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The park is bounded by Avery Avenue, Coleridge Avenue, and Grand Avenue.
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John Barber Burnet and his wife Cynthia M. Burnet gave the land for Burnet Park to the City of Syracuse in 1886. When the Burnets transferred the title, they included six conditions in the deed. The penalty for failing to comply with any of the covenants was the reversion of title.
The six conditions were:1. That the premises should be at all times maintained, kept and uses as a public park, and shall be named and called Burnet Park in honor of the late Hon. Moses D. Burnet, father of John Burnet.2. That no intoxicating liquors or beverages should be at any time permitted to be sold or drunk in the Park and no street railroad be permitted to be built or used in or across the park.3. That Syracuse should immediately employ a competent landscape gardener to properly layout and map Burnet Park.4. That $10,000 should be spent in improving and maintaining the park in the following 5 years: 1887 - 1891. Annually after that, $3,000 should be appropriated for maintenance and care.5. That Syracuse shall, on or before September 1, 1888, pave the two streets leading to the main entrance of the park and, grade and pave the gutters as well. These streets are Pear Street (now Milton Ave), from W. Genesee Street, and Furnace Street (Now Wilbur Ave).6. The City of Syracuse shall do their part at the same time that the Burnets do.
A further stated but unwritten condition was that the park and surrounding area, then a part of the Village of Geddes, would be annexed by the city of Syracuse. This took place the same year the property was sold.
Syracuse almost lost the title to the property for failing to comply with the terms of sale. The difficulty was in the required paving of the two roads. During his lifetime, John Burnet had granted extensions to the deadline. He was quite willing to let the city take a reasonable period of time to fulfill its share of the bargain, particularly as the work was being accomplished within the park itself.
However, after John Burnets death in 1889, his heirs, most notably his son Moses D. Burnet, refused to offer further extensions. It is unclear from the sometime conflicting positions if the heirs truley wanted to repossess the park land or if they only meant to pressure the city into completing the work. Ultimatley, the questions became moot when the circuit court found in favor of Syracuse.
Alfred Egerton and John Bogart designed the park in 1887. The title block on their design lists them as "Civil Engineers & Landscape Architects."
Work on the park progressed swiftly. A June 5, 1890 newspaper article provides the following inventory: Three thousand trees have been transplanted, 23,000 square feet of sodding along the four miles of roadway, 7,700 square feet of cobblestone paving in the gutters and 1,500 feet of sewerpipes were laid.
The first alterations to the park began in 1901. An already existing baseball diamond was altered and extended. A golf course was laid out and opened in August. An organized gold club existed by 1912 and that year a request was made to construct a club house.
A zoological commission was formed in 1912 and 2 years later, the Burnet Park Zoo opened in its first incarnation. Recreational amenities continued to be added.
A 1915 news paper article about Burnet Park Pool dates the construction of the prior to then. A bathhouse adjacent to the pool was constructed in 1917. Additional baseball diamonds were open in 1920.
In 1963 the nine-hole golf course was renovated, and 1967 brought additional handball courts. After several delays and increased costs, a new ice skating rink opened at the end of 1969. However, nothing could compare to the $1 million renovation that took place throughout the 80s that touched almost ever portion of the park...