With all of the people asking, “What are you doing for earth day?” a few of us decided to push the envelope a bit further this year. After recently meeting with Tom Suffoletto, VP of Buffalo Greenworks, it was decided that, regardless of size, Buffalo is in need of a green (energy) demonstration park. As luck would have it, we were meeting at Five Points Bakery when the plot was hatched, and if you’re familiar with that intersection, then you know that there is a parcel of land across the street that is, at this point, underutilized.
It was also fortunate that the person who owns half of the parcel, Kevin Gardner of Five Points Bakery, was busy working behind the counter. Kevin told us that it has been his desire to turn the land into an edible greenscape, where he could grow the fruits and vegetables needed for his pizzas, baked goods etc. Since that initial meeting, we have met with Tom’s business partner, Tim Nelson who has agreed to test out the property to see how it would lend itself to wind and solar devices. When we met at the site, we were greeted by Rob Stuhr, who owns one of the neighboring houses – perfect for testing out the conditions. Since Rob has been a huge catalyst for change at the corner he was excited to hear about the proposal and agreed to set up a wind gauge as soon as possible.
Further steps and ideas to get the green demonstration park off the ground are:
-Build a sheltered gazebo with storage for battery cells along with a pole for the windmill and solar panel roof
-Research building a brick oven where Kevin would be able to cook food grown at site
-Establish a rainwater feature that would utilize drip irrigation, while providing a visual hook for visitors
-Design a compost spin bin, incorporating an artistic element if possible
Our group is looking for additional affordable ideas to make this small park a big green attraction, where students could come to see first hand the benefits of being green. At the same time, the park will give businesses and homeowners the opportunity to learn how to incorporate wind and solar into their homes and office buildings. It’s not as expensive as you might think, and the process is not very complicated either. Until now, the problem has been an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ issue. By showing people ‘up close’ that these ideas are practical and obtainable, the hope is to see more small scale solar and wind power in our neighborhoods.
If you would like to help with this effort, please send me an email. We are planning on getting this off the ground soon, and will be hosting a gazebo-raising event in weeks to come. As for the timeline, we are anticipating the park to be operable this summer, and it is our hope to establish an annual green harvest festival this fall with some fun get-togethers along the way.
To see exactly where this park is located, click here.