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MLK Park will be setting for annual Olmsted gala

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WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
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The Olmsted Parks Conservancy continues to improve Buffalo's park system for its citizens. Friday night it will host its 11th annual Gala at Martin Luther King Park.  As WBFO's Eileen Buckley reports, the event serves as a major fundraiser for Olmsted.

"There's a romance to the Olmsted landscapes that are, you know -- we need it in our lives  -- we're all so busy. We're all focus on getting from here to there. The parks are all about stopping and smelling the roses," said Omsted Parks president and CEO Thomas Herrera-Mishler.

Herrera-Mishler stood at MLK Park on a beautiful sunlit morning talking about the importance of the  Buffalo's park system.  

It was back in 1868 that the City of Buffalo Parks Commission first started to meet with landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. He created a historic system in the Queen City that is still enjoyed today.

"Last week we had Adrian Benepe, he is former commissioner of parks for New York City. He toured the park and stated unequivocally that we have the best maintained parks system in the Country, isn't that incredible," said Herrea-Mischler.  "He was astounded that we were doing it on such a modest budget."

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Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
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Inside Olmsted's MLK Park in Buffalo

The Parks Conservancy receives one-third of its budget from the city to help maintain the parks. The rest it raises in donations. That is why Friday night's fundraiser is key to the future of caring and improving the parks. 

This year's gala co-chair is Elizabeth Carlson.

"Certainly a historic perspective to it, as a lot of Buffalo. It is one of the amazing jewels that we have to have this park system.  So, certainly from an historical preservation perspective it's very important too, but the main thing in, we just want the people in the community be in and enjoying the parks on a daily basis," said Carlson. 

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Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
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Inside Olmsted's MLK Park in Buffalo

Olmsted is working to raise over $100,000 this year, but remains $9,000 dollars short of that goal.