bFLO Times: 14th Annual FLO Gala Special Edition
On a picture perfect Friday night last week, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy held its 14th Annual FLO Gala at our majestic South Park. The event honored ten important park stewards with the distinguished Frederick Law Olmsted Award. These stewards were key contributors to our 2006 ReLeaf campaign following the October Surprise Storm. Through their commitment, along with hundreds of individual donors, we have been able to replenish nearly 5,000 trees in the last ten years. This is a tremendous accomplishment, and we are so grateful to those who have helped us in this ReLeaf effort. Whether it is snow and ice, or invasive insects and drought, we need help for our urban forests. Please remember this when making charitable contributions throughout the year — your assistance makes an immediate difference for the Olmsted parks.
As summer begins to slowly turn to autumn, we will be reminded of the splendor of nature, trees and birds with many colors, sights and sounds. A feasibility study for the proposed South Park Arboretum is in the making, and we will be offering an open air bus tour of South Park and the Arboretum area on September 23. If you are interested, please contact the Conservancy office (or refer below at “What’s Happening at Olmsted?” for more details). In the meantime, continue to enjoy your Olmsted parks, all 850 acres! We hope you will take the time as the seasons change to consider all your parks do to enhance our quality of life. Thank you for helping us make a difference for Buffalo.
Highlight of the quarter: 14th Annual FLO Gala, “A Park is a Work of Art”
The theme of this year’s gala, Celebrating the Year of the Tree, was in conjunction with the ten-year anniversary of the October Storm of 2006. In less than 24 hours, 90% of our tree canopy was damaged or destroyed. The aftermath was shocking and severe, and we remember mourning the loss. The Olmsted parks, parkways and circles were significantly scarred.
We were privileged to have Congressman Brian Higgins as our honorary chair. A South Buffalo native, Congressman Higgins is a sixth term member of the United States House of Representatives serving New York’s 26th Congressional District. In his message, Higgins wrote, “The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and the many volunteers that contribute to the preservation, care and maintenance of our Frederick Law Olmsted Park System should be commended for their steadfast commitment to our parks. Looking back at the ten years that have passed since the October 12, 2006, surprise winter storm that took such a toll on our city, it is the dedication of generous community members that has restored much of the damage to our beloved parks and green spaces.”
Download a PDF of the program book here or read on to find out more about the key moments of the evening.
- Congratulations to our FLO Award recipients, the top ReLeaf stewards of the 2006 October Storm. The FLO Award recipients are Clement & Karen Arrison Family Charitable Foundation, Peter C. Cornell Trust, Davis Family Foundation, HSBC Bank USA, M&T Bank, Lisa & Ted Pierce, Re-Tree WNY, The Buffalo News, Corinne & Victor Rice, The Western New York Foundation and The Cameron & Jane Baird Foundation. Click here to learn more about each award recipient.
- Our award video. Once again, Lemur Studios filmed and produced a video that touched all of our hearts. Thank you, Jordan and team!
- A NEW way to give — Text to Give!
At the FLO Gala, we launched a brand new way for YOU to give back to the parks! Via your mobile device, you can now text your gift to the Conservancy and help us keep our Buffalo Olmsted Park System beautiful. Simply follow these two steps:
1. Via your mobile device, text to 56512
2. Enter your message: BOPC <sp> pledge amount <sp> your name (E.g. BOPC 100 John Doe)
From now till November 1, 2016, text your donation (minimum $10) and have a chance to win a BOPC package that includes a BOPC baseball cap, a set of exclusive Buffalo Olmsted Parks note cards and a signed copy of The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System by Francis Kowsky.
Hint: The more times you donate, the higher your chances of winning this attractive giveaway!
The winner will be selected at random. For every donation you make, your name will be entered into the drawing once.
B. SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR 2016 GALA SPONSORS WHO MADE THIS ANNUAL EVENT A SUCCESSFUL ONE
Partner with the Parks (Platinum):
The Buffalo News
Click here to view our in-kind, silent and live auction supporters who made the gala possible.
Meet Greg Robinson, Director of Park Administration, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy
Meet Greg Robinson, director of park administration for the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. Greg was recently named one of the 40 Under 40 honorees by Business First, and will be honored this November.
bFLO Times: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you became involved with the Conservancy?
GR: With a degree in landscape architecture and becoming registered in the State of New York to practice landscape architecture, coming to work for a renowned organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, restore, enhance and ensure the maintenance of Frederick Law Olmsted’s masterpiece is a dream opportunity and I feel very fortunate to be part of such an amazing organization.
bFLO Times: What are the roles and responsibilities of the park administrator for the Conservancy?
GR: There are many different aspects to the position and each of them presents some unique challenges that have helped me learn and grow as a professional in this community. I am responsible for overseeing the business aspects of operating the park system, including its policies, procedures and budgets. I manage the Conservancy’s capital improvement projects from grant applications through design, construction and grant fulfillment. I oversee and manage the Conservancy’s Design Review Committee and Safety Committee. All of these involve a number of responsibilities and ensure that there is never a dull day.
bFLO Times: What makes the Conservancy unique and what does the public need to know about the organization?
GR: I think the biggest thing that the public needs to know is just how much the Conservancy is able to do with the resources that it has available. The staff at the Conservancy is so talented, hard working, dedicated and passionate, from our executive director throughout the organization to our seasonal workforce. They love their jobs and care about the park landscapes, and it shows.
bFLO Times: Since you joined the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy seven years ago, what would be a few career highlights?
GR: Some of the most noticeable highlights are the many park restoration projects over the years. We have been able to accomplish some pretty amazing things throughout the system. In Cazenovia Park, the current work restoring the Casino and Shelter buildings (see Park Topics Today to learn more), shoreline restoration efforts along Cazenovia Creek and the many volunteer tree plantings to reforest the park; South Park’s work to restore the bog garden and the lost traffic circle near the golf course clubhouse; MLK Jr. Park’s work at the basin and the greenhouse and the planting of more than 350 trees last fall and this spring; Delaware Park’s work restoring the pathways at Hoyt Lake, and gateway enhancements at the Delaware Park Terrace and Point of the Meadow; restoring a lost Olmsted landscape at River Rock Gardens in Riverside Park and improving the Crowley Shelter building and playground; Front Park Terrace and gateway enhancements including renovating the shelter building and installing a new playground.
bFLO Times: What do the Olmsted parks give you?
GR: The parks and my job have given me the opportunity to meet, work with, and learn from amazing and talented people. Every day I get to work with a dedicated Olmsted staff. I get to learn from the passionate community leaders on our board of trustees. I get to work with various community groups to enhance their local parks. I get to work with our partners at the city. And the icing on the cake is that no matter how challenging a day may be, I can glance out my window and overlook Delaware Park’s meadow.
bFLO Times: Do you have a favorite Olmsted park, parkway or circle, and why?
GR: What I do have is my favorite feeling that can be experienced at so many great locations throughout the Olmsted Park System. It is the feeling of a connection with the natural environment that I get when I look around and all of the sights and sounds of the city just disappear and I feel immersed in nature.
What’s Happening at Olmsted?
OPEN AIR BUS TOUR OF SOUTH PARK AND THE ABORETUM
With a feasibility study for the proposed South Park Arboretum in the making, the Conservancy is offering an open air bus tour of South Park and the Aboretum this Friday evening.
Date: September 23, 2016
Meeting time: 5:30 pm
Venue: Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave, Buffalo, NY 14218
Limited spaces available. Please contact Patty at 716-838-1249, ext. 10 or email [email protected] to sign up and/or inquire more information.
4TH SATURDAY HISTORIC BIKE TOUR OF OLMSTED’S WEST SIDE, PRESENTED BY RICH PRODUCTS
NEW! Thanks to Rich Products, friends of Olmsted can learn all about Front Park, Prospect Park, the circles along Richmond Avenue and more with the West Side mobile audio tour. Guided bike tours, approximately seven miles long, will be offered on Saturday, September 24. Tickets are $5.00 for Conservancy members, $10.00 for non-members, and can be purchased online here. For more information, contact Ciara Clemons at [email protected] or call 716-838-1249 ext. 11.
SELF-GUIDED MOBILE AUDIO TOURS
- Olmsted’s West Side, presented by Rich Products (COMING SOON!). Discover 11 points of interest around Olmsted’s West Side, from Front Park to the Richardson Olmsted Complex and the Jesse Kregal Trail. This self-guided mobile audio tour is expected to launch in mid-September. Stay tuned!
- Japanese Garden in Delaware Park, presented by WegmansThe Japanese Garden in Delaware Park is a popular venue for informal and passive occasions, inspiring contemplative thought and reflection. The garden’s tranquil, flowing natural design makes it a desirable space to relax. It is one of the most photographed specialty gardens in the Olmsted Park System. The next time you visit the garden, put down your cameras and experience the self-guided mobile audio tour. You may be surprised to learn about the garden’s rich history amidst its elegance and serenity. Download the tour map.
- Delaware Park, presented by M&T BankOne of Olmsted’s first three parks in Buffalo, Delaware Park is the focal point of the Olmsted Park System and today contains many of Buffalo’s cultural institutions. Named simply The Park by Olmsted, this 350-acre setting serves as Buffalo’s “Central Park.” Download the tour map.
THANKS TO OUR VOLUNTEERS!
On August 17, more than 200 HSBC Bank USA employees participated in the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County’s Annual Day of Caring. This is also Olmsted’s largest volunteer event of the year. From beautifying the Ivy Bridge to ringing newly planted trees, adding plants to flower beds, removing invasive species and extending the historic bridle path, we thank all of our volunteers for the time and effort you devoted to our Olmsted Parks.
Featured Park: South Park
In early 1893, Frederick Law Olmsted provided the Buffalo Board of Park Commissioners with a design of South Park. It was intended to complement the new Cazenovia Park to its northeast and be connected with it by South Side (now McKinley) and Red Jacket Parkways. Both South Park and Cazenovia Park were also meant to be more convenient for the increasing number of South Buffalo residents who lived a significant distance away from the northern parks, such as Delaware Park and MLK Jr. Park, which had already been constructed.
In 1894, the revised Olmsted Plan of South Park was designed to include an arboretum with more than 2,300 types of trees, shrubs and plant life, and room for a large conservatory building that is today home to the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens.
- Historians believe that South Park Lake is one of the best examples of an existing Olmsted urban park feature
- Olmsted and Vaux anticipated that their park system would eventually be extended to benefit the southern part of the city, where most of the working-class population lived. In 1887, Olmsted proposed to build a parkway leading south from The Parade to South Park via Fillmore Avenue (named after Millard Fillmore, a resident of Buffalo who was also the 13th president of the United States).
- The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to assess and award an RFP for the development of a feasibility study for the restoration and management of the South Park Arboretum. Restoration of this historic feature provides a rare opportunity to consider the realization of one of Olmsted’s largest arboretum designs.(Information adapted from http://smbroderick.com/originalolmsted/SouthPark.htm and the Buffalo Olmsted Park System Map & Guide)
Park Topics Today
ONGOING PROJECT: CAZENOVIA PARK SHELTER HOUSE
Goal of project: To renovate and restore the Shelter House, provide handicap-accessible restroom facilities and offer an accessible entrance to the building. New replacement window sash and doors will restore the historic appearance of the shelter, as will the new roof which will be a replica of the original red slate roof. The exterior wood trim will be painted to match the colors of the original paint scheme.
Background: The shelter house was built in 1902 and designed by Green & Wicks, perhaps the most well-known architectural firm of that time. Green & Wicks had just completed the Marcy Casino in Delaware Park for the Pan American Exposition and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery was under construction.
Duration of project: The construction period has begun and is scheduled to be completed within four months, with an aim to wrap up before winter.
THE TERRACE AT THE MARCY CASINO RESTAURANT PROPOSAL
Earlier this month, the Conservancy released An Executive Summary to the Marcy Casino Report, a comprehensive report that reviews the entire process, input, feedback, ideas and related history of the facility and parties to operation. Click here to learn more.
ASH TREES IN OUR OLMSTED PARKS
On June 6, 2016, we were honored to have Senator Charles E. Schumer with us at Delaware Park to share his stand on the ash tree crisis throughout Western New York and his plans to combat the emerald ash borers. Read the official press release here.
ROUTE 198 SCAJAQUADA EXPRESSWAY
Read the Conservancy’s position statement here.
ROUTE 33 KENSINGTON EXPRESSWAY, ORIGINALLY HUMBOLDT PARKWAY
Earlier this year, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced more than $112 million for major transportation projects in Western New York, of which $30 million will be allocated to the Scajaquada Expressway and $6 million for environmental and design assessment along the Kensington Expressway. Read the full press release.
Thanks for loving your Olmsted Parks
The parks are for everyone to enjoy, please continue to love our award-winning parks and remember to:
- Leash your dog and clean up after them too.
- Tote or take your trash.
Your support is greatly appreciated.
Special Thanks to Our 2016 Sponsors
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