BUFFALO — It started with the idea of turning a downtown eyesore into a desired location. Now, one year after its initial steps to clean up nearby Fireman’s Park, Erie Community College and its students are intent on keeping their beautification momentum going.
In conjunction with the City of Buffalo’s Department of Public Works, Parks and Streets, students, faculty and friends of neighboring ECC City Campus collaborated on May 1st to continue the work of their multi-phased Fireman’s Park Beautification Project inside downtown’s Fireman’s Park (between North and South Division Streets). Since last April, project participants have weeded, swept and cleaned the park grounds, replaced all 14 benches, added new trash bins, and converted the park’s inoperable fountain into a multi-tiered garden. Wednesday’s clean-up improved upon these efforts, which ECC President Jack Quinn hopes will result in more students, businessmen and Buffalo residents occupying the park space.
“We hope this park becomes a place where our students can gather and welcome the surrounding arts and business community,” said Quinn. “It’s in our campus’s front yard, so we’d like to utilize the space with others.”
The ongoing project—developed by ECC’s Service Learning and Building Management and Maintenance departments—was established to give students the opportunity to receive on-site training as part of their program curriculum’s necessary service learning component, as well as the opportunity to revitalize a downtown park once established to honor the City of Buffalo’s firemen.
“ECC has long supported the tireless work of our local firefighters, whether in our communities or in our classrooms,” said Quinn, who’s worked with the Erie County Legislature and FASNY to help volunteer firefighters gain tuition reimbursement at ECC. “To be able resurrect this downtown park not only for them, but for our own students and with the City of Buffalo is a great opportunity for our college.”
In the coming months, the college plans to add more plantings to the garden, stain all park benches, and erect dynamic, firemen-themed industrial art in three sections of the park. In future semesters, ECC will work with its students and the City of Buffalo to add new flower beds along the park’s four entry ways, enhance overhead lighting, and add entry signage near North and South Division entrances.
Since 1946, Erie Community College has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state’s SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, ECC’s faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership.