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Plans for full-time restaurant in Delaware Park face public scrutiny

The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy wants to generate extra revenue by expanding the catering service operating in Delaware Park into a full-time restaurant. The Conservancy made their case Wednesday night in a public meeting at Buffalo Seminary.

Magnolia Events currently has a catering operation in Marcy Casino, which overlooks Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park. It handles weddings and other one-time events. The company wants to expand by operating a restaurant that would essentially replicate the park's operating hours. They would stop serving at 10 p.m. and close at 11 p.m.

The Conservancy operates Buffalo's largest parks under a contract with the city and, in turn, contracts with vendors such as Magnolia. Olmsted Executive Director Stephanie Crockett says her agency needs more revenue streams and the additional $75,000-$100,000 generated by a restaurant would pay for three seasonal workers to help maintain city parks.

Neighbors say a restaurant would bring too many more cars into an area that already has parking problems. Crockett estimates the restaurant would bring in about 100 customers, or about 50 cars, and she says Magnolia, "would consider doing some type of a shuttle, even collaborating with Albright-Knox and some of the businesses along Elmwood" to reduce the need for cars.

The caterer would also start selling picnic baskets to Shakespeare in Delaware Park, which does its performances near the casino.

Crockett says a decision on the restaurant is important because the revenue is needed to continue maintenance of casinos in Martin Luther King Jr. and Cazenovia Parks, both of which are being renovated over the next two years.

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.