Fight For Your Olmsted Parks!

Thanks to everyone who showed up for the Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s rally in Martin Luther King Park earlier today. The rally could have been a bust considering that it was competing with a Bills game day and an unpredictable Mother Nature. Despite the slow drizzle, supporters came out to show that the parks are worth fighting for. Assemblyman Sam Hoyt spoke, warning that as the parks go, so does the money from The State. Councilmen Rivera and Kearns proclaimed that they would do everything possible to fight for The Conservancy, adding to the sentiment, “If it aint broke, then don’t fix it.”

It’s incredible that we are faced with what could be an immense blow to the Olmsted Parks. I spoke to business leaders, politicians, neighbors and friends at the rally, and it appears that everyone is at a loss for words at the mere thought of the transition from County to City. “It’s politics as usual,”… “Has history taught us nothing?”… Over and over people continue to shake their heads and mutter these words in hopes that logic will one day prevail.


It’s going to be interesting to see what happens at the Common Council meeting on Tuesday (10 am). Once more, supporters of the Olmsted Parks Conservancy are being asked to attend – to show your support as they did today. Take an hour off from work and show The City that it works for you, and your voice needs to be heard. Or…

Call the
Mayor’s office
voice your concern. Call 311, or 716.851.4841.

Email the



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The Conservancy folks have worked very hard to make sure that this historic gem looks as good as possible, raising money, recruiting and training volunteers and making a real difference in the curb appeal of our city. Why undo this excellent effort to transform our city into a GREEN and livable community? The fact that they double the money that the government provides as well as raise millions to restore the parks seems like a no brainer....who else can do this? Can the Mayor? Why doesn't he join forces with the Olmsted folks, support them in their mission and move on to figuring out how to really improve the other city parks that have languished? I hope everyone will come out to the Common Council's Finance Committee meeting tomorrow. They need to see that the OWNERS of the parks are paying attention. We elect government to serve US, not the other way around! They need to do the right thing and not punish the Conservancy for getting in the way of whatever political agenda someone may be pushing.


"I think the fact that the Conservancy can leverage grant, philanthropic and volunteerism is enough of a reason to keep them in charge of the parks."

Exactly. The BOPC raised $8 million in private donations and inspired in 5 years (more than either the county or the city contributed to the parks). This year along, the BOPC inspired 4500 hours of volunteer help. All this will go away overnight if the city takes over control. People will say "I already pay my city taxes; why should I be expected to donate more?" Maybe it doesn't make logical sense, but I'm certain that's how people will react. Does anyone donate money to fix broken sidewalks? No, they just grumble about how the city's not doing its job.

Why would the city even consider tossing this away? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot...


And how is it that a mayoral administration can run roughshod over the will of the residents?

Is there one city resident that says to themselves, "Hey, the city taking over the parks -- that's a great idea! They don't have other things they could be concentrating on. Wish I'd thought of it!"

I didn't think so.


I think the fact that the Conservancy can leverage grant, philanthropic and volunteerism is enough of a reason to keep them in charge of the parks. As someone who worked for the old city parks department for years I can attest that there were many people who did not take their job nearly as seriously as most of the people who work and advocate for the park. The parks and system as a whole was just gaining enough momentum to really make some huge changes!

A recombined Delaware park, a partial 'restoration' of Agassiz circle and Humboldt (whatever the DOT will allow). The fact that the parks are seen as a system by everyone for the first time in generations is amazing. They are a city park and park system, not a neighborhood park and one that is historically significant to the whole development of park planning, landscape architecture and sustainable design.

The premise that Olmsted built his parks too is emblematic of the country as a whole. The parks were seen as truly democratic spaces in the city. A place where everyone, no matter their class, creed or race can and should go to mingle, relax and enjoy nature. Nothing in America is built with such aspirations for a better society anymore and it would be a shame to watch that aspiration slowly die again like it did previously under city control...


Tuesday, 10 AM, Council Chambers

13th floor, City Hall.

The Council vote is the the last line of defense of this egregious scheme of the mayor, to consolidate power through patronage jobs.


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