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AUGUST 05 - AUGUST 13, 2014

Me Dyster, You Jayne Park Will Mayor revisit Unpopular Plan?

By Frank Parlato

August 05, 2014

Presently Jayne Park (left), fronting on Joliet St., has no paved areas and is used mainly by residents of Cayuga Island.

Several Cayuga Island residents contacted the Reporter last week to inform us that a gaggle of bureaucrats were spotted on the afternoon of Tuesday July 29 doing a walk-around Jayne Park.

One person informed us that the "mayor with his merry men" was among the crowd. Another said city grant writer, Shari Corrulli, was spotted also among the Jayne Park walker gawkers.

They asked us, "Does this mean Mayor Paul Dyster is going to try, once again, to put his Jayne Park plan in effect?"

In 2009, as Dyster and senior planner Tom DeSantis planned to quietly convert the green slip of Jayne Park into a "regional park," the Reporter broke the story. Alerted, some 350 Cayuga Islanders signed a petition opposing the plan – and about 100 stormed city hall meetings, only one step removed from carrying tar and feathers, to inform Dyster that his plan was unwelcome.

The Dyster plan included spacious paved parking lots, ample restrooms, canoe launches, winding asphalt hiking trails, new basketball courts, night lights to keep the park open after sunset and the clearing of the marshy and tree lined shoreline along the park's half mile of winding frontage on the Little River.

The plan clearly would convert the park from neighborhood use (there is presently no parking lot, and no paved areas at all) to a regional park.)

Neighbors said they feared property values would plummet if the quiet, neighborhood, all -green park suddenly became a destination park with expensive amenities.

The plan to convert Jayne Park was crafted in the quiet recesses of the Buffalo Riverkeepers, an organization with strong ties to Dyster and DeSantis, and was to be completed with $145,000 of city money ($145,000) matching a Greenway grant of another $145,000.

After the community outrage, the plan was suspended.

Jayne Park, at the north of Cayuga Island, borders the Little River.

In an August 26, 2011 letter to the Cayuga Island residents - in the middle of Dyster's re-election effort - Dyster wrote, in part, "As long as I am mayor, Jayne Park and Cayuga Island will be the same…beautiful and strong. That's my commitment to you."

The mayor did not promise he would not convert the park to a regional park. As a jewel among the necklace of "blueway" river parks, a regional Jayne Park is strong and more beautiful than ever.

Fast forward to last week: While it would never be Dyster's modus operendi to share with Cayuga Island residents in advance what his current plans are to make Jayne Park "beautiful" and "stronger" are, it is clear something is afoot and past practice suggests that the best time to tell residents is on the day the bulldozers show up.

Will Jayne Park form a part of the Dyster legacy, a park that people from all over Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Western New York will come to enjoy? From picnics, to outdoor parties, musical events, art of beer shows, canoeing, and nightly basketball games for teens who sorely need a break from the urban nightmare they presently endure, Jayne Park can be a lush, picturesque and hopping place, a green gathering waterfront spot, for people to come and get introduced to Cayuga Island one of the regions hidden gems.

Back in 2009, the Reporter told of the plan in detail. The people of the neighborhood rejected it and Dyster suspended his plans.

The money is still there and consultants are still willing to go to work to refashion a park which has not seen any major changes since it was dedicated in 1920.

To the left is the banks of the Little River at Jayne Park. The Dyster plan is to clear many trees for a better curbside view.





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©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