In this week’s Buffalo Rising Roundtable discussion, we invited Buffalo Olmsted Conservancy Chair Elect Anne Harding Joyce into the WBFO studio to talk about last week’s announcement that Erie County and the City of Buffalo would not renew their agreement in which the County would continue to maintain City parks. Within this agreement, the conservancy oversaw the maintenance of the Olmsted Parks, circles and parkways.
The general consensus is that the parks have never looked better than in the last 5 years while this agreement was in place. Joyce is hopeful that the city will allow the conservancy to play a major role in the continued maintenance of the parks, but this remains a grey area since last week’s announcement by the city. She asks for the public’s support.
Joyce makes the point that the Olmsted Parks are a national treasure, and as such, the management of the parks deserves the very best maintenance they can afford. The conservancy has done a great job of fundraising, having raised $8 million on their own in the last 5 years, but Joyce isn’t sure that without county or city funding, they would be able to raise the money needed each year in order to continue operating as they have. She does say that the conservancy has been very good at raising matching dollars, and could continue to do so, but that the leveraging of these dollars has been due in large part to the brilliance of the Olmsted Parks 21st Century Plan, which would be upset by this new city/county agreement.
For a deeper understanding from Joyce’s point of view, listen to the pocast. As a side note, Olmsted Conservancy CEO Thomas Herrera-Mishler was unavailable to be with us because he was in New York City at a Buffalo Olmsted Parks fundraiser held by Buffalo native Tom Fontana - a sign of the far-reaching value of these Olmsted Parks.
Also, those who listen to the end of the podcast that was recorded last Friday will get special insight into a very personal aspect of Newell’s life. Fear not for him; from what I understand, his endeavor that evening turned out to be a walk in the park.