Author: Darren Cotton

Darren Cotton

Darren has over a decade of experience in the fields of community development, urban planning, and information design. Working as Director of Community Development & Planning at the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA), Darren was responsible for writing and administering over $2 million in grant funding focused on commercial corridor revitalization, small business development, alternative transportation planning, historic preservation, public art, and community capacity building in Buffalo's University District. As a graduate student at the University at Buffalo, Darren founded The Tool Library, a community-based tool lending library, with an aim of providing affordable tool access and building the Sharing Economy in WNY. With a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies and Linguistics and a Master's Degree in Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo, Darren works to bridge the gap between research and policy through planning, design, and grassroots activism. and is a firm believer that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Now in its sixth year, the Citizen Planning School Champions for Change program will once again host a culminating event, the Idea Summit, as a way to celebrate the bright ideas and inspired leadership of citizen champions working across the Buffalo-Niagara region. Join us for the 2022 Idea Summit on Saturday, May 14th from 9:30AM – Noon in 403 Hayes Hall on the UB South Campus. Launched in the spring of 2014, Champions for Change is a program of One Region Forward’s Citizen Planning School and offered through the UB School of Architecture and Planning. The program assists residents of…

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The Tool Library announces it will be putting its tools and volunteers to work with a new calendar of community service events, on April 23 and 30 and May 7, 14, 21, and 28. Each of the six service events provide an opportunity to beautify, strengthen, and contribute to the WNY community through direct, hands-on action.  Even 3″ of snow couldn’t stop volunteers at The Tool Library’s Dewey Park tree planting last November! This spring’s schedule includes park and trail cleanups, planting in community gardens across Buffalo’s University Heights and Kensington-Bailey neighborhoods, and tree stewardship for newly planted trees along…

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The Tool Library and WNY Trash Mob have officially opened registration for their city-wide Earth Day Cleanup Competition scheduled from Friday, April 22 to Sunday, April 24. The Tool Library and WNY Trash Mob have formed a coalition of community organizations from across Buffalo dedicated to building community, promoting civic engagement, and advancing neighborhood beautification. Individuals and groups are welcome to show their support and participate in this year’s contest. Play a little part in sending a big message: We Care About Our Community – join us as we work together to celebrate Earth Day though clean ups, caring, and…

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It’s officially tree planting season and the volunteers at The Tool Library are gearing up for their last big event this year. They’ll be headed to Dewey Park in Buffalo’s Masten District for a 100 tree planting on Saturday, November 13th starting at 9am. As with many parks and greenspaces across the city, Dewey Park has lost a significant portion of its tree canopy to disease and pests like the Emerald Ash Borer. This planting will add 50 new ornamental trees and 50 new shade trees to the park and surrounding areas. Species include: Valley Forge American Elm Swamp White…

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Buffalo’s University Heights, home to one of the city’s newest and largest historic districts, may soon add another district to ranks of the National Register thanks to a $9,120 Preserve New York grant awarded to the University Heights Collaborative (UHC) by the Preservation League of New York State and New York State Council on the Arts. The grant will allow the UHC to work with kta preservation specialists, a Buffalo-based preservation consulting firm, on a reconnaissance level survey focusing on the University Heights neighborhood located to the west of Main Street near the University at Buffalo South Campus. Built between…

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The Tool Library will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary with a family-friendly event, Gather, Garden & Grow, TODAY August 14th from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Plot Flower Farm, Buffalo’s newest urban flower farm, located behind the former Cantalician Center at 3233 Main Street. During the outdoor event, guests can play lawn games, tour the garden, participate in fresh cut flower raffles, and more. Tool Library volunteers will be present at the event for community members to learn more about the organization and how to get involved. New merchandise and memberships will be available for purchase. Tickets are…

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Looking for a fun, outdoors, socially distanced activity to do this summer? Croquet might be just the solution you are looking for! The Buffalo Croquet Club is accepting a limited number of new teams for The Buffalo Croquet League happening on Thursday nights in Delaware Park running 12 weeks, from May 13th to July 29th. Croquet can best be described as a sport that is the combination of the shot making involved in billiards combined with the strategy involved in chess, but played on the lawn. Since you won’t be breaking a sweat playing, it is very conducive to having…

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The Tool Library announces it will be putting its tools and volunteers to work with a new calendar of community service events, spanning from April to June. Each of the ten service events provide an opportunity to beautify, strengthen, and contribute to the WNY community through direct, hands-on volunteerism.  This spring’s schedule includes street and park cleanups, planting flower beds, and building raised beds in community gardens across Buffalo’s University Heights and Kensington-Bailey neighborhoods. To register to attend a service day and view the full calendar of events, visit thetoollibrary.org/service. To ensure the safety of all volunteers, mask wearing and health/safety…

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The Tool Library announced that starting September 24, 2020, it will be expanding its tool sharing service to allow membership from 8 Western New York counties. Originally servicing residents in Erie and Niagara counties exclusively, individuals can now join from Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming counties as well. This announcement comes following expanded hours of operation at the Tool Library. While the Tool Library initially closed through the month of April due to pandemic, it has since reopened with new sanitation measures and volunteer procedures to ensure the safety of members, visitors, and volunteers. Since the beginning of…

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Looking for something fun to do outdoors this summer while staying safe and socially distanced? Croquet might be just the solution you are looking for! Croquet can best be described as a sport that is the combination of the shot making involved in billiards combined with the strategy involved in chess, but played out on the lawn. Since you won’t be breaking a sweat playing, it is very conducive to having a refreshment or a snack while playing making for a very enjoyable evening. The Buffalo Croquet Club is accepting a limited number of new teams for The Buffalo Croquet…

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