The Central New York Conservancy announced today that a multiyear project to rebuild two historic bridges in Frederick T. Proctor Park has come to completion. The bridges span the Starch Factory Creek and a tributary stream in the lower level of the park. Both were built by the federal Work Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s. The completion of this project will be commemorated by a brief ribbon-cutting at 11:00 AM on Friday, September 27.
The restoration was financed with a grant the Conservancy obtained with the help of Anthony Brindisi when he was still serving as a member of the New York State Assembly.
“These bridges are vitally important features of the park’s historic fabric,” said Conservancy Executive Director Phil Bean, “and their restoration will be useful both to pedestrians and to maintenance and emergency vehicles.”
This is the latest in a series of restoration efforts the Conservancy has pursued in F.T. Proctor Park, including the reconstruction of many of the park’s historic stone staircases and walls that had crumbled over the decades.
“The City’s park system is one of our crown jewels and we have to both preserve and enhance it,” Mayor Robert Palmieri said. “We’ve made it a priority to have a diverse, inviting and enjoyable park system. I could not say enough about how invaluable the Central New York Conservancy has been in helping to meet that goal. The bridges in F.T. Proctor Park are a wonderful example of that.”
F.T. Proctor Park was designed in 1913-14 by the renowned American landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., and the family of Thomas R. Proctor donated it in 1923 to the people of Utica, making it the last element of Utica’s Olmsted system to be given to the public. The Conservancy successfully petitioned to have Utica’s Olmsted park and parkway system—consisting of F.T. Proctor Park, Thomas R. Proctor Park, Roscoe Conkling Park, and the Parkway—listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
Founded in 2002, the Central New York Conservancy is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, preservation, and promotion of Utica’s historic Olmsted park and parkway system. For more information, please contact the Conservancy at 315-790-5262 or consult the Conservancy’s website (https://www.uticaolmstedparks.org/) or Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/cnyconservancy/ ).