BUFFALO—Throughout the upcoming summer, Buffalo will have its fair share of vacant buildings and waterfront lots finding new life. Now, it can add a forgotten downtown park to its generated resurrection.
After months of planning with the City of Buffalo's Department of Public Works, Parks and Streets, students, faculty and friends of neighboring Erie Community College collaborated on April 27th to complete the first phase of their Fireman's Park Beautification Project inside downtown's Fireman's Park (between North and South Division Streets).
The ongoing project—developed by ECC's Service Learning, Building Management and Maintenance, and Architecture departments with the City—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 ECC President Jack Quinn. “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.”
Students and faculty from the school's Building Management and Maintenance Department—with generous assistance from West Seneca's Occhino Paving—executed the first phase of their planned improvements, which included replacing eight of the park's 14 benches and turning an inoperable fountain—unsalvageable due to weather damage and exorbitant repair costs—into a multi-tiered garden. In the coming weeks, ECC students and faculty plan to replace the park's remaining six benches as they continue to turn a city eyesore into a welcoming slice of urban greenspace.
“We hope this park can now be 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'll be happy to play host.”
In future semesters, the college plans to continue devising service learning projects with its departments and the City of Buffalo to enhance the park's aesthetics and public viability. Preliminary ideas that have been discussed includes the addition of flower beds along the park's four entry ways, enhanced overhead lighting and standing industrial art to honor city firemen.