The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is appealing to area residents to join its campaign urging the state to restore Delaware Park to its pre-1950s glory.
The conservancy has launched a campaign to stop the state Department of Transportation from moving forward with a plan that would eliminate 14 acres of parkland and also keep Delaware Park divided.
Construction of the Scajaquada Expressway 60 years ago divided and destroyed acres of parkland in Delaware Park, considered the jewel of Frederick Law Olmsted’s six-park system, according to Olmsted Parks Conservancy Executive Director Stephanie Crockatt.
Crockatt said it is important to appeal to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo as he continues to aid Buffalo in revitalization efforts.
"Right now, we have an unprecedented opportunity to reverse this mistake – but only if we can convince Governor Cuomo to help us save Delaware Park,” Crockatt said in a statement.
“The Governor has done so much to focus efforts to help revitalize Buffalo. Saving Delaware Park and restoring Olmsted’s vision is the type of legacy project that is a hallmark of Gov. Cuomo’s leadership,” she added.
A proposed re-design of the Scajaquada has been under study by the state DOT for more than 15 years. Two years ago, a fatal accident prompted a series of reforms aimed at enhancing public safety along what many neighbors consider to be an intrusive corridor. Temporary safety measures were put in place soon after the accident while the state developed a long-term solution.
However, Crockatt said the state's latest longterm proposal falls far short of what was what promised and does nothing to correct the mistake that was made when the Scajaquada Expressway divided Delaware Park. That decision, made decades ago, cut the park off from residential neighbors, bisected established neighborhoods, obliterated Humboldt Parkway and limited access to Main Street and the waterfront from the park.
The conservancy will hold several events and forums in the coming months aimed at joining thousands of community members who have already signed a petition to #SaveDelawarePark at Save Delaware Park: Restore Olmsted’s Legacy.