Sustainable Sensory Garden for Ontario ARC
The Ontario ARC Eberhardt facility in Canandaigua, NY is their main center of operations, and features a large outdoor recreation area with modest pathways, landscaping, a pavilion area, swings and a few benches. A student team supported by the Finger Lakes Community Design Center redesigned the Recreation Area to create a sensory garden, provide better opportunities for passive and active recreation, and incorporated green infrastructure and environmental education opportunities. The redesign is meant to provide an interesting and functional space for all people, regardless of ability.

The student team is consulted with the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access at the University at Buffalo, an entity dedicated to making environments and products useful, safe, and healthy in response to the needs of an increasingly diverse population. As a result of this project, the Ontario ARC now has full-rendered plans to phase in a new sensory garden and recreation area. These plans account for multiple uses, the Rec Area’s budget parameters, ease of maintenance, and universal design.

Routes 5 and 20 Re-Envisioning Project in the Town/City of Geneva
Routes 5 and 20 is the main commercial corridor through the Town and City of Geneva. It is a multi-lane road that serves as an important route for local retail and commercial traffic, regional through-traffic, and tourism lodging. Unfortunately, sprawl-style and big-box development has eroded the rural and small town character of the corridor. Inconsistent zoning codes and tax structures have resulted in a confusing development environment for businesses.

To address these issues, the City and the Town of Geneva have increased collaboration with each other and the NYS Department of Transportation to promote a more appealing character along the corridor. The Finger Lakes Community Design Center developed innovative policy guidelines to facilitate communication and cooperation.

During this project, a student team investigated looked into four issues identified along the corridor of Routes 5 & 20 - aesthetics, walkability, storm water collection, and parking - and used the findings to develop specific design guidelines that could be adopted by both municipalities. Renderings were created to depict the application of these guidelines, showing the reuse of a vacant bank lot, the implementation of a parklet in a rarely used portion of a parking lot, the addition of more street trees to various properties, and a new welcome sign. A public presentation was given to representatives of the City, Town and NYSDOT, and plans are in place to continue the conversation, and make additional presentations to municipal officials.

Green Infrastructure for Historic Districts
Communities in the Finger Lakes with designated Historic Districts often seek ways to incorporate state-of-the-art sustainability and green infrastructure while maintaining the historic integrity of the individual buildings and the overall character of their community. In partnership with the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council (G/FLRPC), an HWS student team identified and detailed green infrastructure for stormwater management techniques suitable seven historic districts in Ontario County, NY.

The FLI-CDC team surveyed the archives of local historic societies and museums for evidence of green infrastructure techniques in each of the National Historic Districts, so that future installations can be designed to be as consistent with the past as possible. The students surveyed each district, mapping ideal locations for the infrastructure techniques, considering ground cover, soil type, existing infrastructure and other factors.

As a result of this project, these historic district managers received detailed manuals explaining installation and maintenance guidelines. These techniques included practices such as rain barrels, bio-swales, green roofs and permeable paving to manage, treat, capture and reuse stormwater.

Plans are in place to distribute the brochures to property owners, and copies of the best management guides can be found here.

Sustainable Design Proposals for Downtown Geneva
The City of Geneva, NY continues to upgrade public spaces and business areas using sustainable urban development practices. Like other small city governments, Geneva leaders manage the tension between budget realities and sustainable practices made permanent.

As part of the Environmental Studies 351 course at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, nineteen students explored sections of the City and developed design solutions that meet community and minimize the impact on the natural environment.

Each team developed a series of short- and long-term design proposals for their project area, including site plans and renderings of key areas illustrating their proposals. After researching examples from other communities, they developed sustainability plans for their proposals, outlining the impact their design components would have on the natural environment, the user groups of downtown Geneva and cost and financial implications. They presented their plans to community leaders, faculty, and fellow students for feedback at a public workshop in May 2013.

Asset Management with the City of Geneva
Public infrastructure management is especially important for smaller municipalities throughout the Finger Lakes. Many rural areas are suffering from job losses, population decline, high poverty, vacant buildings, and crumbling infrastructure. These in turn have led to a decrease in tax revenue, increase in public work costs, and decrease in quality of life. As fiscal constraints increase in rural areas, it becomes increasingly important to proactively manage existing infrastructure, while at the same time, anticipate future needs.

In fall 2012, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the Finger Lakes Institute and the City of Geneva partnered together to update City zoning maps. A Hobart and William Smith student was given technical support by the Colleges in order to assist the City of Geneva in digitizing old zoning maps, making them more accessible to the general public. This partnership provided the City of Geneva the technical expertise and manpower to accomplish a task that can greatly improve functionality within City operations, while also improving access to public information.

City of Geneva: Economic Development and Tourism
Like many small cities and villages in the Northeast, much of Geneva’s success depends on the vitality of the downtown area. Rich with historic buildings, restaurants, boutiques, and more, it is imperative for the economic stability of Geneva that residents and tourist have access to downtown amenities.

The student intern researched, designed, and made recommendations to encourage pedestrians and motorists to visit downtown Geneva in response to the aforementioned economic development report and others on the City of Geneva.

Construction and Demolition Debris Data Analysis
According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, as much as 30% of the solid waste in NY is comprised of construction and demolition (C&D) debris—a substantial portion of this building debris is recyclable yet still flows to disposal. This is particularly sensitive information for the Finger Lakes region because two of the largest landfills in NY—Seneca Meadows Landfill and Ontario County Landfill are located in the region. Improved access to training, a lack of markets and inconsistent markets, as well as a lack of common specifications, have all been identified as barriers to expanded C&D recycling.

This internship was offered in partnership with the NYS Construction & Demolition Resource Center at Syracuse Center of Excellence/Center for Sustainable Community Solutions. As a new program dedicated to promoting, supporting and addressing barriers to the growth of construction and demolition recycling in NY, this work directly impacts the evolution of C&D material management in NYS.

Regional Food Systems
A student researched and analyzed the local food system for promoting economic vitality and food security within proximity of Geneva, NY. Agriculture is one of the main economic drivers in the Finger Lakes region. In the nine-county region, agriculture contributes 11,577 jobs and $323.7 million in wages each year. Through their purchasing power, HWS and other large institutions in the region can be a catalyst of a food enterprise that retains profits locally, encompassing the entire food supply chain from farm to plate.

This position investigated the feasibility of vertical integration of all possible links in the pre-consumer supply chain for local food including production, distribution, processing, large institutions, and possibly restaurants. More specifically, the student intern identified regional sources of food produced sustainably; investigated existing systems that encourage locally sourced food and identify regional infrastructure and support to do so; and developed a network of local farms and food sources that would be accessible not only to HWS dining services, but also to surrounding restaurants and businesses.  Development of this network seeks to enhance the ability of businesses and communities in the region to use more locally sourced food and develop an increased social capital for the region.


Tap into the Finger Lakes Community Development Center

We welcome the interest of our community, including local planning boards, community leaders, academic collaborators, and interested citizens.

Lisa Cleckner
FLI Director
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
300 Pultney Street
Geneva, NY   14456
(315) 781-4381




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