Skaters, cyclists, runners and just about anyone else who uses Ring Road in Delaware Park for exercise or recreation are in for a much-needed, long-awaited treat.
The recreational road, which has not been paved in about 30 years, will be resurfaced next year, officials said, and a $300,000 grant will cover the project.
A special "modified fine top" asphalt will be used and will provide a smoother surface for in-line and roller skaters. Once completed, the special surface does not get slippery when wet, said Steve Stempniak, the city's commissioner of public works, parks and streets.
Officials gathered at the Delaware Park entrance to the Buffalo Zoo on Tuesday afternoon to announce the grant.
"Ring Road . . . is in desperate need of resurfacing," said State Sen. Antoine M. Thompson, D-Buffalo, who secured the funding and who runs regularly on the park road.
"I am happy that I was able to secure funding for these repairs so that everyone who comes to Delaware Park can enjoy their experience."
Elease Walker has been using Ring Road since she ran track at McKinley High School. The 1999 graduate said she never thought the road would ever be repaved.
"It's in need of repair, and it's been getting worse and worse. It's just unsightly," she said while taking a break from her workout Tuesday.
Michael Glick, a participant in the Corporate Challenge for the last several years, said he has always been unhappy with the road's condition.
"It's not clean and finished. It looks all beat-up. So many people run that race, and to have it look like that is quite a shame," he said.
The repaving project is expected to be completed by fall 2010, but officials hope it will be ready in time for next year's Corporate Challenge, which this year was held in June.
The project will be completed in segments so that Delaware Park will not be closed, Stempniak said.
"Ring Road . . . is used by hundreds of thousands of people annually," said Thomas Herrera-Mishler, head of the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, and the grant for repaving will "greatly improve" it.