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Land Conservancy improves First Ward intersections while looking toward the future

WNY Land Conservancy

The Western New York Land Conservancy is looking for community input on how to best repurpose the abandoned DL&W rail corridor. The best way to do that? Talking to volunteers while completing short term projects.

With the help of GObike Buffalo, that’s what they did this past weekend-- striping crosswalks and creating curb extensions on two Hamburg Street intersections.

Land Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Smith said commuter safety is GObike’s area of expertise.

“Part of the trail will be for pedestrians and for bikes,” said Smith. “They are one of the core partners as we plan the project going forward. Their knowledge and expertise will be very helpful as we design the project up on the corridor.”

The corridor is known locally as the Dell. It runs from Canalside to the Buffalo River near Solar City and is planned to become a linear park and nature trail.

Smith said one way to get feedback on a long-term project is to talk to volunteers while completing a shorter one.

“We sent out an email to about 300 volunteers asking for folks to come and join us on Saturday,” said Smith. “We definitely want to have a way for the community to be engaged for us to find out more about what the community wants and for everyone to have a role in creating this new community amenity.”

The Land Conservancy will be opening a Satellite Office in downtown Buffalo starting in July to have more of a city presence.

“It makes us neighbors of the very project we’re working to create. We’re extremely excited about that. We’ve been talking to our neighbors and now we actually become one of the neighbors,” said Smith.

The Land Conservancy’s current office is in the Town of Wales, which is a 30-minute drive from Buffalo.

The non-profit group was recently awarded $85,000 in grants from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund. That grant money will support a community-driven design competition on how to transform the DL&W rail corridor.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.