large crowds.

“Also of importance are city budget constraints,” he contended. “This could mean that taxpayers would be unfairly burdened by paying for potential damages caused by a few.”

He cited articles that spoke of the unintended consequences of disc golf courses in inappropriate settings, with the demographics of those who participate in the sport mostly unconcerned of its environmental impacts.

Linda Daviau, who lives on Park Avenue, thanked Council for responding to her emails – “I really didn’t expect to hear from so many of you,” she said – but added that she wasn’t convinced that the board would have taken Centennial Park out of play “without hearing from so many citizens.”

She then shared a bit of history of the park, mentioning the NYSSB and the influence of Dean Richmond, and pointed out that for “over 40 years … we still enjoy seeing people enjoy the park.”

“The face of the park is great the way it is,” she concluded.

Judy Sikora, another Park Avenue resident, also thanked Council members and Tabelski for responding to the residents.

Stating that she had a petition with 150 signatures, Sikora spoke of Centennial Park’s grass and trees and “lovely flowing terrain” and called it a “lifesaver for many of us during COVID.”

“It really is a treasure,” she said. “Many cities would be envious.”

Sikora urged Council to not change the nature of what makes the park unique, and to continue the freedom of its use by all citizens.

She suggested finding a nonresidential area with adequate parking for the disc golf course.

“We’re not here to oppose disc golf but to support a park that we love,” she said.

Judy DeLuca, Carl’s wife, spoke of the health benefits of the park’s green space.

She referred to a National Institute of Health report that indicated that the use of urban green space was important to community health during times of stress, and asked Council members to take green space into account when they consider policy issues.

Finally, Karen Vasser of Lincoln Avenue said that her family has been part of that neighborhood for 67 years and that she has participated in the seasonal activities, including Picnic in the Park.

“We love this park,” she said, “and it deserves to be as pristine as it is today.”

Photo: Word that a disc golf course could be placed at Centennial Park prompted about 16 residents of that area in the northeast section of the city to find their way to tonight's City Council meeting. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

'It's horrible.' City resident seeks police intervention to end criminal activity around Washington Avenue

By Mike Pettinella
Jun 28, 2021, 9:26pm

There’s some serious stuff going on around Washington Avenue, Willow Street and State Street -- and at least one resident is imploring City Council to do something about it.

“I’m just here tonight because I’m concerned about the neighborhood,” said Lynne Geissler, (in photo at top), noting that she has lived at Washington and Willow for four years. “I understand that it’s a different neighborhood.”

Geissler, speaking during the public comments portion of tonight’s Conference Meeting at City Centre Council Board Room, mentioned the increase in “criminal action,” adding that it is “horrible” and is taking place at all hours of the night, causing her to lose sleep.

“There’s got to be some way that … I don’t know,” she said. “I was going to go to the police department to talk to the police chief but they’re not letting anybody in (or so she believed). So, I figured I’d come down here to talk, to see, because there’s a lot of things going on and it has to be taken care of.”

She brought up that she has health issues and understands that drugs and mental disorders are real problems.

“But when you’re having the police at your house 20 times in a four-day period, and our landlord can’t do anything (and) we as tenants can’t do anything,” she said. “There’s got to be some way – CPS (Child Protective Services), there’s mental health, everybody’s involved but nothing’s getting fixed.”

Jankowski advised her to talk with Police Chief Shawn Heubusch directly after the meeting and set up an appointment.

Council Member Kathleen Briggs said that she has received calls from people living on State Street “and they’re telling me that they do call police and police are responding.”

“I also told them that they should contact their landlords and they said the landlords aren’t doing anything,” she added. “Police are doing what they can but don’t you think we have to hold these landlords accountable?”

It was mentioned that these instigators should be evicted, but current laws against eviction have tied landlords’ hands.

Geissler said her landlord is sympathetic but indicated that “if he went to evict someone right now – if it was one of his houses – it would be nine to 12 months before that person would be out.”

Afterward, Heubusch acknowledged that officers are dealing with "some serious things" and, without getting into details, said that investigations are ongoing.

“We will look into this further,” he said.


Last month, city resident Phillip Boyd came to a City Council meeting to promote the placement of a disc golf course at a city park.

He reappeared tonight, flanked by six other disc golf enthusiasts, and said he has mapped out a course that would take up about two-thirds of Centennial Park, the 14-acre natural setting located in the north-central part of the city.

Boyd said he also has prices for how much sponsorship would cost.

“Now, I’m just looking for it to be actually brought up as an agenda item,” he said.

With that, City Council President Eugene Jankowski advised him to turn all his documents over to City Manager Rachael Tabelski and work with her going forward.

Two of his friends, Doug Forsyth and Louis Ortiz, also went up to the podium, speaking briefly while indicating that they backed Boyd’s efforts.

Forsyth said he heard about the matter from reading The Batavian and wanted to let Council know that his group has secured some funding for the initiative.

Tabelski said Centennial Park is the preferred location. She added that she will review Boyd’s proposal with department heads with the expectation of providing a recommendation to Council at the July 12 meeting.

In legislative matters, Council approved:

  • A resolution to apply for a Community Development Block Grant to help fund an estimated $1.36 million project to replace 4- and 6-inch water lines on Jackson Street with 2,250 linear feet of 8-inch water main, and another setting a public hearing on the matter for 7 p.m. July 12. Tabelski said she thinks the grant, if received, could fund up to 90 percent of the project cost.
  • A resolution to award V.J. Gautieri Constructors $18,800 from the city’s Revolving Loan Fund Grant to help replace sidewalks at the Ellicott Place project at 45-47 Ellicott St. (Save-A-Lot building).

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