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Conservancy meeting seeks ideas on South Buffalo parklands

Jay Moran

The Olmsted Parks Conservancy is holding a series of meetings seeking the public's input as it develops plans for the next five years. Brian Dold, Director of Planning and Advocacy, says tonight's session will focus on the South District.

The meeting will be hosted by Buffalo South District Councilman Chris Scanlon at the Tosh Collins Community Center from 6:30 until 8 p.m.

According to Brian Dold, the Conservancy's Director of Planning and Advocacy, the meeting will look at the upgrades made at the parks in recent years. Officials also want to hear from those who have an interest in the many parcels in the South Distrect which were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.

"So, that covers South Park and Cazenovia Park, the two big ones," Dold said. 

"But McLellan and McKinley Circles, the McKinley and Red Jacket parkway system and then Heacock Place up at the north end of the south system."  

The smaller parcels, Dold says, were key parts of the Olmsted designs.

"That was precisely what he did for the first time in Buffalo was realize that parks aren't just destinations in one part of the commnity, but you can truly connect every neighborhood to their parks by building these ribbons of green through the city for the city to develop around."

Park users weren't complaining on a recent sunny, Sunday morning at Cazenovia Park. Foot traffic was heavy at the South Buffalo Farmers Market. A few dozen people were sitting and stretching nearby on yoga mats. Many others were watching a youth baseball game on one of the main fields. 

"There's people with families and their dogs," said Debbie, who was impressed by the amount of park programming that was "bringing people together."

Scott, one of the vendors at the Farmers Market, commented on the upgrades at the park's casino building.

"I know they've done work on the inside. I'd like to see that continue. Do more events and utilize the building."

Carol, who has lived in South Buffalo her entire life, had plenty to say about the park, giving glowing reviews to the improved baseball fields, walking paths and the increased level of programming around the park.

"If you use it, you own it," she said.

"I would love to see the splash pad bigger. If you look at MLK Park, that thing is like a city block. That thing is huge."

According to Dold, the Conservancy will hold more meetings on the South District. The rest of the park system will get similar attention. 

"We'll be in MLK Park on Wednesday, the first (of August). We'll be in the Delaware district the following Monday, the sixth. And we'll be in the West District the following Wednesday (August 8)."