By Steve Yablonski
Ticki Tours, Sheldon Beach, Splash Indoor Waterpark and Resort and a new Turkish bakery on the east side
are among the many things that took place in Oswego since the spring semester
Oswego promotes itself as the Port City of Central New York. There have been quite a few changes in the city, especially along its waterfront, since the end of the spring semester.
The city began hosting Sunset Tiki Tours in the harbor in July.
Oswego purchased two pontoon boats outfitted as tiki-huts to troll inside the breakwall and up and down the Oswego River. Based in the city-owned and operated Wright’s Landing Marina, tiki tours – also known as booze cruises – run from July to early September, with licensed captains operating the boat while parties of six cruise throughout the harbor as the sun sets, enjoying drinks, snacks and music. Tours run through Labor Day. A boat with six passengers, costs $200 for a two-hour cruise. Guests on the tours must be 18 years old. They are responsible for bringing any drinks or food. Alcohol is permitted – for guests 21 and older only.
The 15-acre Breitbeck Park, located on the shore of Lake Ontario, has seen several enhancements recently.
The old playground was removed and replaced with a new, nautical-themed playground offering safer access and more play objects. It was custom- designed to reflect some of Oswego’s local landmarks while complementing other recent projects and investments made by the city in the park such as a splash pad playground, a mini-golf course, concession stand and installation of scenic overlooks and patio areas.
This spring, the city opened a new adult outdoor fitness court at Breitbeck. It features 30 individual pieces of equipment including push rings, pull rings, push ladders, box jumps, lunge steps and more.
The court is a free, open -to-the-public, outdoor wellness center that allows users to leverage their own body weight to get a complete workout.
The summer of 2022 also saw the return of a couple long-time favorites.
The 4th of July Independence Day Parade and annual Harborfest celebration returned after being cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The parade took place on July 3. It was followed by a downtown block party along West First Street. The day ended with fireworks launched over the Oswego River.
Harborfest, a free admission outdoor music festival historically attracts approximately 75,000 to Oswego. This year’s event ran from July 28 to 31 — highlighted by the world-class Grucci fireworks display over the Oswego Harbor.
Skate Park Opening Soon
For skateboard and in-line skate enthusiasts, the Oswego Department of Public Works is constructing a concrete skate park along the east linear river walk. The 5,000-square-foot park will feature several ramps, a half pipe, railings, and platforms to allow for plenty of skate space and fixtures for riding. The park area will have lighting and surveillance cameras installed. A nearby, unused building, will be converted into a restroom facility.
The park is expected to be completed and open this October.
Transforming Sheldon Beach
Sheldon Beach has been known to locals as the area between the Oswego Steam Station and the SUNY Oswego campus, serving as the entrance to the breakwall. The city is working to transform that area from a vacant, gravel parking lot into an accessible public park area with waterfront access.
The project will consist of a parking area, the installation of green space, a walking trail to the waterfront known as Flat Rock, new public restroom facilities and seating picnic areas. Sixth Avenue leading to the new park will be repaved. (See separate story in this issue of College Life)
The Splash Indoor Waterpark and Resort, opening late this year on East First Street, will offer year-round climate- controlled fun.
Currently under construction, this $6.7 million project is located on the campus of Broadwell Hospitality Group, LLC, next to Clarion Hotel & Suites Riverfront.
The state-of-the-art indoor waterpark will cater to locals and tourists alike. It includes two signature high-energy looping slides, a splash pad with all sorts of water action, topped by a 500-gallon tilt bucket, a 30-person hot tub and a signature retail center.
There will be three levels. The main floor is the waterpark. The second tier will be a fully-enclosed air-controlled video arcade, featuring all the new most exciting top games that are out there today as well as a full-service bar, concessions and four private party locations. On the third tier, the Steamers restaurant will flow right on through. A full-service bar will serve trendy tropical libations and a full concession menu. The food offerings in the park itself will be family-friendly (just not your traditional sit-down meal).
Oswego has several new places to eat. A couple newer locations include Tatlim Bakery, 37 E. First St., which opened this spring, bringing a bit of Turkish flavor to the Port City. Owner Sevgi Evren Familo, 29, is an émigré from Istanbul. She has lived in Oswego for eight years.
“For desserts, we serve different flavors of macarons and éclairs, as well as our crispy cream puffs and Turkish desserts, baklava and kadayif and anything else I fancy to make that day… if I have time!” she said.
Tully’s Good Times also opened on Oswego’s westside earlier this year.
Located in the former Friendly’s Ice Cream site on West Bridge Street, the Tully’s Chicken Tender Concept is a grab-and-go style eatery. There’s room inside for about 40 patrons.
It is smaller than the normal Tully’s restaurant. The truncated menu includes things like Tully’s hand-breaded fresh chicken tenders (Buffalo tenders and Asian tenders), chicken sandwiches, dips and sauces, salads and some desserts.
Other eateries are scheduled to open soon, including a franchise of Popeyes, which will be located on the east side of Oswego.