HORNELL, N.Y. (WETM) – Hornell has officially broken ground on a brand new park downtown, with city officials saying it’s an important step in bringing new life to downtown.

The City announced that it broke ground on Union Square Park on April 10, 2023, the first of several projects that are part of the 2019 Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant. The park, located on Seneca St. by Community Bank, will be just under an acre with a memorial to fallen Hornell Sgt. Daniel J. Swift who died in 1973. It will also have lighted walkways, benches, a fountain, and an amphitheater.

Hornell Mayor John Buckley said at the groundbreaking that this was a significant movement to rejuvenate downtown Hornell since this is the first new park in the Maple City in almost 50 years.

“Losing Union Park downtown in the 1970s to urban renewal created a lot of heartache for City residents,” Buckley said. “Having a pedestrian park back in downtown Hornell will fill the void that was created decades ago, and will be something our community can be proud of for generations to come. Looking forward, this project will bring great benefits to our City’s downtown and our residents.”

The Hornell Common Council approved the construction bid from C.P. Ward for $1,244,742 in March 2023, the city said. Since it was approved in 2019, the construction faced several delays, driving up the cost. Earlier this year, NYS provided another $376,000 to make up for the higher costs.

The park is expected to have its grand opening later in 2023.