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Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy Awards South Park Arboretum Restoration Feasibility Study

By October 10, 2016No Comments


BUFFALO, N.Y. – After a nationally advertised search, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (BOPC) has awarded the South Park Arboretum Restoration Feasibility Study project to Boston-based Kyle Zick Landscape Architects (KZLA).

In partnership with the City of Buffalo and the South Park Arboretum Restoration Project committee (SPARP), the search first solicited a request for qualifications. Of the four qualified finalists, the formal proposal by KZLA demonstrated expertise in landscape architecture, arboriculture, historical and ecological preservation, and the engagement of multi-disciplinary teams.

“We look forward to working with KZLA as their proposal stood out professionally above the rest with a thorough and innovative approach, coupled with a strong public engagement plan,” said Stephanie Crockatt, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s executive director. “Ultimately their team must consider the introduction of an arboretum collection based on Olmsted’s original 1894 design under both scenarios of maintaining the current 9-hole golf course or the possible relocation of the course to an alternate site. Critical to the long-term viability of this arboretum restoration are a careful analysis of the existing conditions in South Park, a detailed plan for expert maintenance, and recommendations for educational, programmatic and sustainable opportunities.”

KZLA will work closely with the BOPC, the City of Buffalo, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, and the SPARP committee, led by Richard Griffin and David Colligan. The study and final report are expected to be completed by July of 2017.

“Restoration of this historic arboretum provides the rare opportunity to consider the redevelopment of one of the Olmsted firm’s largest arboretum designs,” said Richard Griffin, BOPC trustee and SPARP member. “It was clear from their proposal that Mr. Zick and his team are going to be the best consultants to help us realize our vision for the restoration potential of the Arboretum at South Park.”

Over the next nine months, KZLA and the BOPC will be conducting a series of stakeholder and engagement events beginning with a public meeting this fall. The firm will subsequently be analyzing the historic landscape and existing conditions, determining site ecological suitability, and recommending policies for plant collections and operational maintenance best practices. They will also be identifying educational programming and sustainable funding alternatives as part of the feasibility scope.

 “This is an exciting and unique project for KZLA and we want to thank the Conservancy and the many stakeholders in the community for putting their trust in our team,” said Kyle Zick, KZLA’s founder and principal. “To be part of an Olmsted-designed restoration project like this is a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity and we intend to make Buffalo proud.”

Project Background:

The City of Buffalo owns all public parks, including South Park, which was designed by the firm of Olmsted, Olmsted and Elliot in 1894 as a botanical garden and arboretum with several hundred species of trees and shrubs, a large conservatory, a rolling greensward, and a lake with islands, all in a 155-acre setting in South Buffalo. The context of South Park itself exists today in very much the same configuration that the Olmsted firm initially implemented in the early 1890s; however, the arboretum collection was never fully realized. Since 2003, the Conservancy has been evaluating the opportunity to fulfill this Olmsted plan. The Conservancy retains detailed planting plans and plant lists developed by the Olmsted firm for the construction of the park as an arboretum.

The return of the arboretum began with the award of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop a restoration master plan in 1985, in partnership with the renowned Olmsted experts and landscape architecture team of Bruce Kelly and David Varnell of New York City. The restoration was confirmed in 2008 as a priority project for South Park in the award-winning master plan, The Olmsted City – Buffalo Olmsted Parks System: The Plan for the 21st Century, which was developed by a multidisciplinary design team led by the Urban Design Project at the University at Buffalo.

For a full restoration of the arboretum, the desired relocation of the golf course outside South Park was initially identified on the BOPC’s Plan for the 21st Century. A subsequent South Buffalo Golf Course Feasibility Study, conducted in 2014 through the New York State Brownfield Opportunity Area Program and the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, identified a suitable site for a new 9-hole golf course immediately north of South Park along Hopkins Road. Recently, there has been renewed interest in this site and relocation potential. 

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About the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy
The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is the first nonprofit organization in the nation to manage and operate an entire urban park system that consist of 850 acres of beautifully designed parks, parkways and circles.  The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is a not-for-profit, membership-based, community organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, protect, restore, enhance, and maintain the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks and parkways in the Greater Buffalo area for current and future generations.  More than 2.5 million people use Buffalo’s historic, award-winning Olmsted park system annually for recreation, relaxation and rejuvenation.  The parks were designed by America’s first landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, nearly 150 years ago.  Basic maintenance of the parks has been greatly improved since the 2004 groundbreaking public/private agreement with the City of Buffalo and Erie County.  Since that time, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, now partnering with the City of Buffalo, has retained full responsibility for the management and care of these green spaces which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Most recently, the American Planning Association recognized Delaware Park as one of the 2014 Great Places in America and The Guardian named Olmsted
‘s park system as one of the top ten parks in the world.

The Buffalo Parks System includes:
Six Parks:
  Cazenovia Park in South Buffalo, Delaware Park in Delaware/Parkside District, Front Park at the Peace Bridge, Martin Luther King, Jr. Park at
Fillmore Avenue, 
Riverside Park at Niagara and Tonawanda Street, and South Park at McKinley Parkway.
Seven Parkways:  Bidwell, Chapin, Lincoln, McKinley, Porter Ave., Red Jacket, and Richmond Ave.
Eight Landscaped Circles:  Agassiz, Colonial, Ferry, Gates, McClellan, McKinley, Soldiers, and Symphony.

About Kyle Zick Landscape Architects:
Kyle Zick Landscape Architecture, Inc. (KZLA) is a seven-person landscape
architecture firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. Historic landscapes are part of the
DNA of the KZLA firm, having consulted to the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Valley
Forge, Gettysburg, John Adams Historic Site, as well as several Olmsted-designed landscapes throughout the Northeast.  For Boston’s Emerald Necklace Conservancy,
KZLA developed a Tree Inventory, Conditions Assessment, and Management Plan for all of the trees in over 900 acres of parkland.  This plan considered the Olmsted design intent, modern needs, current urban stresses and climate change. 

Release date: October 10, 2016
Media Contact: Brian Dold
Title: Director of Planning & Advocacy
Phone: 716/280-8118
Email address:

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