New Reading Park opens at downtown library

Buffalo

The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library’s downtown location started a new chapter on Tuesday with the opening of a new Reading Park.

The park, located next to the library’s Washington Street ramp, adds some green space to the downtown area. Once the library’s unused front lawn, the park is now a spot for reading, performances, and library activities and programming.

“We are at center stage here in downtown Buffalo- we are halfway between Canalside and the medical campus,” Mary Jean Jakubowski, director of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system said. 

The Reading Park is a designated Buffalo City Park. It was built on a former traffic right-of-way.

The park features a platform for performances. Permanent benches will be coming in soon, as will an area for dog walking and a public art piece dedicated to Buffalo poet Lucille Clifton. Engraved on a sidewalk are the names of writers and artists with Buffalo ties.

“You never know- maybe we’ll be expanding those names one day,” Jakubowski said.

The library is also getting new LED lighting to illuminate the front of the building.

The Buffalo and Erie County Library was awarded a “Heart of the Community” program grant from Southwest Airlines, as well as support from the Project for Public Spaces of New York City.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new park on Tuesday afternoon.

“This park will be open year-round,” Jakubowski told the audience. “The Reading Park is here to bring the best things about the library to an outdoor space.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also addressed the crowd.

“It just goes to show what you can do when you activate a small little space- you make it somewhere that people want to be,” Poloncarz said.

The Reading Park’s hours are dawn to dusk. You can find a full list of activities coming up at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library here.

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