I rarely go to Broderick Park (foot of Ferry) unless I’m using it as an access point for the Niagara River bike trail. Why is that? Because it’s mostly a parking lot, with limited green space. It’s dirty… and that’s an understatement. There are dead fish laying around. It’s got broken benches, broken railings and a broken spirit. At the same time, it has good bones (not fish bones). There’s an operational hamburger shack with bathrooms, a nice view onto the Peace Bridge and the Canadian side, access to the bike trail and Bird Island Pier, shady trees, it’s flanked by the Black Rock Channel, and it was a final US destination for slaves traveling along the Underground Railroad.
Councilman David Rivera and I took a walk through Broderick Park last week and talked about the conditions of the underutilized park. Then we took a drive over to Tow Path Park (foot of Hertel) to see many of the improvements that have turned that waterfront amenity around. David pointed out the colorful paved trail with stamped fish patterns, the attractive light standards, the sturdy railings, the manicured tree beds… the list went on and on. We talked to a couple of fishermen who told us that they love coming to the park because it is so well maintained. The parking spaces are near the entrance, not near the water. It’s very clear that the people who use the park, respect it. There were no dead fish lying around, or trash. The two parks were like night and day.
Incredibly, there is finally a push to get Broderick Park in ship shape. I talked to David just one day later and he informed me that a group is coming together to tackle the issues… and it looks like there’s money available to fix up a lot of this mess. He mentioned that Riverkeeper, The Microparks, Senator Antoine Thompson, and Assemblyman Sam Hoyt (among others), were convening as soon as possible to implement a plan. David was hopeful that many of the improvements at Tow Path Park could be transferred to Broderick Park. That means that the ridiculous amount of riverside parking will be re-examined, and the overall neglect will most likely be remedied. I would also hope that the group makes sure that the park is patrolled after closing hours in order to keep the vagrants and the prostitutes from taking over past 10pm.
Members of Rich Products and Rock Harbor Village got together to clean Broderick Park for Earth Day. The event particpants, organized by Riverkeeper, managed to haul in over sixty bags of garbage. That doesn’t even include the larger pieces of junk shown in the photo.