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Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy parks buildings

Photo from Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy Facebook

As the city and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy grapple with improving grass and trees, they are also dealing with the many parks buildings which suffer from years of deferred maintenance. Using a mix of city, state and Conservancy money, there's millions of dollars going into the city's landmark parks, whether the $4-million  for the splash pad in Buffalo's MLK Park or the million state dollars Assembly woman Crystal Peoples-Stokes obtained for the casino and shelter house in that same park.

The Conservancy has raised $2-million for major projects in its parks in the coming year. President and CEO Thomas Herrera-Mishler said the buildings used by the public like shelter houses or the maintenance buildings need to be maintained so they are useable.

Herrera-Mishler said buildings in the landmark parks are getting better because of the millions of dollars from the city and his organization and because the increasing staff is inhibiting vandalism in parks.

"We have staff out in them, tending them. And, the same is with the buildings. When we have folks that are cleaning and checking on them and making sure that the lights are working makes them very unwelcome for misbehavior. It's when the buildings are not tended. Just like the landscapes, if they aren't tended they don't feel safe," said Herrera-Mishler.

Herrera-Mishler said the window and French door repairs in Delaware Park's Parkside Lodge are something personal to him, especially the window repairs the city is taking bids on right now.

"To replace the windows and put in historically-accurate but energy-efficient windows.  Honestly, I'm pretty excited about it because when I'm sitting at my desk I have to wear A winter coat and a scarf around my neck because the wind comes whistling in through the window," said Herrera-Mischler.

Herrera-Mishler said the presence of Conservancy workers across the parks deters some of the vandalism which has forced the closing of some parks buildings in the past.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.