Mark Sommer’s Oct. 17 detailed Buffalo News article, along with Derek Gee’s excellent photographs, give perspective to the decision by the Ralph Wilson Foundation to donate $100 million to both Buffalo and Detroit for their park systems. Wow, what a gift to our community!
As we know, Buffalo’s fairly unique design element is the hub and spoke created by Joseph Ellicott around 1804, with Niagara Square serving as the hub. Frederick Law Olmsted attempted, beginning in 1868 and over the next three decades, to connect the spokes with the nation’s first park and parkway system. The waterfront connections were hampered by all the industry along the waterways, including the Buffalo and Niagara rivers and Lake Erie.
Our generation has embarked on cleaning up the polluted land and water from that 150-year industrial past.
If we see the new Ralph C. Wilson Centennial Park as the hub for our Olmsted park system and engage all the community organizations within a one-mile radius (15-20 minute walk) of the spokes and parkways for design input, we can enable most people in Buffalo to walk or bicycle to a component of the completed and finally connected 21st Century Buffalo Olmsted Park System.
That would be a legacy we could all be proud of helping to accomplish.
IMAGINE Series Founder & Coordinator