A BRO reader and rails-to-trails enthusiast has passed along a heartfelt summation of her newfound daily fulfillment that comes with living along a recently opened linear park system. North Buffalo resident Candy Hayes shares her thoughts on the Buffalo-Tonawanda rail-trail, and what it has done to bring together residents who live along the connection route. Not only are neighbors finally getting to know each other by biking and walking the linear park, they are also participating in clean-ups and group breakfasts*. From Candy:
Recently Mayor Brown opened the bicycle riding season at the nearly completed rails to trails project in North Buffalo. It struck me that this project is so much more than a bike trail. It is a place for people to walk and enjoy the beauty of nature too. Every time I walk thru the park with my dog I meet people who live in this neighborhood. A quick hello and a smile. In the morning it is so peaceful and quiet. Most of my major decisions have been made while walking in this park. We have been cleaning up the park for the past 10 years, and because of the cleanups I have met and worked with Mayor Brown, two great Council persons Bonnie Russell and Rasheed Wyatt and many other city officials. They have all been extremely supportive and helpful. The cleanups would not have happened without the city workers, the Tool Library, college students, and many residents.
But more importantly I have met people in the neighborhood – people like my super seniors 80+ year olds that love what has been done. Some of them have lived in this neighborhood for over 60 years. They still clean up around their area and lend us tools when we do cleanups. They do not live on the same street that I do. I would never have met these wonderful people if I had not been walking my dog along the linear park. I have met other seniors, like myself and we stop and talk, introduce ourselves and talk about the changes in the park Everyone is so pleased with the work that has been done.
When we started to clean the linear park, there was an enormous amount of trash and garbage. But as time went on, people began to respect the park and not use it as a dumping ground. Most people clean up after their dogs. The City does a wonderful job of mowing, and I have met most of the construction workers. I am known as ‘Bailee’s mom’, and a friendly wave or a short discussion always happens. If I hit the park at the right time, the engineers share their lunch with Bailee. My world is bigger because I have met and talked to so many people in this neighborhood because of this park. I love this area, this park and the people of all ages that live here and walk in our beautiful park.
*Community breakfasts are held throughout Bike Month, every Monday in May (except the 30th), from 7:30-10:30am.
The lead image of the GObike Buffalo community breakfast table was taken between Shoshone/Taunton Place and Merrimack on the new rail trail, north of Linear Park and south of Kenmore Avenue. The image was posted by ‘A Simple Six’ on the Bicycle Breakfast Facebook event page.