Rochester, N.Y. – There’s a sign on the gates of St. Joseph’s Park saying “KEEP OUT.” Liquor bottles litter the grounds. The fountain no longer works.
Rochester’s most unique park has seen better days.
Built in 1843 on Franklin St. by German immigrants, St. Joseph’s Church was the city’s oldest Catholic church. George Eastman drove by it every day and checked his watch against the clock tower. He declared, “It’s a much a part of Rochester as – as cameras! It’s a landmark! A public service that must be preserved.”
The church burned down 1974. The Landmark Society turned it into a park in 1980. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places. But the park became a haven for people up to no good and has been off limits to the public for years.
That will soon change.
Ted Collins Tree and Landscape offered to donate time and materials to the park’s revitalization. Vice-President Greg Frank would like to get the fountain going again.
“What we want to do is just make a space or make a garden that people in this neighborhood could come and experience and enjoy,” Frank said.
The project will take several years. Frank said he hopes to partner with residents and businesses to keep the park vibrant and clean.