Gananda, New York
Gananda is a small "master planned community" located in Wayne County, New York, about a half-hour outside of the city of Rochester, New York. Gananda is considered a community because it does not have its own zip code; it consists of a small portion of the adjoining towns of Walworth and Macedon. While originally designed to be a city with upwards of 90,000 residents, the removal of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding brought about its current design with fewer than 10,000 residents.
Gananda was one of thirteen planned communities receiving Federal guaranty assistance from HUD as part of their New Communities Program, created under the authority of the National Urban Policy and New Community Development Act of 1970. The original city of Gananda was to have occupied a total of 10,500 acres (42 km2) and have an expected population of over 90,000 after 30 years. The city would have had approximately 17,000 houses, 12 neighborhood centers, 1 major regional shopping center, 3 smaller shopping centers and a system of recreational facilities containing swimming pools, playgrounds, and open space for parks and buffer spaces between housing known as "Forever Wild". The state of New York created a new school district for the planned city, Gananda Central School District which had the unique ability to lease school facilities allowing for normal educational usage during school hours and community usage after hours.
The new city had its flag raising ceremony on September 20, 1973 with the school system operating out of the first of the completed educational and community facilities at 1500 Dayspring Ridge. The first graduating class from the new school system was the Class of 1974. By this point much of the underground infrastructure (water, power, gas, cable television and telephone) had been laid and work on major roadways was on schedule. Problems arose when the company in charge of building the new community, Gananda Development Corporation, ran into financial difficulties in the first and second quarters of 1973. The corporation did not meet liquidity requirements set out by HUD and applied for an additional $14,000,000 guaranty as it would be completely bankrupt by the first quarter of 1975 without the infusion. This was in addition to the original $22,000,000 guaranty from HUD. With the end of 1974 came the end of the City of Gananda. HUD denied any additional funding for Gananda and sold back all but 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) of the proposed city.
Remnants of the City of Gananda
When HUD finished terminating its interests in the project in 1977 the completed structures from the new city were one of the educational and community facilities, one of the community pools, one of the community parks, underground infrastructure (Electric, Water, Sewer, Gas and Cable TV) and a water treatment facility. The original educational and community facility housed the entire K-12 school system until the 1980s when Richard Mann Elementary was built on the site of the former community garden at 1366 Waterford Road. After renovations the HUD-financed facility contained grades 6-12 until the early 2000s, when the completion of Ruben A. Cirillo high school meant that the original building would only house grades 6-8 and the District offices. The single completed community pool was at 3290 Wildflower Drive and was operated by the community until the early 1990s when financial difficulties caused the property to be sold to the YMCA of Greater Rochester. It operated as a YMCA facility until the early 2000s when it shut down for the last time. The pool and original pool building still exist though now as part of a private residence. The community did not lose access to a public pool though as the opening of Ruben A. Cirillo high school also brought about major renovations and additions to Richard Mann Elementary, one of which was an indoor pool open to the public. The only completed public park was Fox Tail Park, located in the center of the area Wildflower drive encircles. It originally contained a full playground and sports fields of which only the sports fields remain (presently used by the Middle School). The playground was removed in the early 1990s for a new parking lot and gym addition on the present-day Middle school. In addition to these buildings, Gananda is still unique from its neighboring towns in the sense that all utility lines are buried underground whereas once one leaves Gananda utilities are once again carried above ground by utility poles. When HUD discontinued its financial backing of the project the roadbed for both sides of a four-lane Gananda Parkway had already been constructed from Eddy Road to almost Walworth/Penfield Road, State Route 441 (itself slated to have been widened to a four-lane highway had the City of Gananda ever come to fruition). However, with funding from the original project gone, only one side was completed which forms the current Gananda Parkway. The roadbed for the other side of the original four-lane Gananda Parkway is still visible in person as well as via Satellite imagery and an easement still exists if population growth ever warrants its completion.
- "1973 Executive Summary of Gananda" (PDF). U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
- "Note from Grant Mitchell, Assistant General Counsel New Communities, to Robert Elliot concerning the progress of Title IV and VII new communities" (PDF). U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
- "Press Release from the Department of Housing and Urban Development entitled "History of the New Communities Program"." (PDF). U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
- "Use of Revolving Funds Under New Community Development Program" (PDF). Government Accountability Office. Retrieved 2009-02-15.
- "Wayne County, NY Tax Map detailing location of Fox Tail Park" (PDF). Wayne County Real Property Tax Service. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
- Gananda CSD, Official website of Gananda Central School District
- Bing Maps, View of roadbed for planned four-lane Gananda Parkway (must be viewed in Bird’s Eye View)
- New Town Blues, Article in Time Magazine from 16 Oct. 1978
- Planned Community Archives, Digital Version of documents from the Planned Community Archives collection at George Mason University