OSWEGO — The new “Water Street Square” pocket park was officially unveiled to residents of Oswego during a gathering last week.
Oswego City Mayor William Barlow Jr. said the Water Street Square pocket park is a $900,000 project. Water Street Square is a small park constructed between Water Street and West First Street downtown, to be used as a public gathering space for events and outdoor programming opportunities.
The project includes a stage, benches, tables, chairs, landscaping and an ADA accessible switchback ramp to the West Linear Riverwalk, as well as improvements to Water Street.
Barlow also announced the completion of the State Route 104 “Complete Streets” project. The $1.5 million Complete Streets project introduces traffic calming techniques, improves pedestrian safety at major intersections, visually enhances Oswego’s downtown corridor, and includes a new staircase connecting downtown to the West Linear Riverwalk.
The project is designed to better connect the North and South sides of West Bridge Street, overcoming the barrier created by State Route 104’s division of downtown.
Both the Compete Streets and Water Street Square projects were funded partially with money from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative $10 million award the city received three years ago. The Complete Streets project received $1 million from the DRI and an additional $500,000 through a federal transportation grant the city received in 2016.
The Water Street Square project received $680,000 of DRI funding.
In 2016, Oswego was selected as a winner in the first round of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, with 11 of the 12 funded projects currently under construction or completed.
“The State Route 104 Complete Streets project and the Water Street Square pocket park are transformative projects for downtown Oswego,” Barlow said. “Both projects not only visually enhance our core downtown, but provide pedestrians the opportunity to safely walk downtown by connecting the North and South sides of State Route 104 to our Riverwalk.”
“The new projects will draw more people to our downtown, creating opportunities for additional development, as well as promoting our local small businesses,” he said. “These projects will complement other economic development projects currently underway, making our community more welcoming, attractive, and by encouraging people to visit and spend more time downtown.”
“Our downtown has so much to offer both residents and visitors alike,” said Common Council member Kevin Hill, Ward 3, who represents a significant portion of downtown Oswego. “Completion of the State Route 104 Complete Streets and Water Street Square projects are significant and transformative milestones for our community.”
“The Complete Streets project provides a more visually appealing ‘window’ to our downtown, while providing a safer pedestrian connection to our waterfront. The Water Street Square pocket park is an innovative use of previously underutilized public space that will attract people to our downtown, increase traffic to our small businesses and provide a beautiful space for gatherings and events,” Hill said.
Construction for both the State Route 104 Complete Streets and Water Street Square projects began in April 2019 and was performed by Hannibal-based W.D. Malone. Barton and Loguidice designed the Complete Streets project and Delta Engineers designed the Water Street Square project.
Oswego hosted a free concert featuring “Three of a Kind” the night of Aug. 20 to celebrate the grand opening of Water Street Square. The city is booking future entertainment for the pocket park, and organizations can reserve the space for outdoor programming through the Oswego Department of Public Works.