A living inner-city demonstration classroom that features habitat restoration, native plants, and sustainable site development/construction while explaining the benefits of bio-diversity is planned for three acres of unused property at the front door of the Central Terminal. The Buffalo Urban Habitat Project and Classroom is seen as a Buffalo first and a model that can be repeated elsewhere as greening and urban farming gain favor in a shrinking city.
The project is seen as more than just a landscaping effort. The improvements will remediate the site, create habitat, become a learning lab, and will enhance efforts to restore the Central Terminal and unify the community.
The urban habitat will demonstrate Regenerative and Ecological Design – RED – principles; the next generation of sustainability and “green.” It will feature water conservation/re-use/recycling and utilize soil remediation. Phyto- and bio-remediation as well as mycoremediation techniques will be applied.
“We’re not looking to just sustain the site, but making it even better; regenerating and bringing back the attributes of the original conditions,” said landscape contractor Premium Services Inc. owner and one of the leads for the project, Dave Majewski.
Majewski is working with the Curtis Urban Farm Foundation (CUFF) and the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation to develop the project.
• Large groves of native trees
• Meadow and native grass areas
• Native trees and shrubs that are sustainable/edible/medicinal/historical
• four-season foliage, texture, fruit and color
• Natural regeneration area
• Native fruiting shrubs and trees
• Native wildflower zone – already constructed across the street
• Areas designed for attracting specific birds and insects
• Water/wetland zone
There will also be a storm water runoff demonstration section that utilizes the existing topography of the site for capturing runoff and using it within the wetlands area. Solar panels are expected to provide for the energy needs of a pump, filter and aerator in the wetland area.
“We have even been modifying the plan to include bat houses and blue bird houses because of the open space at the Central Terminal and the already diverse population of birds,” said Majewski. “There will be wood bee posts also. These bees are pollinating bee that is a reasonable substitute for the common honey bee that is suffering from the CCD syndrome.”
“When complete, it will be an educational, self sustaining and interpretive model of bio diversity.” Dave Majewski, landscape consultant.
Educational and interpretive signage is planned and seasonal educational and demonstration sessions will be conducted. Management, monitoring, and maintenance will be assisted by college students, namely from Professor Brenda Young’s biology students from Daemen College, and summer youth and neighborhood residents.
“It will be a unifying force for the community,” said Majewski. “I expect the project will bring a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment to this east side community.”
The project site is near fifteen vacant lots on Peckham, Clark and Lombard streets being reclaimed by CUFF. The lots have been cleared, cultivated and amended (see photos at bottom). Sudan grass, buckwheat and clover and peas have been planted. One lot was seeded with wildflowers. The new planting will help remediate and aerate the soil. Bat houses have been putted up also.
The Central Terminal area along Memorial Drive has beautiful double-wide exposed aggregate sidewalks. Weeds will be scraped off the sidewalks and power washed making a huge difference. Street trees along Memorial have also been planted.
The project is seen as linking to other area recent developments including the Wilson Street Farm, South Buffalo brownfield restoration efforts at the foot of Fillmore Avenue, Larkin District redevelopment, and the rooftop gardens at the Broadway Market. Looking at the big picture, a “green zone” is taking shape in Buffalo, a sustainable corridor if you will.
Total cost is expected to be $205,000. Potential partners and supporters have been contacted and if funding is in place, work could start October 1st and be completed in mid-November.
“The Central Terminal location, taking a once perceived liability that was forgotten and neglected and turning it in to a tremendous asset with numerous benefits for the city, community, environment and the terminal itself,” says Majewski. “This project can only help in bringing the Central Terminal to the forefront even further in this community and the city.”
Moreover, the area already has confirmed populations of deer, rabbit, turkey, pheasant, fox, gopher and numerous bird species including Peregrine falcons nesting on the Central Terminal itself.
Majewski is excited about what is planned and its potential for not only helping the environment but also helping the city deal with vacant land.
“This isn’t your typical feel-good, look-good, get-more-money type of community block club garden project,” says Majewski.
Get Connected: Dave Majewski, 716.432.2960; email
CUFF Vacant Lot Reclamation Project:
Buckwheat field at Wilson Street Farm: