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    The Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs is the sole local government agency charged specifically with providing recreation for city residents. Approximately 1,000 acres of parks, playgrounds and open spaces are included under the Department’s stewardship.

    Our mission is to cultivate and sustain leisure programming while providing attractive parks that will enrich the quality of life, for all residents and visitors, as well as preserve it for future generations. 

    The Syracuse Parks Department is responsible for coordinating, administering, and staffing a variety of recreational, support, and special events programs. These goals are accomplished through Special Events, Senior Programs, Aquatics, Adult Programs, Ice Rinks, Golf, Youth Programs, Forestry and Grounds Divisions. The Department also has an Office of Graphics and an Office of Planning and Development that serve the public through capital improvements, community programs and the creation of signage and graphics for the parks.

    Please click here for volunteer opportunities!

    Media Contact Information:

    Questions regarding the Syracuse Parks & Recreation should be directed to:

    • Lazarus Sims, Commissioner - (315) 473-4330 ext. 3018

    Photo/Video Policy:

    During your use or visit to any City park, open space or facility located throughout the City of Syracuse, you may be photographed, videotaped, or filmed by the Department of Parks or any other party given explicit authorization by the Department of Parks to take photos, videotape, or film in these areas.  Your attendance, admission, or use of any or all City parks, open space or facility located throughout the City of Syracuse operates as express consent for the use, reproduction, or publication of these images by the City of Syracuse.  Any commercial photography or filming is strictly prohibited without express authorization of the Department of Parks.


    The Adult Athletic Division coordinates the schedules and games for basketball, softball, broomball, volleyball and lacrosse leagues, which combined have more than 10,000 participants.

    The Aquatics programs operate out of three indoor pools (Huntington, Southwest, & Valley) all year round. During the summer months eight pools are open; these include: 
    BurnetKirkLincolnMcKinleyOnondagaSchillerThornden and Wilson. Open swim and lap hours are available at these pools. A variety of programs are offered throughout the year including: learn-to-swim,adult and children classes, water exercise, lifeguard and water safety courses. The pools are also used by swim teams for City and County meets.

    The Ice Rink Division oversees and maintains winter ice rinks at SunnycrestMeachem and Clinton Square. These facilities offer public skating, league and club skating and lessons. Meachem and Sunnycrest Rinks, both of which are enclosed rinks, are open November 1 to March 30. Clinton Square, which is an outdoor rink is open mid-November to mid-Mach, weather permitting. All rinks have warming room facilities and offer skate rentals. The rinks are staffed by city employees and offer a variety of learn-to-skate programs.

    The Forestry Division is responsible for maintaining approximately 35,000 street trees on 450 miles of city streets and for park trees throughout the parks system. This Division provides a continuous program of tree planting, trimming and removal of City street trees in order to maintain a healthy and abundant tree population. Routine trimming and removals are done year round, and tree planting is done during the spring and fall.

    Two City Parks, Burnet and Sunnycrest, have nine-hole par 3 courses, open from May 1st to October 15th. The Courses are the only two golf courses located within the City of Syracuse and are each located within 5 minutes of downtown Syracuse. The courses easily see 30,000 rounds of play each season and offer not only open play, but league play as well, including both Senior and Junior Leagues. In addition, the courses attract many local schools and youth organizations whose children receive golf instruction. These courses also support several city-wide Junior and Senior golf tournaments. There is a fee charged for the use of the courses. Season passes and daily admission are available to everyone regardless of age or experience.

    The City’s Greenhouse operates under the Parks Ground Division. There is a staff of (3) gardeners and a supervisor. They are responsible for approximately 125 planting sites located throughout the City. These sites vary and include traffic islands, park and neighborhood entrance signs, and planting barrels. Every year the greenhouse is responsible for planting approximately 50,000 summer annuals; 15,000 spring bulbs; 300 perennials; and 25 Foliage plants are purchased yearly to be used for various events. The staff is responsible for growing a majority of the annual flowers from seed and for the watering and weeding of the planting sites. The greenhouse also supplies neighborhood groups with flowers to plant in park locations.

    The Grounds Division of the Parks department is responsible for overall maintenance and ‘clean' up’ of the city’s parks. This division deploys “roving” crews to parks in the different quadrants of the city on a daily basis; garbage cans are emptied, leaves are picked up, and snow is plowed. Scheduled lawn mowing is completed by contract services, which is overseen by this division. A few of the larger parks like Thornden, Burnet, and Onondaga have staff that focus on the maintenance of that park. These divisions also supports other divisions like Special Events for set up and break down. For more specialized repairs to park facilities the Parks Department relies on the DPW Skilled Trades (carpenters, plumbers, electricians and roofers).

    The Office of Planning Development is responsible for developing and updating yearly, the Parks Department’s 5-year Capital Improvement Program. This office works with other departments to coordinate and oversee capital improvements construction projects throughout the parks system. This office is also responsible for the storage, updating, and archiving of project files, drawings, and site plans of park properties.

    Through its Senior Centers, the Department offers a host of recreational fitness and advocacy programs and a wide variety of activities for the community’s senior population, including speakers, day trips, Bingo, exercise programs, various health screening programs, holiday parties, legal services, and daily lunches. 

    The Special Events Division of Syracuse Parks is responsible for all aspects of scheduling, permitting and coordination of a variety of activities and events that occur throughout the year. This Division relies on other City Departments like DPW for support during these various events for skilled trades work and street cleaning. Events are open to public and free.

    The Youth Recreation Division provides a wide range of “drop in” and registration-based recreational and educational opportunities open to all city youth through its operation of neighborhood community centers,  school-based recreation sites, and numerous summer recreation programs.  Year-Round and Summertime youth recreation programs target boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 15, residing in neighborhoods surrounding the Community Centers and Summer Recreation sites.  All “drop-in” programs are free of charge to city residents and may include a variety of structured activities, along with periods of supervised free play.  Registration-based programs may require a modest fee and include such opportunities as summer sport and experiential learning camps, basketball leagues, sport clinics, and swim lessons.

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