Renovation Project

Proposal for James Morrison Park

Prepared by the ABC Streets Neighborhood Association                                               Make a Pledge

Project Overview

James Morrison Park is a small triangular shaped park located on the corner of Culver Road and Harvard Street.  The ABC Streets Neighborhood Association has partnered with the City Parks Department to redesign the park.  Our goal is to create a garden that both enhances the classic aesthetics of the neighborhood and minimizes the maintenance costs currently associated with the ongoing care of the park.  Zaretsky and Associates has donated a beautiful design that incorporates our ideas.



James Morrison Park was first listed in the City of Rochester Parks Directory in 1917.  From our research we believe the park’s namesake passed away in the City of Rochester in 1911.  However, we have been unsuccessful in finding out any further information regarding James Morrison.  The last redesign of the park was in 1975 and included a dedication by Mayor Tom Ryan.  Since that time the park has been well enjoyed by the residents of the ABC Streets.

The ABC Streets Neighborhood Association is bounded by Culver Road, Harvard Street, Park Avenue, and Colby Street and represents around 550 households.  For as long as anyone can remember the ABC Streets has partnered with the city to care for James Morrison Park.  This summer, the neighborhood association was able to fund the installation of a water spigot in the park.  We also schedule regular cleanup days at the park to plant flowers and keep the park clean and tidy.

Unfortunately, this well loved park has seen better days.  High Falls Tree Service donated their time this summer to trim the trees.  They did a great job enhancing what remains in the park.  However, many of the trees are succumbing to disease and their old age.  Also, years of unplanned plant additions has created a park that lacks a classic look and a symmetrical layout.

Current Park Contents

-19’x21’ Brick Patio

-(1) Red Bud Tree

-(2) Crab Cherry Tree

-(1) Large Cherry Tree (Rotting)

-(3) Trees

-(1) Densiformis Yews

All of the above are past their prime and will be removed.

-Assorted Perennials including Black Eyed Susans, Russian Sage, Blue Speedwell, Lavender, Hostas, Pink Lace Hydrangea, Pink Weigela and Day Lilly

-Assorted Bulbs

-(1) Locust trees lining Culver Road (this will not be removed)

Goals and Objectives

  • Enhance the classic aesthetics of the neighborhood
  • Low impact environmentally friendly design
  • Work with the City to create a design that is acceptable to the neighbors
  • Donate/reuse current park contents where appropriate


Bruce Zaretsky of Zaretsky and Associates has donated his time to create a wonderful new design for the park.  Zaretsky and Associates specializes in the design and installation of landscapes.  Their work can be seen throughout the area and includes the following public projects:

  • Strong Museum (Dancing Wings Butterfly Conservatory, Exterior Conservatory Gardens)
  • Town of Penfield (Four Corners Park, Highway Department Rain Garden)
  • Rochester General (Portland Avenue Entry, Emergency Room Expansion, Main Entrance)
  • Seneca Park Zoo

Morrison Park is the entry gate to the ABC neighborhood.  The park as it now exists is old and worn out, with trees and plants that have been neglected over the years.  We want to redevelop the park so that it retains the flavor of this historic neighborhood, while updating it and reducing necessary maintenance.  Plantings will be simple and dramatic, taking into account that this is not a pedestrian park, but a “drive-past” park.  Keeping the plant palette simple allows the passersby to experience the various effects, without cluttering the space up.

The core of the new design is the replacement of existing trees inside the park.  The new trees include (6) Dogwood, (1) Franklinia and (1) American Elm.  Two existing Locust trees along Culver Road will remain as part of the design.  Complimenting the new trees will be splashes of color from rows of Hydrangea and Forsythia bushes.  Also, all grass inside the park will be replaced by Hostas and Allium bulbs which will eliminate the need for the City to cut the grass.

The park is designed for four season of interest, with early and middle spring dominated by dwarf forsythia and flowering dogwood.  Summer bulbs such as Allium and Endless Summer Hydrangea will carry the color into fall, with a specimen Franklinia tree providing a surprising flower in October.  An American Elm will bring back memories of the amazing elm street-tree dominance of the past. There are no evergreens in

 the park because of salt spray and snow load issues, but the trees will provide a dramatic effect with their branching formations.  In addition, we will be placing a few stone compositions in the park for year-round sculptural effects.

We will be offering the small amount of perennials and the bricks from the current patio to members of the neighborhood for reuse.


  • (24) Yards of Compost Soil Amendment
  • (1) American Elm, 3-3 ½” Caliper
  • (1) Franklinia, 5-6’ Clump
  • (6) Rutgers Blend Flowering Dogwood, 2-2 ½” Caliper
  • (26) Endless Summer Hydrangea, 3 Gallon
  • (30) Gold Tide Forsythia, 3 Gallon
  • (300) Hosta, Bare Root
  • Preen
  • Mulch


  • Tear out of Current Plantings and Brick Patio Area
  • Soil Amendment and Grading
  • Bruce Zaretsky has Volunteered his Time to Supervise Installation of Plant Material by the ABC Streets Neighbors
  • ABC Streets Neighbors will be Responsible for Ongoing Care and Maintenance of the Park

Project Cost

With the donation of the design, consulting and all plant installation, the budget for the park will mainly consist of the plant material.  We would like to thank the ABC Streets Neighbors, Zaretsky and Associates and the City of Rochester for their generous support of this project.

Project Timeline

  • Design Approval November, 2009
  • Public Input/Meeting Late November, 2009
  • Fundraising Winter of 2009-2010
  • Installation Spring of 2010

Additional Needs

The curbing currently surrounding James Morrison Park is in very poor condition.  Many of the curbs are below the level of the street and present a significant safety issue.  Last summer city crews were gracious enough to raise the curbing at the east point of the park.

The ABC Neighborhood Association understands the exorbitant costs related to the replacement of the curbing.  However, we are requesting that the city finish raising the curbing along the south side of the park where the curbs are below the level of the street (Approximately 40 feet).  We believe this would be a cost effective alternative to provide safety for both pedestrians and motorist, while protecting the investment into the park.  The city currently estimates the curbing will be replaced in 15-25 years.


James Hondorf

ABC Streets Neighborhood Association, Board Member

825 Harvard Street Upper

Rochester, New York 14610

585-281-1914 Mobile

Bruce Zaretsky

Zaretsky and Associates

1965 Watson Hulburt Road

Macedon, New York 14502


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