City to dedicate Oak Hill Park steps to Laines June 16

The completed Oak Hill Park Steps renovation. Support from Erick and Marianne Laine through the Olean Parks Beautification Fund made the project possible.

The City of Olean will dedicate the newly restored Oak Hill Park steps in honor of Erick and Marianne Laine for their generous gift to make the project possible and their longtime dedication to beautification of city parks.

The public is invited to attend the dedication and ribbon cutting of the steps on the North Fourth Street side of the park at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 16.

The Laines established the Olean Parks Beautification Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation in 2014 in order to make grants to pay for landscaping and other improvements to city parks, with a first preference to Oak Hill Park.

Last year they added a major donation to the fund to provide grants to the City of Olean to hire a contractor to restore the steps to their historic appearance. Work began in fall 2017 and was completed earlier this spring, with grants covering the cost of more than $160,000.

The Laines had established the Olean Parks Beautification Fund after Marianne decided, during one her many strolls through Oak Hill Park, to try to make some significant improvements to the park.

Grants from the Olean Parks Beautification Fund have made possible park cleanups and landscaping work at Oak Hill Park, including a complete re-landscaping of the hill stretching from Washington to Putnam streets on the Fourth Street side of the park.

“Oak Hill Park has been a passion project of Marianne’s; she took it to a new level last summer with her vision for restoring the steps,” said CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit. “She showed us a postcard featuring the steps circa 1912, which were stunning, and suggested that the city restore them to that appearance.”

Marianne and CRCF then worked with the City of Olean and Mayor William Aiello to finalize plans for the steps and obtain a contractor to complete the project.

“The City of Olean is thrilled that Oak Hill Park’s majestic entrance has been restored to its original splendor through the generosity of Erick and Marianne Laine. Oak Hill Park has, for well over one hundred years, provided Olean residents with a quiet place to rest, a playground for children to enjoy, and more recently a venue to stage plays,” said Mayor Aiello.

“The park is an anchor in our downtown revitalization and the Laine’s support in Olean’s revival in greatly appreciated,” he added.

Buchheit echoed the Mayor’s feelings.

“In addition to beautifying the park, this project is about heritage, history and building something that people in the city can be proud of. We have the Laines’ vision, drive and generosity to thank for that,” Buchheit said.

“The steps are really something to marvel at, and we should all be so proud to have such a beautiful park in the heart of the city,” Buchheit added.

Donations can be made to the Olean Parks Beautification Fund at CRCF, 301 North Union St., Suite 203 or

Established in 1994, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email, or visit online CRCF is also on Facebook ( and Twitter (@CattFoundation).

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