It’s taken six years of perseverance, but Perseverance Park is finally done, we happily note.
The public plaza in front of One Lincoln Center is now crisscrossed with concrete seating in abstract shapes, curved and tinted concrete underfoot, and mature trees and grassy plantings to soften all those hard edges.
It’s not as ambitious as the original vision for the spot — but it’s neat, inviting and, most importantly, finished.
Perseverance Park, running along South Salina Street between Fayette and Washington Streets, was the site of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in 2011. In 2012, it became a blank canvas in the heart of downtown when the Centro bus hub moved to its new location down the street.
In 2014, the Downtown Committee commissioned an art installation called “Flowscape” — a blue and white design painted on the ground — to spark public conversation about the future of the space.
In 2015, after issuing a request for proposals, former Mayor Stephanie Miner chose a redesign plan that included a huge piece of public art. That would have been cool — and expensive. The city could not raise $3 million, publicly or privately, to make it happen. Perseverance Park languished. “Flowscape” faded.
When Mayor Ben Walsh took office in 2018, he revived the project in a simpler form, covering the $500,000 cost with money left over from the Connective Corridor project and from the Syracuse Urban Renewal Agency, which owns the park. The project did not touch the northern quadrant, on the Washington Street side. City Hall hopes to attract a developer for that prime real estate.
The work was completed while many downtown office workers waited out the coronavirus pandemic from home. Until the weather turns, they’ll have a new outdoor spot to lunch, relax and socialize.
See? 2020 isn’t