Niagara Falls Reporter
Home | Archive / Search
AUGUST 19 - AUGUST 27, 2014

Jayne Park Plans Not Final
But City is Moving Fast Forward to Spend Grant

By Frank Parlato

August 19, 2014

A sketch of changes contemplated at Jayne Park show mainly seasonal maintenance plus the installation of an asphalt pathway and an overlook.

Last week Niagara Falls city officials got around to explaining why they are suddenly pushing the spending of money in Jayne Park, a neighborhood park on the northern boundary of Cayuga Island.

This is the sixth year of Jayne Park planning, all of it in connection with a $145,000 NYPA Greenway grant that requires the city to match it with another $145,000 of public money.

To date no work has been done.

At a special meeting last week, the city's senior planner Tom DeSantis outlined planned improvements to Jayne Park before about 40 people at the LaSalle branch library.

The plan has changed over the years and DeSantis said the most recent plan is a result of community input, and added the park would remain a "passive" space meant for quiet enjoyment and contemplation since that is what residents of Cayuga Island said they wanted.

$900 in lumber will rebuild the entire picnic shelter. Repairs to its roof, something that would normally be done as seasonal maintenance, are listed as part of a $290,000 improvement plan at Jayne Park.
Some might question the need for an asphalt trail through the park


"One of the particular themes that was fairly obvious to everyone was that they were not interested in a busy, active park and that they were more interested to see the park become a natural, naturalized place," DeSantis said at the meeting, as quoted in the Niagara Gazette.

The proposed, revised plan appears to include the installation of an asphalt walking path through the park; an overlook along the Little Niagara River; the trimming and taking down of dead or dying trees, and other vegetation, which may include live trees along the shoreline to open it up for a clearer view; the planting of new trees, the elimination of invasive species from the park; the planting of native plants and the replacement of the roof and rotting timbers at the park pavilion.

With the exception of the first two items, these "improvements" are normally common maintenance items that are usually done by city parks employees on a season to season basis.

But the park has been neglected for years; even restrooms have been shuttered.

Why is a grant needed for common park maintenance?

Does it boil down to an overlook, which no one has clamored for, and a paved trail in a park that is otherwise entirely green?

According to drawings shown by DeSantis at the meeting, the overlook is cantilevered and hangs over the bank of the Little River. This is curious because the rise of the water and ice overflow that routinely occurs in winter on the Little River will likely destroy the overlook.

The need for an asphalt path is also debatable.

According to the plan, the paved path appears to be about 4,000 feet long, and eight feet wide which means 32,000 square feet of green will be removed from the park and turned to pavement.

For 80 years the park has had not had a paved pathway; people walk on grass. Unless there is an expectation of a lot more visitation, why is it needed?

Perhaps because without the pavement, and overlook, it might be difficult to justify spending enough money to qualify for the grant on items neighbors won't object to.

There were strong objections when an earlier plan called for parking lots, a canoe launch and other amenities that would attract people from outside the neighborhood.

These were eliminated from the plan. But the desire to spend $290,000 on Jayne Park remained.

It was admitted last week that the city must move quickly on the state share of the matching grant ($145,000) because it expires if some money is not spent this year.

The city, DeSantis said, had been granted two extensions on deadlines for the grant, but failed to gain city council approval in their earlier plans to make more drastic changes to the park.

DeSantis said this is the last time the state will grant an extension, so the city needs to go forward with some kind of plan or lose the grant.

"It was pretty clear there would be no more extensions," DeSantis said.

If the city ends up declining the grant, DeSantis warned, it will not receive any other grants to make improvements at Jayne Park and would have a "harder time getting grants for other city parks."

"If we don't do something with the grant it will certainly harm our future applications," he said at the meeting.

DeSantis did not provide details of how the state would make it harder for the city for other, worthwhile grants if it failed to take advantage of this six-year-old Jayne Park grant.

Following last week's meeting, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster wrote on his Facebook page that the Jayne Park plan is "back on track" and referred to "consensus" being reached, based apparently on the 40 people in attendance at the library meeting, despite the fact that Cayuga Island has approximately 350 homes and 1000 residents and, arguably, 40 people does not constitute a "consensus" here.

Yet the plan is moving ahead.

The Niagara Gazette quotes DeSantis as saying the city is now getting ready to "issue RFPs."

An RFP is not a request for quotes (RFQ) or an invitation for bids (IFB) based on a set plan where the lowest price is the concern.

An "RFP," an acronym for "request for proposals," means the administration does not have a set plan but will evaluate ideas for work to be done.

By definition, an RFP allows the city to choose whoever they want to do the work regardless of price.

An RFP also means the city is requesting proposals, suggestions, ideas, and consulting on how and what work should be done.

DeSantis said he hopes to have work started in October which means he must issue the RFP, select a company, let them design the final plans and start construction in two months.

A sketch of the proposed overlook onto the Little River will likely be destroyed when the ice jam causes the ice to freeze and flow over into the park, which it does about twice per winter.
Senior Planner Tom DeSantis explains his plan for Jayne Park to an audience at the LaSalle Branch Library.






Anello to Head Back into Political Life as Mayoral Candidate in 2015?
Vince Anello and Me: A Brief History
The Anello - Hudson Texts Leading to Interview
One Niagara Pays Back Taxes to City
Councilman Anderson Wants Action on Rats
As Dispute Heats Up Between CSEA and Lewiston Sup. Brochey, Some Solutions offered
Reporter Welcomes New Publisher at Gazette, Tonawanda News
Public Meeting Weds. on Radio Tower Leg. Chairman Ross to Chair Meet on Controversial Plan
Johnson Retires as Reporter Predicted
Jayne Park Plans Not Final But City is Moving Fast Forward to Spend Grant
Jayne Park Plan to add asphalt and overlook
Jayne Park Debate Continues on Facebook Consensus Has Not Been Reached
Council Funds Concert, Repaves Own Parking Lot With Your Money
New Signs Warn Visitors to Not be Stupid, You Morons!
Destino is no SAFE?Bet in 62nd District
Dinner for Prozeralik Celebrates Extraordinary Life and Career
Motorcycle Dice Run Set For Sunday Will Aid Teen with Cancer
Lewiston Jazz Fest to Feature Karrin Allyson Other Jazz Stars, Vintage Cars, Fine Food and Spirits
Kenny Rogers' Mansion 4 Sale
Letters to the Editor
Parking Signs Aren't Funny
Delicious Way to Rid Your Neighborhood of Rats

Contact Info

©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina