115 Cedar Street
Batavia, NY 14020
History of the DeWitt Recreation Area
Prior to 1935, DeWitt Recreation Area was used as a sand and gravel quarry by Genesee LeRoy Stone Company, a subsidiary of B.R. DeWitt Inc. The site was then abandoned to become known as the sandwash, an attraction to local residents for recreational purposes. It wasn’t until November 22, 1992 that B.R. DeWitt Inc. donated the land to Genesee County with the stipulation that it was to be used for family recreation, not for organized sporting events. From this point on, the donated land became known as DeWitt Recreation Area.
The county decided that it would be best to use the park in a way to restore it to its natural setting, since it had been extensively mined for stone and gravel. This would allow a park to be developed so that it could be used for both recreation as well as environmental education, the first of this type of park in an urban setting in the history of Genesee County. The first step taken was by the Batavia Jaycees by donating funding for picnic tables and the park’s first pavilion. It was then discovered by the county that the park complied with the standards of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, and was a viable candidate for state funding for development. With this in mind, on May 24, 1995 Genesee County hired Reimann-Buechner as consultant-designer to draft a master plan for development of the park. The plan for the 63 acre park, that includes a 38 acre pond with an island, was divided into phases involving a gradual development of the park for a variety of uses. The master plan became a reality on June 6, 1996 when it was approved by the Genesee County Parks, Recreation, and Forest Advisory Committee.
To date visitors can enjoy an access road, parking areas, a picnic shelter with restrooms, public electric, water and sewer, playground, quarter mile paved trail loop, accessible fishing dock, canoe launch, marked trails, and a grading system accompanied by plantings to prevent soil erosion as well to restore the park to its pre-mining conditions.
With the continued help of many local organizations and the community, future plans for DeWitt Recreation Area will include additional parking areas, more restrooms, two additional picnic areas, a play area for preschool age children, as well as continued development of trails and plant life. Further development also includes a bridge that will be constructed at the south end of the park to continue the trail system to the island in the center of the pond, fishing piers, a floating boat dock, an amphitheater, and additional naturalized fencing for protective purposes. Due to the extreme slope and variations of water level throughout the year, it is not possible to have a swimming area that will meet NY State regulations, however there is a variety of other recreational resources in the park at this time.
With the help of you and the community we can work together to make these final stages of development a tangible reality to be enjoyed by all!