R2G in Action

Public Parks and Greenspace

Chancellor Park Project Overview

The 3.5-acre Chancellor Park lies between Bleeker and Elizabeth Streets several blocks east of the gateway area and Genesee Street. It is a park that has long figured in the city's history since it was first platted in 1811. Since its beginnings, Chancellor has experienced several phases of redesign and reconfiguration but continues to attract a large set of users drawn from the surrounding neighborhood and drawn to its events and programming associated with Utica Monday Nite and the Utica Farmers Market. It was originally the site of the Academy and Courthouse and is named for the 19th Century Chancellor of the State of NY James Kent.

Chancellor Park has undergone significant modifications and "modernization" over the past 30-40 year period. These changes have reflected changes in use and needs and been guided by the Park's Department. They have, on the whole, changed the park from a passive stroll park with a central fountain, to a more active use area serving the neighborhood context. The addition of tennis courts, bocce, bandstand and play areas reflect the park's changing function but they too have now fallen into disrepair and the park shows significant signs of decline and neglect and is once again in desperate need of renewal and updating to serve its changing user population and to reflect contemporary environmental design goals. This project, undertaken by students in the 2011 Rust to Green Capstone Studio, assesses the park's current conditions and makes design recommendations and proposals for its future renewal. Much of the direction for these proposals was provided by input from community stakeholders during meetings held in Utica in Spring 2012.

Project Goals
  • Increase accessibility
  • Address public safety issues
  • Increase opportunities for community use and sociability
  • Address programming needs for area events including Utica Monday Nite and Utica Farmer's Market
  • Improve over all park character and identity as related to its context
  • Diversify plantings and landscape features
  • Integrate ecological and green practices
  • Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Utica Monday Nights
  • Utica City Parks Department
  • Utica Municipal Housing Authority
  • Chancellor Park Farmers Market
  • Landmarks Society of Greater Utica

In the summer of 2011 R2G Civic Research Felllows redesigned and rebuilt Liberty Bell Park. This public space, adjacent to the historic Hotel Utica as well as a heavily used bus stop is now an inviting, restful area in the heart of the city.

Today, Kempble Park in Utica's Cornhill neighborhood is a two acre vacant lot surrounded by a chain link fence. This high potential parcel will soon be transformedintoa beautiful, multi-functional community gathring space in the form of a new park.

One World Garden is a project that emerged from the a partnership between R2G and the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees. Early in 2012 the One World Garden indersciplinary design and research planing team set out to develop the garden's design as well as a long term research plan aimed at evaluating garden's impact, once built, on both it's users and the urban context.

In the Oneida Square neighborhood the City of Utica undertook its first large scale implementation of its new community generated Master Plan. This project is known as the Oneida Square Roundabout. Rust to Green assisted the City of Utica and NYS DOT in the summer of 2011 as the Roundabout underwent construction. Rust to Green faculty and interns were able to adapt the proposed streetscape plans so that they could create significantly more green space while reducing project costs.