Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy forging ahead on 5 year plan

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Hundreds of volunteers spent Friday building a brand new playground at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, allowing the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy to cross off a major item on its to-do list.

That was one of many projects identified in the five year plan released by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy this summer.

“It addresses every single park in the system, as well as the parkways and the circles,” said Stephanie Crockatt, executive director of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

MORE | Click here for the breakdown of projects by location.

The Conservancy maintains more than 850 acres of parks, parkways and circles around the city. MLK Park is one of the most used spaces in the system.

“April to November, this park is full, and it’s full every weekend,” Crockatt said. “The splash pad was a wonderful feature to add. We’re hoping the casino will open up in the next year.”

The Conservancy is also taking a close look at the greenhouse at MLK park to see what improvements may be needed there, along with improvements to other park amenities.

“We’re going to be doing upgrades to all of the pathways and lighting is going to be reinstalled,” Crockatt pointed out. “And we’ve heard from the community that they would like to see more benches in the parks for seating, as well as we’re going to look at some historic signage and storyboard signage on the purpose and history of MLK park.”

Crockatt says continued investment in the parks is key for maintaining these major community assets.

The projects in MLK park are getting a boost in funding from Empire State Development and the governor in the Buffalo Billion 2 initiative.

“And so we have about $4 million worth of funding to see all of the improvements happen in MLK Park that we had planned for in our five year plan,” Crockatt said. “So MLK Park is like checked off the list. It’s so exciting.”

There’s a lot more on the list.

Other projects that are scheduled to happen between 2020 and 2024 include a historic renovation at Gates Circle and redoing the grand staircase down to Hoyt Lake at Delaware Park.

The full 5 Year Plan report and project list will soon be available in print and digitally on the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy website.

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