All who enjoy Olmsted parks should help to support them
In 1868, Frederick Law Olmsted created, and the city fathers approved, the first connected urban park system in the world. This most democratic of our civic treasures was free to all and has been for 150 years.
This freedom of use carries a price, however, since the general perception is that the city funds the entire park budget. While the city generously contributes 40 percent of the basic costs of this well-maintained system, the rest of the budget relies on public contributions.
Most of the large culturals in Buffalo seem to be able to raise funds for capital improvements and endowments, while the perception of the Olmsted parks as “free” seems to impede large fundraising efforts.
More people use the parks than attend pro sports in Buffalo, yet the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy constantly struggles to get beyond a maintenance budget, much less build an endowment and restore such long-gone features in the parks as the quarry garden, Vaux barn and South Park arboretum.
All who enjoy our Olmsted parks should support them by becoming conservancy members as our community celebrates this significant milestone.