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Operation Red Carpet to welcome visitors

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Red mums

By Eileen Buckley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-988686.mp3

Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy received a $50,000 grant to support its "Operation Red Carpet" planting effort.

It is a beautification project to prepare for thousands of visitors due in Buffalo this month.

Olmsted president and CEO Thomas Herrera-Mishler stood near Hoyt Lake at Delaware Park Monday.

"Working with our amazing Olmsted staff, we've started by transforming this bed," Herrera-Mishler.

Olmsted leaders joined Erie County Executive Chris Collins to launch Operation Red Carpet.

More than 1,000 red mums will be planted in high-profile gardens throughout the Olmsted system in Buffalo.

Leaders want to roll out the red carpet for the 2,500 visitors set to attend the National Trust For Historic Preservation Conference beginning October 19.

Herrera-Mishler said they felt a special obligation to make sure the parks look their best for visitors.

"We're ready to roll up our sleeves, get some chrysanthemums in the ground and make sure when people come to Buffalo they have a memorable experience," Herrera-Mishler.

A total of 10,000 visitors are expected in the Queen city during October for other events and conferences.

Anne Joyce is chair of Olmsted Parks. "The same weekend that the National Trust is here, the National Association of Olmsted Parks Board of Trustees will be here," said Joyce.

A candlelight tour will be held Thursday, October 20 for visitors featuring the mansions along Lincoln Parkway as well as a visit to the Albright Knox Art Gallery and Marcy casino at Delaware Park.

The grant was provided through Erie County, the Baird foundation and Buffalo's Fund for the arts. The money, as part of a challenge grant agreement, will go toward a $100,000 effort by the Conservancy to help beautify the historic Olmsted parks throughout the City of Buffalo this fall season.

"The National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference is a chance for Buffalo to make a positive impression on over 2,500 tourists and media from around the country, and a chance to show people what we really have to offer," said Erie County Executive Chris Collins. "Our parks system, along with our architecture and surrounding landscape, is a vehicle for us to promote cultural tourism, a key economic driver leading Erie County on the road to a bright future. This is indeed an appropriate expenditure of tax dollars, and I look forward to seeing the results."