Community Helps Shape Onondaga Lake Shoreline in Geddes
Native Plants and Recreational Opportunities to Improve Public View and Access to Onondaga Lake
June 1, 2011 – Work has begun to improve the lakeshore along I-690 in Geddes. Contractors are bringing in topsoil for the planting of more than 1,100 plants, shrubs and trees from more than 47 diverse native species. The work will continue throughout the summer.
The lakeshore enhancements, which the community helped design, will create a welcoming "Gateway to Syracuse." Once the lake cleanup is complete, there also will be improved lake access and recreational opportunities available to the public.
Near Term Concept Plan – 2011-2016
The Geddes Lakeshore enhancements will start along the lakeshore;
plans for the south side of I-690 are being finalized.
Rendering of Geddes Lakeshore in late summer after lake restoration is complete.
"The public actively participated in shaping the plan for the Onondaga Lakeshore along I-690," said Dereth Glance, chair of the Onondaga Lake Community Participation Working Group. "The final Geddes Lakeshore Enhancement Project incorporates the community's ideas to improve the most visible part of our shoreline."
Community members offer suggestions on ways to improve the Geddes Lakeshore at a meeting in December 2010.
During the design process, nearly 100 people attended a series of public meetings. They suggested ways to improve the lakeshore with walking and biking trails, enhance the visual connection to the lake, and support fishing access. They also recommended the use of diverse and sustainable vegetation to provide a more welcoming view for motorists entering and leaving Syracuse, and recognized the importance of considering traffic noise from I-690 while improving the lakeshore.
As a result of the community input, the final design includes a reshaped landscape, as well as the planting of native vegetation, trees and large shrubs. The selection of native plants was designed by local scientists based on site characteristics and the local climate, and reflects anticipated variation in rainfall.
Native plants included in the Geddes Lakeshore Enhancement Project: butterfly weed, top left; spicebush, top middle; wild bergamot, top right; smooth rose, bottom left; and calico aster, bottom right.
The Central New York chapter of Wild Ones and Donald J. Leopold, distinguished teaching professor and department chair at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), reviewed the native plant list and provided valuable input.
The plants include:
- Nine tree species including evergreens, red maple, shagbark hickory, swamp white oak, bur oak, northern red oak and more
- Seven shrub species including flowering raspberry, smooth rose, gray dogwood, running serviceberry, Carolina rose and more
- More than 31 flower and grass species including western wheatgrass, slender wheatgrass, Junegrass, blackeyed Susan, smooth purple coneflower, narrow-leaved coneflower and more
"Our mission is to use native vegetation to provide a healthier environment for the people of Central New York," said Janet Allen, president of Habitat Gardening in Central New York, which is a chapter of Wild Ones. "It is exciting that the community was given the opportunity to provide input on the selection of plants that are native to Central New York and will help reshape the view of Onondaga Lake. We're confident that this example will inspire further use of our beautiful native plants in other Central New York landscapes."
Native plants included in the Geddes Lakeshore Enhancement Project: heart-leaved golden Alexanders, top left; red columbine, top right; smooth purple coneflower, bottom left; white spruce, bottom middle; and gray dogwood, bottom right.
"Native plants are significant because they naturally grew in the area prior to European settlement and are the foundation for our cultural landscape," said SUNY-ESF Professor Leopold. "The native plant species chosen for the Geddes Lakeshore area should thrive on these challenging site conditions and will enhance the diversity and landscape aesthetics near the lake."
As motorists travel on I-690, they will eventually see a low meadow divided by shrubs and trees. The trees and shrubs will be planted to direct the eye toward the lake while softening the edge between the highway and the shoreline. The vegetation is expected to reach peak growth in three to five years. Honeywell will maintain the property.
In addition to local residents, government officials and community leaders, members of several community groups participated in the meetings including: F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse, Solvay-Geddes-Camillus Kiwanis Club, Solvay-Geddes-Camillus Lions Club, Solvay-Geddes Rotary Club, Friends of Solvay Public Library, Solvay Historical Society, Onondaga Audubon Society, Nine Mile Creek Conservation Council, Sierra Club and Camillus Canal Society. The meetings were co-hosted by Honeywell and the Onondaga Lake Community Participation Working Group.
For more information on the Onondaga Lake cleanup, please visit: www.onondaga-lake-initiatives.com.