Fort Ontario Welcomes Back Independence Day Parade

OSWEGO, NY – The annual Independence Day Parade will run from the west side of the City of Oswego to Fort Ontario this year.

There will be music, food, and other activities at the fort after the parade right up to the fireworks.

In preparation for 2011 Independence Day Parade, to be held Sunday, the Oswego Police Department wishes to announce the following traffic advisories and general information:

Alcoholic Beverages / Open Container Ordinance – The parade is designated to be a fun family oriented event and we ask all those attending to be respectful of others and to act responsibly.

The city of Oswego’s Open Container Ordinance, which prohibits the possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage in a public place, will remain in effect throughout this event.

Traffic Control / Signage – The Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce has decided to reverse the parade route this year.

As such, the parade will begin along Liberty Street, proceeding north from Oswego High School and then proceed east on State Route 104 to East Ninth Street.

As always, intersections along the parade route will be barricaded and there will be uniformed police officers posted at several of them.

As a result, pedestrians and motorists will see an increase in traffic on Utica Street during the parade, and we ask that they utilize extreme caution due to the partially closed status of the Utica Street Bridge.

Street Closings – On Sunday, beginning at noon the barricades along the parade route will be put into place, effectively closing State Route 104 to vehicular traffic from East Tenth Street to Hillside Avenue.

This will remain in effect until the conclusion of the parade.

Additionally, there are a number of temporary parking restrictions that motorists should be aware of (see listing of affected streets below).

Parking – Parking is limited near the parade route.

The following temporary parking restrictions will be in effect:

Liberty Street from West Utica Street to West Bridge Street (No Parking)
State Route 104 from Liberty Street to East Tenth Street (No Parking)
East Ninth Street from East Bridge Street to Mitchell Street (No Parking)

Meanwhile, work continues to improve the historic site.

The search for the French drains will go on.

“We’re trying to find the French drain; the original 1840s drain, it’s like a cave underground,” said Paul Lear, historic site manager.

The parade ground was originally designed to slope down so the water would run off through the underground system and discharge toward the lake.

“We want to find it, clear it out and make it work again. It probably was damaged over the years, cut through when they added newer drain systems,” he said. “The goal is to get a lot of the water out of these buildings’ basements.”

The moisture builds up and causes problems to the building and whatever displays it might house.

“What we’re looking to do in the end process is separate the storm sewer and sanitary sewer lines. So the more information we can gather about existing systems and condition, the better,” he added. “We know that we’re working in areas that were previously disturbed – there are electric lines in here.  Right now it’s more exploratory, see what lines are active, which are clogged or broken.”

The plan right now is to re-utilize the combined sewer system, make it strictly storm water and ground water and run a new line for just sanitary services.

It looks like the stones, that were unearthed, are part of an early 20th century system.

The French drains carried away groundwater, not sewage.  Human waste went into boxes in the privies and was emptied by soldier prisoners and deposited in the post garden.

Most of Fort Ontario’s furnishings are in the enlisted men’s barracks.

“I don’t know when they will go back in the two officers’ quarters. I’m inventorying them now. Presumably when the two officers’ quarters get insulated and the plastered walls and chimneys repaired everything will go back in,” Lear explained. “Also, we will have to install energy efficient furnaces in the two buildings as skyrocketing natural gas costs far outstripped our budgets that haven’t increased in over two decades, and, in fact have been cut.”

This work is all being done with Environmental Protection Fund money and is not related to operational and utility budgets for the park.

“It could be a few years before things get back to normal,” Lear admits.