This past Saturday, I took my dog for a walk down the Jesse Kregal Pathway, along the Scajaquada Creek, right next to Wegmans off Amherst Street. It was so sad. I could not believe all of the discarded shopping carts that had been dumped into the creek. I counted around ten shopping carts, all within a short walking distance. Who knows how many there actually are, sunken in the waters, that are not visible.
As much as the sight of all of the strewn, waterlogged shopping carts was disheartening, I did learn that Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and Vision Niagara were not far away, on that same day, cleaning up the waterfront at Broderick Park. One of the volunteers reached out to me to tell me that 50 volunteers participated in the event, which was part of Waterkeeper’s annual Shoreline Sweep. The volunteer told me that she participated because of the “We Can Do It” community spirit in Buffalo.
After the event was over, I asked one of the volunteers about the cleanup effort, and she said, “I was really impressed by people’s work ethic, and Waterkeeper and Rich Products’ follow up and stick-with-it-ness. I was also rather astonished that the City’s Parks Department did not lose track of us. I had asked for the water to be turned on in the bathrooms early, and they initially said no. As the date approached, months later, they emailed me and said that the water was on. Due to a snafu, only 30 people were supposed to be able to sign up for this park, but 70 managed to do so. Waterkeeper picked up their game, assigned a staff member to us, and increased the number of tools allotted to this project, even while many other Waterkeeper shoreline cleanup events were going on simultaneously. Rich Products got the bathrooms open, as well as the concession stand, provided snacks and coffee, and handed out scoops of free ice cream volunteers. It makes me proud of our organizations, our city and its people.”
^ Borderick Park photos by Paul Guerrier
While the mess in Scajaquada Creek continues to irk me, I can’t help but feel good about Broderick Park. For years, Broderick Park was another one of the city’s lost and forgotten parks. But in recent years, the park has been the recipient of a number of significant investments. That’s why it’s so important to have regularly scheduled community cleanups – it’s too easy for these parks to go to pot.
Now, maybe Wegmans and Tops Market could be good neighbors and help to figure out a way to remove all of the shopping carts that litter Scajaquada Creek? This type of large debris is too cumbersome for mere volunteers. Larger supermarkets and grocery stores have the resources to tackle this problem. Plus, we must also look at the source of the problem. It’s pretty easy to figure out where shopping carts come from.