ITHACA, N.Y. ––The Friends of Stewart Park, the Wharton Studio Museum and various city council members, including Mayor Svante Myrick welcomed the opening of the park’s first all-season accessible bathrooms Thursday –– one of many upcoming projects planned to revitalize the park and make it a more community-driven space.

To the side of the historical Wharton building in Stewart Park, nearly 20 individuals commemorated the opening of these bathrooms as not only the first all-season bathrooms in Stewart Park but on the entirety of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail. The ceremony included words from the Executive Director, Co-founder of the Wharton Studio Museum and Board Chair of the Friends of Stewart Park, Diana Riesman, the Executive Director and Co-founder of the Friends of Stewart Park, Rick Manning, and Mayor Svante Myrick. 

“During the pandemic, more and more people have visited the park, “having come through over a year of the pandemic, this is just a very important addition to the park as a whole,” Riesman said. 

She added, “These bathrooms are an important first step in developing the first one thousand feet of the lakefront section of this historic building and the transformation of the former Wharton Studio into the Wharton Studio Museum.”

During the cutting, the speakers paid many thanks to major financial donors, the design and construction team and the City of Ithaca. An emphasis was also placed on the work that has been done in the last 10 years towards revitalizing Stewart Park –– in 2011, the Stewart Park Revitalization Plan was passed, marking the beginning of an effort to not only restore the park to its former glory but exceed that standard. 

“If you provide facilities for people you can actually revitalize, and what does revitalization mean? It means to bring life,” Mayor Myrick said. 

2021 marks Stewart Park’s 100th year as a public green space, and as such the Friends and local government have planned celebrations to last until the 101st year.  

The bathrooms fully open to the public Monday, June 21, and the rest of the Wharton Studio Museum events for the coming weeks can be viewed on their website. And for anyone interested, Stewart Park is also accepting funds to aid revitalization through its “Mayor Stewart Centennial Challenge.” Donations can be made on the website here

Desiree Holz

Desiree Holz is an intern at the Ithaca Voice and a rising-junior journalism student at Ithaca College. Feel free to email her with tips!