In this week’s podcast of the Buffalo Rising Roundtable on WBFO, David Colligan, chair of the board of directors for the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, joins News Director Mark Scott and me.
As Mark says at the onset, the clock is ticking down to the December 31st deadline, when the City of Buffalo will take over operations of the parks from Erie County.
Colligan is nervously optimistic that a partnership of some sort will be set in place by the City, but it’s a long time coming, and somewhat shrouded in mystery. The City, though they’ve collected data from the Olmsted Conservancy, has yet to send any information the conservancy’s way that would adopt or deny a partnering agreement for maintenance of the parks.
Since the time County Executive Chris Collins and Mayor Byron Brown announced the change of hands, much public support has gone the way of the conservancy, as the Olmsted Parks, along with the circles and parkways, have enjoyed dramatic improvements through Olmsted Conservancy efforts.
Colligan makes a good case for a partnership with the City of Buffalo, including the procurement of dollars that hang in the balance pending such an agreement. In addition, Colligan points out the benefits in tax dollars that the City enjoys, due to the upgrade in the parks that reflect on the areas around them.
Yesterday’s rally was a success in terms of bringing out public support, and tomorrow, there will be another opportunity for supporters to get involved. There will be a finance committee meeting of the Buffalo Common Council on Tuesday at 10AM in council chambers. The Olmsted Conservancy has been invited to attend the committee meeting and present their numbers, according to Colligan. He says there has been “a lot of misinformation about our numbers,” and is eager to present what he has.
Colligan says he agrees with the mayor that “there is no need to negotiate in the press,” but he would like terms negotiated, with a term sheet, which he expected to have on December 4th. Though he says terms like this can be negotiated in a day, he feels an urgency to have an agreement completed soon. “We still have time to do the deal,” Colligan says, “but we need to have negotiations take place…”