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El Camino and the Conkey Corner Park

November 2009 | New York

This is essentially the story of Genesee Land Trust board member, Tom Frey, who had a dream of taking an abandoned railway bed and transforming it into a walking, biking, greenway through the heart of the city, through the most underserved – the poorest – of city neighborhoods. He (and Gay Mills, our exec dir.) worked with the City of Rochester, the Ibero Association and Eastman Kodak from whom grant funding was received, to make the dream come true.

In addition, there WAS a vacant lot at was the gateway to the trail.  Now, now because of the combined efforts of all our partners – including the neighbors—including neighborhood schools especially School #22 (Kim Mendelson’s class), Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care, whom we contracted to install the gardens but who (Rodregus Tripp and Terry Schmitz) took a very personal interest in working with the school children to teach them gardening, to engage them and instill a love of nature and of their OWN SPACE,  AND MANY, MANY Genesee Land Trust volunteers (I have over 150 on a group e-mail – folks who regularly volunteer for us) – we have THE CONKEY CORNER PARK!  We have already held two plantings, a ground breaking (with neighborhood festival), Earth Day Clean up and ribbon cutting with the mayor’s assistant, Daryl Porter.

Now – with grant funding from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation and a grant from the John F. Wegman Fund (via the Community Foundation of Greater Rochester) we will be building a playground in fall.

The trail should be complete by next year – the park is already enjoyed.

This is a neighborhood with the lowest home and auto ownership and the highest rates of childhood diabetes.  Now what was a vacant lot is a corner of green with young trees, perennials, rocks for resting and a view of the soon to be completed El Camino!


Background on El Camino Trail of which the Conkey Corner Park is the Gateway:

Background on the Conkey Corner Park (and it is school #22 that has become very engaged with this project):


Genesee Land Trust is the Rochester area's local land trust protecting over 3,200 acres in our area.  It was founded by Rochesterians in 1989.

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