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Munson breaks ground on landscaping project

By Traci DeLore (tdelore@cnybj.com)

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Munson broke ground on a project to transform its greenspace into a 49,000-square-foot park and community area along Genesse Street. (Photo credit: Anthony J. Picente Facebook)

UTICA, N.Y. — Munson broke ground Thursday, April 11 on a new 49,000-square-foot park and community space, transforming the green space from 324 Genesee St. to Cottage Place, according to the museum’s online publication Munson Bulletin.

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. also shared pictures from the event on his Facebook page.

The project, which received $800,000 in Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding from Utica, will also create an accessible entrance to the museum from Genesee Street.

“Right now, you have to journey around the block for an accessible entrance,” Munson President/CEO Anna D’Ambrosio said in the publication. “Transforming the sunken garden across from Kaepernick Park into an attractive, inviting, and level entrance will not only allow easy access to the museum and amenities but also help forge even more connections with the community and events like the Levitt Amp summer concerts and Munson’s annual arts festival.”

Sue Steel Landscape Architecture LLC of Rochester designed the project, which includes features such as granite benches along with native trees and plants.

“The Genessee Street project is another way Munson can continue to be a welcoming, inspiring space for residents and visitors alike,” D’Ambrosio said. “We’re excited to enhance a green space that will encourage even more experiences that bring our community together.”

The overall project also includes work to restore the museum of art building, designed by architect Philip Johnson, to its original intended look. Originally, the building was to appear as if it was floating above the ground, according to the publication, but that effect was lost with the installation of a chain-link fence and hedge along the front façade.

The fence and hedge will be replaced with a clear, low-visibility railing that provides the same security function while allowing visitors to experience the view of the building as originally intended.

As part of the new landscaping, the museum will also reinstall the museum’s Three Arches sculpture by Alexander Calder.

Munson expects to complete the project by late fall. This summer, the annual Arts Festival Sidewalk Art Show from July 13-21 will move to the Museum of Art’s Root Court.

The organization continues to seek sponsors for naming aspects and other parts of the project.