A visit to the Buffalo Harbor State Park earlier today was a real eye opener. I wasn’t sure if there would be an immediate outpouring of people, since the park is so brand spanking new, but from the looks of it families have been eagerly awaiting this big day. The playground was hopping with activity, as was the Outer Harbor as a whole.
So, what sets this playground apart from others in the area? Well, for starters, the play surface is made of soft springy material, which turns the entire playground into a fun-loving place to romp. The imaginative nautical theme ties the park together nicely. The swings, slides, climbing features, etc., are colorful, sturdy, and clever in their design. The attractions were so well built and enticing, that I saw a number of mothers and fathers playing right alongside their kids. From dizzying spiral poles to twists on monkey bars and merry go rounds, everyone was having a blast, thus contributing to the park’s newfound success.
Around the perimeter of the park, people were riding bikes, windsurfing, kayaking, playing catch, fishing, strolling, flying kites, and simply taking it all in. I ran into a friend of the family who told me that he was there scoping the place out for his grandchildren who were going to be visiting in a couple of weeks. “I never thought that I would see the day,” he told me. “It’s incredible. I can’t believe that this is the waterfront… that this is Buffalo. It’s finally happening isn’t it?” I agreed with him, that indeed there was a lot going on, and it was a different day for the city.
After we parted ways I continued on my walk. The only suggestion that I have of this section of the State Park is the disconnect to the water, Instead of a naturalized slope to the water, there are giant boulders that prevent people from connecting with the water, which is a real shame. Hopefully there are plans to remove some of the obstacles in the future, giving people a place to dip their feet in the water, pull up a kayak, or play in some sand. There are ways to do this that would not break the bank and would give an entirely new dimension to the scope of this project – even if it’s a passive beach with no swimming allowed.
I can’t wait to see Phase II come to fruition at the end of the summer. If Phase I is any indication of the direction that this is all going, the community is in for some more surprises.