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Hoyt Lake gift is also fundraiser for Olmsted Parks Conservancy

Father and son Herb and Aaron Siegel have long shared a deep appreciation for Hoyt Lake and the surrounding parkland.

Through their Herb and Aaron Siegel Foundation, they are giving the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy $100,000 to replace rundown paving stones on the west shore of the lake, northwest of Marcy Casino. But that's not all: The Siegels are also providing $200,000 more to create an endowment to maintain the permanent walkway and make some discretionary cash available to the conservancy.

The new paving stones will be engraved with the names of donors, creating the potential to raise $1 million for the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

"This is an absolutely outstanding gift in that it provides rehabilitation funding, sustainable fundraising mechanisms and an endowment for maintenance," said Stephanie Crockatt, the conservancy's executive director. "I don't think we have ever had a gift before where all three of these things are included."

Around 1,000 paving stones will be available in two sizes. Engraving prices are $500 and $1,000 through the end of the year, rising to $750 and $1,250 in 2018.

The engraved stones are expected to be sold and installed by the ribbon cutting in June.

Aaron Siegel said the conservancy's need to raise about 60 percent of its funding each year creates a burden he and his father are hoping to lessen with their gift.

"One of the linchpins of the 150th anniversary of our Olmsted parks in 2018 is the creation of an endowment with a goal of $10 million, and this will be the first step in that process," said Aaron Siegel, who like his father before him is a conservancy board member.

"Through the creation of a larger endowment, we are going to ensure the viability of the parks for our children and grandchildren," Aaron Siegel said.

The rehabilitated area is in one of the most photographed parts of Delaware Park.

Paying homage to the past, original cornerstone markings where an 1870s-era grandstand once stood will be included in the design, Crockatt said.

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