bFLO Times e-newsletter: Jan/Feb ’16 Issue
Welcome to the first bi-monthly issue of the bFLO* Times for 2016.
As Punxsutawney Phil advised, we are thinking Spring already by sprucing up our e-newsletter with a fresh, new look and design. Its purpose is to bring you relevant information every other month in sharing the stories, facts and values of our Olmsted masterpieces. This entire park system is our treasure and a tribute to Olmsted’s legacy here in Buffalo. Each year we look forward to welcoming more than 250,000 park users who benefit from all 850 acres of historic green space. We are honored to be the system steward, and take great pride in keeping your historic parks safe, beautiful and accessible. It takes a great deal of daily effort and funding to make it all happen across six parks, seven parkways and eight traffic circles. That is why we ask for your donations, your membership, and your volunteer hours, as only together with our parks will we increase the quality of life for our residents and visitors. We have an exciting and active year ahead, and we can’t wait for you to be a part of it. Please continue to give us your feedback and your support, and — most importantly — keep loving your Olmsted parks!
* bFLO (Frederick Law Olmsted) Times
Meet Brian Dold, Director of Planning & Advocacy
It takes some pretty big boots to fill the Director of Planning & Advocacy position for the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Brian Dold is that guy. It’s our pleasure to introduce Brian, who joined the Conservancy in 2003 and was named Director of Planning & Advocacy last year.
bFLO Times: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became the Director of Planning & Advocacy for the Conservancy.
BD: While studying landscape architecture at Cornell University, I learned a great deal about design, urban planning and what makes great cities. Coming back to Buffalo to work for the Conservancy in 2003, I became aware of all the great things beginning to happen in the city and particularly the leg up we had on other cities in the U.S. with our tremendous Olmsted-designed park and parkway system. I started off on a three-month internship to help with the development of what was then called the 20-Year Management and Restoration Plan for the Buffalo Olmsted Park System; no one ever told me to leave, so 12.5 years later here I am! Seriously, though, under the tutelage of people like Dean Gowen, Laura Quebral, Thomas Herrera-Mishler and now our new Executive Director Stephanie Crockatt, I have learned a great deal about not only having the great project or doing the research for restoring an Olmstedian feature, but how to work with the community to get great things done for our city. It has been such an honor and privilege to be so involved in projects, big and small, that preserve and enhance Olmsted’s legacy in Buffalo.
bFLO Times: What can you tell our readers about The Buffalo Olmsted Park System: Plan for the 21st Century?
BD: The System Plan is basically the restoration vision for our Olmsted Park System firmly planted in the 21st Century. A tremendous amount of work and community engagement was undertaken from 2003 to 2008, mainly under the leadership of Bob Shibley and Lynda Schneekloth at what was then the UB Urban Design Project. At the end of that process, we had a document that balanced the needs of the community today with Olmsted’s vision for our parks and our city. Our mantra is WWOD, What Would Olmsted Do today. He was a visionary man for his time so we try to continue that legacy in the preservation and enhancement of the parks. The System Plan is our roadmap; it was always intended to be a working document that really drilled down into recommended projects for the first five years. We are preparing for an update to the plan and project priorities, so everyone should stay tuned for that public process moving forward.
bFLO Times: When it comes to planning and advocacy, what are some of your greatest challenges?
BD: I think of it as our greatest asset, for planning, advocacy, that the parks are a system that stretches throughout the entire city and touches every neighborhood, but it can present some challenges. The diversity of issues and advocacy efforts can sometimes seems almost endless and can be at times overwhelming. While it seems entirely cliché to say out loud, they are great opportunities to build stronger relationships and make a positive impact on the future of our city.
bFLO Times: The Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and protect the Olmsted Park System, which includes six parks, seven parkways, eight landscaped circles and totals 850 acres. Do you have a specific
Olmsted park project that you feel has enhanced, or helped to maintain, Olmsted’s vision?
BD: There are so many projects identified in the Plan for the 21st Century that I am excited about and that help restore Olmsted’s vision. Our ReLeaf campaign to restore the urban forest has been a critically important project, system wide, because trees create so much of the character of a landscape and define the space; but because trees take so long to mature, making tree planting a priority is going to be a legacy that many future generations will appreciate. Also, starting the long process of addressing our lakes and creeks in the Olmsted parks is another important effort. A relationship with water is so critical to the Olmsted parks experience. I’m very pleased we are participating in some level of funded study with our partners at the city at all of the Olmsted parks with water features flowing through, namely Delaware, Cazenovia and South Parks.
“But if I’ve learned anything through the planning efforts of our Plan for the 21st Century, it’s that we need to focus on our current assets in the parks, our facilities. It’s so critically important to the day-to-day park users that they have access to clean, functional bathrooms, and well-maintained facilities for family gatherings and picnics.”
While they are not glamorous projects, it is not only our job to enhance the beauty of the Olmsted landscape, we need to be sure we are meeting the basic needs of park users to ensure a good experience. So, while I’m not actually answering your question per se, I am most proud of the process we have developed to set our project priorities through the System Plan.
bFLO Times: The American Planning Association named Delaware Park one of the 2014 Great Places in America. And last August, The Guardian named our Olmsted Park System one of the best urban green spaces in the world. What makes our Olmsted Park System great?
BD: First, the wisdom of civic leaders to invite Olmsted to Buffalo in the mid-1800s to provide parks for our growing city. Next, Olmsted’s vision to provide not just one park but a system of parks throughout the city, creating a framework for growth of the city around its green space that we enjoy today. More recently, in the late 1970s, the early advocates — the Friends of Olmsted Parks — fighting for the preservation of our parks and working to have them listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And finally, our public-private partnership with the City of Buffalo, working together to restore, enhance and maintain the parks. It’s no fluke that we are receiving the accolades today; it’s been through the hard work of many, many people over the years that we have these assets that we treasure today.
bFLO Times: You were one of the featured speakers in the WNED-TV documentary, Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America. What can you tell us about that experience?
BD: The making of the video was a surreal experience — trying to have a casual conversation on a park bench with cameras, boom microphones, lights and mirrors looming all around was pretty challenging. Viewing the final product, I was blown away by the production value of the video. Additionally, being the person at the Conservancy who goes around to community groups and clubs to present the history of the parks and our organization, it has been an incredibly valuable tool to show the video, as opposed to clicking through slides for the whole presentation.
bFLO Times: What’s your favorite Olmsted park, parkway and/or landscaped circle and why?
BD: Working at the Conservancy for more than 12 years now, I’ve really come to love every park, parkway, circle and small space, each one in different ways and for different reasons. As Olmsted designed each park to have a different purpose in a connected system, each park is unique, from the pastoral to the picturesque landscape, from active to passive usage. I personally appreciate each park and I love what they mean to their local community. So no, I don’t pick favorites.
3rd Annual Cherry Blossom Festival
Garden visitors will be able to enjoy the NEW self-guided mobile audio tour of the Japanese Garden, behind the Buffalo History Museum in Delaware Park, presented by Wegmans and powered by Tourwand. View the complete list of festival events.
2nd Annual Spring into Summer Fundraising Luncheon
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Special thanks to our generous sponsors: BlueCross BlueShield of WNY | M&T Bank | Rich Products | Wegmans
Spring into Summer Luncheon sponsors: Colucci & Gallaher, P.C. | ECMC
Luncheon co-chairs: Janis Dunworth and Christine Wiktor
Luncheon committee: Judy Dean, Jackie Gurney, Kitty Lysiak, Annie McCune, Mary Powers and Amber Small
Featured Park: Cazenovia Park
The iron bridge shown in this vintage picture was designed by Henry L. Campbell, and constructed over Cazenovia Creek in 1897. It was later known as the Green Bridge. Affectionately known as Caz Park, Cazenovia Park was built in 1893. Known for the suspended bridge and golf balls shanked into Caz Creek, this park is a personal favorite to many South Buffalo residents.
Currently in the works
This summer, the City of Buffalo will make significant upgrades and repairs at the Cazenovia Park Casino. Here’s the plan:
- Deteriorated concrete slabs under the west terrace will be replaced, and a new waterproof membrane will be added, as well as a new tile floor to match the existing material.
- Structural repairs will be made to the floor and original concrete beams that date back to 1912.
- Five new garage doors will replace the ones installed about 35 years ago.
The Conservancy would like to thank the City of Buffalo for its continued support. Along with the operations staff members who work out of this historic building every day, we greatly appreciate these improvements!
In addition, a study of Cazenovia Creek’s northwest shoreline is seeking engineering solutions to remedy erosion and help reintroduce park patrons to the water’s edge. Once the study is complete, the Conservancy will seek construction funds to make this project a reality.
- It has a land area of 186 acres
- More than 2,500 new trees and shrubs have been planted since 1999
- Features include a 9-hole golf course, 4 baseball/softball diamonds, 3 soccer fields, 4 tennis courts, 2 basketball courts and a playground – all free for park users!
Olmsted Angel: Victoria ‘Tori’ Vossler, founder of @DogsofBuffalo
We want to recognize Victoria ‘Tori’ Vossler, 23, founder of Dogs of Buffalo, a popular Instagram and Twitter account, as an Olmsted Angel. With more than 12,000 loyal followers on Instagram, Tori helped the Conservancy promote the #DogsofOlmstedParks Fall Photo Contest. The paw-ticipation exceeded our expectations! We’d like to thank Tori and everyone who submitted a favorite photo of a pup in an Olmsted setting. To view the winners, and all the submissions, click here. We asked Tori a few questions – read on to find out more!
bFLO Times: Please share your favorite Olmsted park, parkway or circle, and why.
VV: Delaware Park is by far my favorite park in the City of Buffalo. I grew up blocks away from the Buffalo Zoo, and now I live on the opposite side of the park, by the Rose Garden. All of my life, I’ve been within a 10-minute walk to the park, and I cannot imagine life without such accessibility. Delaware Park is such a great resource for our community, for it allows me to run, walk, roller-blade, walk dogs, watch Shakespeare in the Park, attend events at the Marcy Casino … the list goes on.
bFLO Times: Do you have a favorite moment or a special memory in one of our Olmsted landscapes?
VV: My favorite pastime in the park was back in grammar school, when I trained for my first of many Turkey Trots, an annual family tradition. Once a week or so, my dad would take me to Ring Road in Delaware Park, and we would run around it together. It was early November, and back in the early 2000s the park had a holiday light show. I vividly remember running from one magical display of thousands of colorful bulbs to the next, keeping me in the holiday spirit toward the finish line.
bFLO Times: Is there one word or phrase that best describes the Olmsted park system?
VV: Welcoming. The Buffalo Olmsted Park System is welcoming to all members of the community. The parks greet you with their green-filled, springtime blossoming and icicle-lined entrances, and keep you coming back for more of that fresh air, regardless of the season.
“As I make my way through the park, I smile with delight, admiring the hundreds of trees, countless friendly faces, and of course, the dozens of dogs.”
Thank you, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, for your continued efforts to enrich the City of Buffalo. The Dogs of Buffalo love wagging their tails in your parks!
Thank you for loving your Olmsted Parks
In every issue of bFLO Times, we will feature what’s trending on social media and highlight a few of our favorite photos of Olmsted parks. Your Olmsted park picture could be in our next issue. Simply tag us, #bFLOParks, or share your photo!
Buffalo area for current and future generations.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR 2016 SPONSORS
Spring into Summer Luncheon Sponsors
IN PROUD PARTNERSHIP WITH
In our Mar./April Issue: Meet Janis Dunworth & Christine Wiktor, co-chairs of our 2nd Annual Spring into Summer Fundraising Luncheon, NEW Mobile Audio Tour at the Japanese Garden, Golf, Foot Golf, and more. Click here to receive our e-newsletter!