There’s a grassroots effort underway that would see a new 100 plus-acre park at the Outer Harbor. The park that I am referring to is no ordinary park, rather it is one that proponents feel would elevate the entire Olmsted Park system in Buffalo, and build upon the historic nature and beauty of the park system. After all, the park that I am referring to is one that would pay homage to the an original Olmsted design that was never realized when the landscape architect made his mark on Buffalo.
A new not-for-profit, 21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor (21CP), is advocating for a park inspired by the lost Frederick Law Olmsted plan that was originally intended for South Park on Lake Erie. Due to the industrial potential of the site, the plan was never realized, and the waterfront became a place for shipping, grain, steel, etc.
Today the idea being presented is to take the plan and build an Olmstedian park on the designated area featured on the map at the bottom of this post, where suitable land is waiting to be used for such a purpose. “Increased attention is being paid to the Outer Harbor and support is growing for a significant park inspired by Frederick Law Olmsted’s original plan for South Park on Lake Erie, that was never implemented,” according to Joan Bozer, a founding member of 21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor.
Members of the 21CP feel that the park would pay homage to Olmsted’s legacy here in Buffalo, while contributing as the southern anchor of the Niagara River Greenway.
<Image: Historic sketch of a Canal to Connect Proposed South Park with Downtown Buffalo.
In order to successfully implement the park in a sensitive fashion, the not-for-profit is working with The Trust for Public Land in order to devise a “greenprint” for the park. The group has been working towards bringing the plan to public officials, and is now looking for additional public support in order to attempt to secure the land for additional public access. Congressman Brian Higgins wrote to 21CP, after learning of the plan, and noted, “Critical mass” of ongoing projects in and around the outer harbor will make the area “a tourist destination as well as a source of pride for Western New York residents.” Assemblyman Sean Ryan pointed out that “maintaining public access to the waterfront is of paramount importance.”
Image: Original South Park Plan
According to a press release that was sent out earlier today, “The future of Buffalo’s development and growth lies in making Buffalo a city in which people want to live, work, and play. Thoughtful development will increase our quality of life. The 21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor would be a public park at the edge of the city; a place for residents of Erie County and beyond to enjoy Lake Erie and its beautiful sunset, a place to hike, bike, boat, and appreciate natural habitats year-round.
To learn more about 21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor, visit this Facebook page. Or attend the upcoming informational speaking engagement on May 2nd, 2013 at 7pm, hosted at the Cazenovia Casino in Cazenovia Park. Speakers are Joanne Kahn and Joan Bozer. Olmsted and PBN members free – otherwise a $5 suggested donation.