Hotel Canandaigua wants to use the city park

CANANDAIGUA, NY – If the long-awaited opening of the Canandaigua Lakeside Hotel happens as company officials expect in May 2023, they hope a deal can be reached with the city that details its use of the public park outside its gates.

Several city council members seem willing to explore the idea with more concrete plans than those currently being proposed, but others are adamantly opposed to private enterprise using public property for its own benefit at the expense of taxpayers.

The hotel is looking to lock down a portion of the lakeside park for several hours Friday through Sunday, May through October, for wedding ceremonies as well as set-up and tear-down time associated with the event. The hotel is also looking to use the nearby public dock for guests to enjoy lake excursions in partnership with other companies as well as overnight access to it.

Part of the park could also be used for people to attend concerts in a bar and restaurant yet to be named on the hotel’s website.

Kimberly Picha, events and sales manager for Hotel Canandaigua, told the city council’s environmental committee Tuesday night that this was an “incredible opportunity” for the hotel and the city.

“We just want to make sure access to the lake property is used to best effect,” Picha said.

In order to obtain exclusive use of the park area during the hours requested, a revocable license agreement – ​​similar to one that gives Canandaigua Sailboard use of part of Kershaw Park, for example – and a fee would be charged at the hotel, according to City Manager John Goodwin.

“I wouldn’t say it would be small,” Goodwin said of the fee cost.

In general, council members want to see a more detailed plan before deciding, although council member Stephen Uebbing sees this as harmless and a good way to generate revenue and create jobs.

“I think there’s just too much to sort out,” Mayor Bob Palumbo said.

Still, Councilor Renée Sutton said she opposes all aspects of the proposal because city residents would lose access to the park, while the city maintains and cares for it.

“I’m a ‘no’ from start to finish,” Sutton said. “I don’t need to hear anymore.”

The city is in the midst of a study of its lakeside parks. Lakefront Park, for example, could see a widened pathway from Kershaw Park to allow pedestrians and cyclists. Also a possibility, a new picnic pavilion and playground, according to a disorganized discussed last month.

Work began but was halted in 2015 on the former Canandaigua Finger Lakes Resort after funding failed. Work resumed three years ago and, according to Picha, the hotel is about to finally open.

“We can’t wait for everyone to come to our new property,” Picha said.

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