OLEAN  — A collaboration between the city of Olean and the Cattaraugus County Land Bank will help to create a welcoming entrance to Franchot Park, according to a press release. 

The collaboration came to exist after the city and land bank acquired land from blighted properties at 213 and 215 W. Green St., respectively. According to the release, the land bank will deed the property at 215 W. Green St. to the city and the combined properties will become the new entrance. 

“I visited the properties the other day with a rendering of the proposed entrance to the park,” Olean Mayor William Aiello said in the release. “The entrance will give Franchot Park more of a presence in South Olean. I thank the Cattaraugus County Land Bank for helping Olean revitalize our neighborhoods and allowing us to achieve our goal of establishing a permanent and welcoming entrance to the park.” 

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“Part of the Land Bank’s mission is to restore and build value in the community by returning underutilized properties to dynamic and productive use,” Crystal Abers, director of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism and a board member of the land bank, said. “Creating a new entrance to Franchot Park, fulfills not only this major goal of our organization, but also enhances the quality of life in the neighborhood surrounding Franchot. I am thrilled that we could work with the city of Olean to achieve this objective.” 

“I am pleased that the City of Olean and the Land Bank worked together on this project," Ward 3 Alderman Paul Gonzalez said. "This proposal has been in the works since I was elected alderman, and the residents of Green Street have been very patient as all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. A new entrance to Franchot Park is great for the neighborhood and will add to our community’s revitalization effort.” 

Located on West Green Street with another entrance off South Union Street, the land for the park was donated in 1941 by Nicholas V.V. Franchot, the city's first mayor and a political appointee of New York State Gov. Frank W. Higgins. Since then, the city has added a gazebo, two pavilions, a playground, a wading pool, a basketball court and baseball and softball fields as well as gardens and orchards. 

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