If there’s on thing that you can say about Buffalo attorney and civic leader Kevin Gaughan, it’s that his ideas are ingenious and thought provoking. Gaughan is constantly looking for ways to improve the way the city and the region work together. From finding solutions to raise funds to downgrade our roadways, to hosting a Canal Conversation to restore the original Erie Canal terminus, Gaughan is constantly proposing a broad range of creative solutions to tackle this city’s problems.
Recently, Gaughan reached out to golf legend Jack Nicklaus to redesign the golf course at Olmsted’s Delaware Park. He also asked that Nicklaus design a second course near Olmsted’s South Park, which would allow the Conservancy to realize the plan to restore an Original Arboretum at the park.
So what was the answer? Nicklaus accepted.
“Your proposal to marry my golf course design with your mission to preserve and celebrate the legacy of Olmsted,” Nicklaus wrote to Gaughan in a letter, “is an idea that personally and professionally excites me, and should do the same for the leaders, decision-makers and good people of Buffalo.”
Along with restoring the arboretum, and enhancing the Buffalo golf scene (hopefully sensitively beautifying Delaware Park at the same time), Gaughan is proposing an Education Center where inner city youth would be able to learn the skills of botany, agronomy, land restoration, water reclamation, and conservation, ultimately teaching them employment skills. Gaughan hopes to attract a world-renowned architect to design the center via a competition. “This new Center might serve as an opportunity to meet our generational duty to find the next Sullivan, Richardson, or Wright, and add their work to Buffalo’s architectural tradition,” stated Gaughan, who has already reached out to Harvard Graduate School of Design to oversee the project.
“Buffalo citizens struggled mightily to create our city’s new energy, “Gaughan asserted. “Our task now is to sustain that energy by broadening the number of people who benefit from new investment. And my plan seeks to insure that our minority population and our unemployed youth feel new life in our re-born city.”
The purpose of Gaughan’s plan is to:
- Enhance Olmsted’s elegant Delaware Park with the beauty of a Nicklaus design;
- Restore Olmsted’s original Arboretum in South Park;
- Provide job skills to minority, inner-city youth;
- Bring to city residents a public golf course superior to any area private course; and
- Add to the existing investment and energy that is resuscitating the City of Buffalo
Currently Gaughan is hoping, and expecting, that the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy embrace the ideas. Gaughan has stated that he will seek private funds to finance the plan, with no assistance from tax payers. At the same time, golf fees would not be raised in order to offset the costs – only private funds will be sought.
“My more than twenty years of civic service to the Buffalo Niagara region has not cost taxpayers one dime,” Gaughan said. “And I intend to keep it that way.”
John L. Thornton, Co-Chairman of The Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, has agreed to help Gaughan develop a financial strategy.
Lead image – South Park golf course | 2nd image – South Park arboretum – Images courtesy BOPC