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Renovation begins on Delaware Park's Rumsey Shelter House

Olmsted Parks Conservancy

A long unused house at one of Delaware Parks’ entrances is getting restored. Bank of America and the Greenway Fund are providing grants to back the project.The Rumsey Shelter has been vacant close to 45 years. Bank of America Buffalo Market President Kevin Murphy said they were more than happy to contribute funds for this project.

“Parks are a critical component of the urban culture in Buffalo and we applaud the Conservancy’s work in preserving this green space for the more than one million people who visit and use the award-winning Olmsted Parks system,” said Murphy.

Restoration started Thursday and is expected to be completed by the spring of 2019. Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy Executive Director Stephanie Crockatt said most of the shelter’s original interior remains the same.

“It was originally constructed in the 1900s and it was torn down and replaced as part of a WPA project and the Delaware Avenue widening,” said Crockatt. “It has remained unused for at least, we think, 45 years and Norm says he has been on Rumsey road for over 34 years and has never seen it open so it’s been a really long time.”

When it was open, the shelter offered a comfort station with bathrooms and a small main room featuring a fireplace. Most of the original interior tilework remains, along with original windows and interior doors. The fireplace remains, although the mantel shelf is missing and will be reconstructed based on the original construction drawings in the City Hall archives.

The rehabilitation of the Rumsey Shelter was identified as a candidate for rehabilitation in the Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s “Plan for the 21st Century” back in 2008.

A $250,000 grant from Bank of America to the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy was matched by the Greenway Fund for this restoration project.

WBFO intern Ronald Peralta contriuted to this report.

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.
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