CNY Conservancy Overview
"Preserve and enhance the natural environment and features of current or historical significance through design, promoting the widest possible range of beneficial uses."
The Central New York Conservancy (CNYC) was founded as a New York not-for-profit corporation on June 13, 2002. Since its inception, the Conservancy's mission has included comprehensive analysis and research of and site restoration in Utica, New York's parks system. The Conservancy promotes healthy, sustainable, public green spaces. It advocates for integrated design and management plans that marry the interests of public users with the health and future of the landscape and community.
The Conservancy's plans each spring/summer season focus on the following:
- defining and developing priorities for restoring and preserving at-risk public spaces;
- developing plans for design, restoration, preservation and beautification of urban green spaces;
- articulating maintenance and management goals for designated priority sites within Utica's Olmsted-designed parks and green spaces.
Utica's Parks System (F.T. and T.R. Proctor Parks, Roscoe Conkling Park/Valley View and the Memorial Parkway) were designed by the Olmsted Brothers Firm over the course of twenty years, beginning in 1906. They include over 700 acres of public parkland. During the 1930s and 1940s, WPA stonemasons built many stone terraces, stairways, pools, bridges and walls in each of these parks, which add another layer of historical significance to them.
It is part of the Conservancy's purpose to heighten the public's awareness of and appreciation for the Parks System's plant communities and watersheds that need protection and management, as well as cultural preservation of their historic architectural features.
Conservancy licensed arborists and landscape design experts have given lectures, created exhibits, and made presentations throughout Herkimer and Oneida Counties about the historic importance of the Utica Parks System.
With the help of community volunteers and the City of Utica Parks Department, the Conservancy has installed trees, shrubs, and planted areas in the parks. Additionally, it has designed and restored many architectural features and structures in F. T. Proctor Park. The Conservancy is also involved in extensive gardening and maintenance along Utica's Memorial Parkway.
CNYC continues its efforts in Utica's Parks System with structural repair and restoration of WPA- and Olmsted Brothers-designed architectural features.
The Conservancy oversees arboricultural care of existing trees in the parks. It serves as the catalyst for planning, designing, and installing restoration plantings (using the original designs of the Olmsted Brothers Firm where feasible). The organization cultivates partnerships with local garden clubs, interested groups (e.g., The Landmarks Society of Greater Utica and the Utica Historical Society) and park users to encourage their participation in park planting and maintenance.