Franklin Square Park is alive with natural beauty! 

What was once a neighborhood full of factories due to the salt industry centered on Onondaga Lake is now a transformed neighborhood full of residents, employees, history, and vibrant life! Franklin Square today is a live-work neighborhood including multiple businesses: Freedom of EspressoBoulangerieCentral Rock Gym, and Sutton Real Estate Company, LLC., to name a few, along with connected neighbors and a stunning park (see before and after images below) thanks to the recent dedication and hard work of local volunteers and donors!

Working Together 

Beginning in May of 2020, with a motivation to get outside, Linda Llewellyn, a Sutton resident, took it upon herself to begin work on weeding the overgrown gardens in Franklin Square Park. Slowly but surely, Linda cleaned out multiple overgrown beds and started to plant flowers while gaining attention from other local park volunteers and visitors. Linda’s creative efforts and ability to connect to people organically have resulted in a dedicated park volunteer and donor group working in partnership with the City of Syracuse. The volunteers have taken over management of the gardens in Franklin Square Park, Plum Street Circle, and parts of the Onondaga Creek Walk

Before pictures of Franklin Square Park, 2020 provided by Linda Llewellyn.

The volunteers handle all grounds maintenance, including but not limited to buying, digging, sweeping, weeding, planting, pruning, and designing. The City of Syracuse has recognized the volunteer’s work. The city mows the grass, trims the high trees, gives water access, plumbers run the sprinklers, and the city picks up the piles of debris. Freedom of Espresso has even donated their coffee grounds which make an excellent insect repellent! The Lofts at Franklin Square, managed by Sutton, have made available storage facilities and access to tools, including a large water vessel on a cart to help bring water to less accessible areas for the volunteer group to use. 

This year the volunteers were invited at the end of May to select hundreds of flowers from the Syracuse City Greenhouse, which resulted in taking over more raised beds within the park. The volunteers also took a field trip to Oswego, NY to help gather and replant hosta’s and ferns, from a lovely couple’s home who wanted to downsize their 40 year old garden which helped to expand the outside beds. The volunteer group was awarded two grants between 2021 and 2022 from Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today, (TNT) which have allowed even more beautification of the park and for the volunteers to support local nurseries such as Aspinall’s Tree Nursery and LandscapingChuck Hafner’sDickman Farms and Little York Plantation. Each of the eight sectors of the city can be awarded a grant through TNT, so we encourage you and your neighbors to learn more!

This summer is a beautiful time to explore the park and view the artistic creations of the volunteers. You’ll find many unique plants and items planted in memory of others. Nature has a way of drawing people near during times of isolation. It’s incredible to see how the park has positively impacted the environment, and the mental and physical health of many volunteers, residents, and the larger community. The volunteers have brought together the city, business, and multiple people, which is truly inspirational.

After pictures of Franklin Square Park, 2022 by Mariel Mirra.

Franklin Square Park (FSP) Tree Walk

Linda and Robbie Lewis, another park volunteer, recently expanded their knowledge and became CommuniTREE Stewards through the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Wanting to put their classroom knowledge to use, Linda and Robbie partnered with the volunteers and created a tree walk, “Franklin Square Park Tree Walk” using Google Maps.

Today, anyone can indulge in taking a walk in the park while identifying the different trees’ genesis and species of the trees currently marked (20+). This map also helps meet the goals of the city’s Urban Forest Master plan and connects the entire community to the urban forest. Future ideas on expanding the tree walk, including an interactive component, are already being brainstormed!

Franklin Square Tree Walk

Volunteers and Donors

Securing donations from friends’ gardens and the ability to purchase bulbs and plants from local nurseries has been vital in gaining traction in the overgrown park. A majority of work completed in 2020 was donated by two volunteers and a resident of Sutton, which included 17 yards of mulch. Today more than half a dozen independent gardeners have shared and continue to share their bounty when splitting perennials in their gardens. This work would not be possible without the amazing volunteers and donors we would like to recognize.

2022 Volunteers

Fernando Araya, Tom Calzolaio, Steve Conrad, Dan Downes, Anne Downes, Shanzea Farooqu, Paul Harvey, Robbie Lewis, Tom Lewis, Linda Llewellyn, Sana Zekri, and Taylor Zekri.

2022 Donors

Sutton Real Estate Company, Freedom of Espresso, Tomorrow’s Neighboorhoods Today, Inc., Bonnie Calzolaio, Jane Dorsey, Sally and Paul Dussere, Judy Fox, Shelly Episcopo, Karen Lang, Barbara and Walter Smith, Doug Sutherland, and Carol Valentino.

From left to right Fernando Araya, Steve Conrad, Linda Llewellyn, Taylor Zekri, and Paul Harvey. Missing from photo Robbie Lewis.
Volunteers from left to right Fernando Araya, Steve Conrad, Linda Llewellyn, Taylor Zekri, and Paul Harvey. Missing from photo: Tom Calzolaio, Dan Downes, Anne Downes, Shanzea Farooqu, Robbie Lewis, and Sana Zekri. Photo by Mariel Mirra.

Interested in relocating to Franklin Square?

Sutton Real Estate Company, LLC. manages multiple properties in Franklin Square, including The FoundryThe Lofts at FranklinLakefront Lofts, and Plum Court. Sutton currently has two large offices for rent at 115 Solar Street in Syracuse, NY. 

To learn more, check out or contact Kristen Nave

Franklin Square Plum Court
Franklin Square Park
Freedom of Espresso
Franklin Square

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