In 1998 businessman Frank J. Ludovico gave the canal side property along Bayard Street, which was an abandoned railroad bed to Wilhelmina Pusmucans to establish a Sculpture Trail.
While the trail has evolved, grown, and become a prominent part of Seneca Falls — an eminent domain process, which was initiated by the Town of Seneca Falls by calling for a public hearing — has raised questions.
Twenty years later the property could be absorbed through Eminent Domain, which would allow the Town of Seneca Falls to place a sewer line down the trail. While the Town contends that it will restore the property to better-than-current standards — community organizers are not only skeptical — but concerned that the Town has not done their due diligence.
On Wednesday, the Seneca Falls Environmental Action Committee hosted an information session for residents curious about the story behind the sculpture trail, and where things stand right now ahead of the March 6 public hearing scheduled in Seneca Falls.
One of Wilhemina’s daughters, Margaret, spoke at the session highlighting the struggles her mother endured throughout life. “It’s ironic that after 68 years and nearing the end of her life she again struggles in a place known as the Birthplace of Women’s Rights,” she recounted.
While organizers and family members had a lot of questions about the process the Town was moving through — the focus was on the lack of communication between the Town and Wilhemina. It’s been a point of contention, which has been documented at multiple meetings.
Afterward, community members and organizers looked ahead to the public hearing on eminent domain. Many inquired about holding the Town’s next meeting at an alternate location. It’s unclear if Town Officials will move it, but at this point — it appears as though it could be necessary due to an ongoing dispute between the Town and a former-vendor. That dispute has reduced the maximum occupancy of the board room from 80 to 49, which would likely not be enough to hold an ordinary meeting — given recent turnout.