Buffalo, and its applicant the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, was one of three cities selected nationally to receive a 2017 “Heart of the Community” grant from Southwest Airlines and Project for Public Spaces. This sought-after funding, and the significant placemaking technical expertise that comes with it, is the impetus for development of “Buffalo’s Reading Park,” to be inaugurated in Spring 2018. The site will be programmed by the Library with its partners the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Place Inc., Just Buffalo Literary Center, WNY Book Arts Center, Plurality Press, UB School of Architecture & Planning, Visit Buffalo Niagara, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Public Art Initiative, as an outdoor extension of the Library and anchor to the designated Literary Corridor (Washington Street from Lafayette Square to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus).
The Reading Park will be designed as a “Lighter Quicker Cheaper” project with public input on the long unused grass/sidewalk parcel next to the Library’s main entrance at Washington Street and Lafayette Square, a very visible central crossroads in the middle of downtown Buffalo. The public is invited to a Public Placemaking Workshop to help plan the Reading Park on Saturday, September 9, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at the Downtown Central Library. Project for Public Spaces will facilitate the workshop seeking ideas and input for what the new Park should look like, and what programming and amenities are needed to make the Park an appealing, vibrant new gathering space for the entire community.