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MAKE DELAWARE PARK A GATHERING PLACE

As a lifelong North Buffalo resident who uses Delaware Park four or five days a week, I am against relocating the Buffalo Zoo. Changes are definitely needed, but at what expense to taxpayers?

Have zoo officials studied the use of surrounding land? The picnic area along Amherst Street, north of the zoo, is hardly used. Perhaps the zoo could expand into this area, move the playground farther west along Amherst and reuse the old cobblestones for ring road, as was done in the Cobblestone District. Then we could finally repave ring road, which needs a new facing.

Another way to improve this aging park would be to lease the old golf clubhouse to a coffee house or deli operator. This would be a great place for all of the runners, walkers and golfers to enjoy a drink or snack.

This establishment could also rent roller-blades in the spring, summer and fall and cross-country skis in the winter. This would truly make Delaware Park and the zoo a gathering place.

Finally, the city should ban all auto traffic on ring road on Saturdays and Sundays. Parking is allowed on nearby roads -- such as Amherst Street, Parkside Avenue and Nottingham Terrace -- on the weekends. This way, park users wouldn't have to worry about drivers doing 35 mph in a 15-mph park.

TOM LARSEN Buffalo

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