Monroe County Executive Adam Bello Announces Rebuilding of Highland Park's Children's Pavilion

April 28th, 2022

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Monroe County Executive Adam Bello today announced that funding is in place to rebuild the historic Highland Park Children’s Pavilion. The announcement comes during Olmsted Week as Monroe County celebrates its bicentennial and the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted – the designer of Highland Park and the original pavilion.

Frederick Law Olmsted’s original design for historic Highland Park included a Children’s Pavilion with a raised, covered meeting space offering dramatic views of the City of Rochester, Lake Ontario and the distant Bristol Hills. The pavilion, dedicated in 1890, overlooked the park for 73 years until deterioration in the mid-20th century led to its demolition.

“The reconstruction of the Children’s Pavilion is an important element of restoring Highland Park to the vision Frederick Law Olmsted intended,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “Rebuilding the Children’s Pavilion honors Olmstead’s genius and will provide our community with a beautiful, accessible space for all to enjoy as they wander throughout the park and its trail systems. I thank Senators Jeremy Cooney and Samra Brouk, Assembly member Harry Bronson, the Highland Park Conservancy, New York State Parks and the Monroe County Legislature for investing in this magnificent restoration of Olmstead’s design, which will be enjoyed by new generations to come.”

Rebuilding the Children’s Pavilion fulfills the original 1960s Rochester City Council resolution permitting the county to demolish the building, which included the condition that Monroe County would replace the pavilion. As did the original pavilion, the new three-story round timber frame structure at the high point of the park provides free, universal, public access to a 360-degree treetop view of the countryside. The inclusion of an elevator will ensure accessibility for all to enjoy the vistas at the top of the pavilion.

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans: “The Highland Park Children’s Pavilion was a grand testament to Rochester’s commitment to nurturing the health and wellbeing of our most precious resource – our children. I am grateful to County Executive Adam Bello and our many community partners for making it a priority to reconstruct this wonderful monument and for their steadfast advocacy to return this pavilion to Highland Park and honor the vision of Frederick Law Olmsted.

New York State Assembly Member Harry Bronson: “Highland Park is one of our community’s most treasured outdoor spaces. Springtime lilacs, Fall’s changing leaves, Winter sledding and Summer Strolls attract visitors year round. When I was approached by the Highland Park Conservancy several years ago with a request for funding to rebuild the famed Children’s Pavilion, I knew that we needed to deliver this funding to complete this historic project. Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision for our park included this pavilion and for decades our park has been without it. Thank you to County Executive Adam Bello and the members of the Highland Park Conservancy for your commitment to this project. Generations of families will enjoy the new Children’s Pavilion!”

New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney: “I grew up down the street from Highland Park and know it’s a true gem for our Rochester community. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in Albany to deliver funds for the reconstruction of the historic Children’s Pavilion. Government is at its best when we work in partnership to deliver for our community. New York State is proud to partner with Monroe County on this important project to restore the vision of world famous architect Frederick Law Olmstead, and create a new gathering space for families.”

New York State Senator Samra Brouk: The rebuilding of the Highland Park’s historic Children’s Pavilion is an incredible accomplishment that is the result of leaders in state and local government working together in unison. This Pavilion will not only reinstill the vision that Frederick Law Olmsted had for Highland Park, but will create a much needed space for our community to enjoy. I am proud of the role I played in securing funding for this project, both in advocating for state grant funding and allocating funds from the Senate alongside Senator Jeremy Cooney. I am excited to watch this new chapter for Highland Park unfold, and look forward to continuing to advocate for our local parks and green space.”

New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid: “New York State Parks is pleased to work with Monroe County to replace the key lost element of this historic park. Through the assistance of the Environmental Protection Fund, New York State is helping to enhance parks and outdoor recreation, while preserving the historic make-up of our communities.”

Highland Park Conservancy President, Joann Beck: “The Children’s Pavilion Reconstruction Project will fulfill the goal of a longstanding grassroots effort to rebuild the crowning element of Highland Park, and to celebrate the enduring value of our historic parks, in this Frederick Law Olmsted bicentennial year.”

The new pavilion’s expected cost is $3.13 million. Earlier this year, Monroe County committed to bond the full cost, in order to cover any shortfall from ongoing fundraising. To date, more than $2.2 million is committed, including: $500,000 secured by Assemblyman Harry Bronson through a New York State and Municipal Facilities Grant; $500,000 from an Environmental Protection Fund grant administered by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; $100,000 from state Senators Jeremy Cooney and Samra Brouk; and $1.12 Million raised through private donations to the Highland Park Conservancy.

Design work is underway. Construction is scheduled to begin in October and be complete the following year.