Design Firm Selected for New Look for Perseverance Park in Downtown Syracuse

Mar 9, 2015

The 'Flowscape' art design was added to Perseverance Park last summer. Now a new design for the entire space is being sought.
Credit City of Syracuse-Office of the Mayor

  Workers and residents in Downtown Syracuse might have walked by Perseverance Park many times, but not really known its purpose.  An effort is underway to transform the space in order to attract some attention and people.

You might remember what’s now known as perseverance park as the place where people gathered waiting for the bus.  Or you might recall the little encampment Occupy Syracuse demonstrators …you know of the 99-percent – lived in while protesting income inequality.  More recently terraced strips of grass are next to the blue and white wavy lines of an art project called  ‘flowscape.’   

Of course it's all covered with snow right now, but Retired SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry Landscape Architect George Curry says people in the area are interested in the next incarnation.

Not much activity in Perseverance Park in the winter
Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News

  “Yes there are people who are very interested, people whose offices look down on that place either from across Salina Street or in the Lincoln or Chase building.  And of course the Pike Block redevelopment is right there.  So there’s a lot of interest in that space in terms of the people who live there and work there.” 

Curry was asked by Mayor Stephanie Miner to head up the new urban space project.  The City of Syracuse has just selected a design firm called “!Melk” to come up with ideas…although they won’t have any specific drawings or concepts yet.  First they’re getting a great deal of public input. 

Curry envisions a place designed on a human scale.

“It can’t be like Clinton Square for instance, which if you’re there by yourself and not with (for example) with 3000 people at the Irish Festival, it’s not very comfortable to be in.  So we’re really looking for just a great, comfortable space, no unlike in my opinion, Hanover Square.”  

Terraced grass section of Perseverance Park
Credit City of Syracuse-Office of the Mayor

  There’ll be public events through the summer.  Then some design ideas people can react to.  Money to transform the park will come from city and county sources…but private contributors will also be sought.  Once completed, city officials hope useful and artistic elements can make the space right in a busy part of the city, a true asset.

The Syracuse Urban Renewal Agency actually owns the property of Perseverance Park.  The group will be voting Tuesday March 24th at its 3:00 p.m. meeting to accept the selection of the New York City-based landscape architecture and design firm !melk.