Building a Better Buffalo

“The Olmstead Parks” of South Buffalo

    South Buffalo has many great assets but there are the two gems that stand out in this beautiful area of the city. The people of South Buffalo are very fortunate to have two well maintained “Frederick Law Olmstead” designed parks located within their district. McKinley Parkway, also designed by Olmstead, connects these the two country-like parks.

    Cazenovia Park, the larger of the two parks, is divided by Cazenovia Creek which meanders through its majestic meadows. Stately trees dot the landscape providing deep shaded areas which create a beautiful country environment in contrast to the city streets that surround it.

    The city has recently laid many new asphalt paths for its hikers and bicyclists to enjoy. The park has a picnic/playground area with a wading pool for the children to enjoy. It also provides a haven for a multitude of sporting activities. These include a magnificent nine hole golf course, an indoor Olympic size indoor swimming pool, outside tennis and basketball courts, a large indoor ice skating rink, a multitude of baseball diamonds, a soccer field and a midget league football field. The Tosh Collins center has senior citizen facilities and indoor basketball courts. In the summer carnivals set up their rides near the casino for the citizens to enjoy.

    Traveling down tree lined McKinley Parkway takes you to the other Olmstead Park, “South Park”. As you approach this park the Botanical Gardens come into view which is now being renovated. These Gardens are open year round and provide it patrons with a rich variety of tropical, desert and local plants to view. Another lush nine hole golf course surrounds the large lake situated behind the Gardens. A roadway circles the entire park giving its patrons a great place to enjoy the scenery hiking, jogging, skating and bike riding.

    Also located in this district but totally disconnected from access to the rest of the district and the city is the Tifft Farm Nature Preserve and the Small Boat Harbor. Although these are magnificent additional attractions of South Buffalo, the city has provided absolutely no pedestrian access to these areas. The only way to get to these areas is to walk, out in the street, along a narrow portion of Tifft Street with cars and trucks speeding by. I wonder if the city officials are aware of these dangerous pedestrian conditions. There is ample right of way for a pedestrian/bike path to be easily constructed.

    Another potential attraction of South Buffalo is the “outer harbor waterfront”. This neglected stretch of land if properly developed could bring millions of dollars of additional tax revenue to the city and provide the city with a totally new magnificent image.

    Other cities such as Toronto, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, have vastly improved their images by renovating their waterfronts and their decrepit industrial areas. It is now time for the City of Buffalo to reclaim its title as one of the premier cities in America. We have the greatest potential in the country, now all we need is some great leadership to make it happen.

    September 24, 2000

    Buffalo's "Historic Canal System".

    Soon after the completion of the Erie canal in 1825, business on the canal increased greatly. The expanding fleet of barges, frequently congested the waterways terminating at Buffalo. This congestion caused intolerable delays and financial loss to the canalers and merchants.

    To alleviate this problem a system of short street canals or slips, were built within the city, in what is now the First Ward area and the harbor, connecting the Erie Canal with Buffalo Creek (now Buffalo River) and Lake Erie. These canals were; the Main and Hamburg and the Clark and Skinner canals, the Evans ship canal, the Ohio slip and basin, the Commercial, Prime and Colt slips, the Erie basin, the City ship canal and several smaller branches of the main channels. (The Commercial slip is now in the process of being restored to its original state and is sure to become a major tourist attraction for the city.)
    Click here for full article.

    Growing up around Caz Park in South Buffalo, NY
    My first memory of Caz Park was when I was about 7 years old (1936). My Dad took me over to the little circle on the parkway to teach me to ride my two wheel bike. I don’t think the big pool was even built yet.

    “Buffalo’s Billion Dollar Wasteland”

      The city of Buffalo has perhaps one of the most unique waterfronts on the Great Lakes - its outer harbor is still just about a totally undeveloped wasteland!

      Any other city would consider this land prime lake front property to be worth billions of dollars. When compared to the other Great Lake cities’ well developed waterfronts like Chicago, Cleveland and Toronto, etc. - Buffalo’s outer harbor waterfront is a potential real estate developer’s dream. So much prime waterfront land just waiting for someone with an imagination to create a beautiful new area of the city.

      Although once a dynamic city with a proud history that was aptly named - “The Queen City of the Lakes” - Buffalo is now somewhat economically depressed. The “Buffalo News” wrote in an article recently that our city is now eligible for President Clinton’s “poverty aid program” - Is Buffalo going on welfare? What a revolting development! - I personally think Buffalo is the greatest little city in the country.

      Its tremendous location on the shores of Lake Erie and the mighty Niagara River in beautiful western New York, its constantly changing seasons, its pleasant high quality of living - is unsurpassed anywhere in the country. It shares its peaceful border with Canada - a really great neighbor. It is a beautiful city that has all the amenities without the congestion. Just walk out to the middle of the Peace Bridge on a nice sunny day and look at the absolutely magnificent view of the city, lake and river all converging in absolute harmony. I’d say this picturesque scene would be hard to beat - anywhere.

      But for a city with so much beautiful lake front, Buffalo’s outer harbor still has no beaches, parks, hotels, etc. (it has only one major restaurant on its whole lake front). The area is just crying for imaginative development. There is no access to this land from the west side of the city - except by a round about way via the highlevel bridge. The only other bridge was the Michigan Avenue bridge over the Ship Canal which afforded access to this prime land was demolished years ago and never rebuilt for some strange reason.

      The city government seems to be afraid to build lift bridges unlike Chicago which has several lift bridges crossing its river. These other cities also have bitter cold winters but they are not afraid develop their prime lakefront land. Access to this valuable land is the key to developing this area! Not only should the Michigan Avenue bridge be rebuilt immediately but there should also be another lift bridge built around the Times Beach - Coast Guard Station area.

      A major park and beach should be constructed on this valuable land and the land should be prepared so that it can be privately developed with hotels, condominiums, restaurants, etc. Chicago has many major hotels, condominiums etc., worth billions of dollars, built on a former sand bar that is not even protected by a breakwall. Toronto has developed one of the most beautiful harbor areas in the world. Cleveland has also developed its beautiful waterfront area.

      With plans for the beautification of the inner harbor underway - I think it is time recognize the great potential of the outer harbor and began using the vast resources of the state and federal government to help us develop this prime area.

      July 22, 1999

      ***(Note: Thanks to Congressman Brian Higgins, the Gallager Beach , access to the lake & a bike path along the lake shore - have been completed. In addition more work has been started on the water front! The water front wasteland is starting to come to life. Great work Brian! Thank you.)

      Peace Bridge Debate

      Latest News! New Peace Bridge design scuttled because of danger to birds; lower profile bridge meets requirements.

      The Two Tower Cable Stayed Companion Bridge by Christian Menn was preferred by a local jury, but because of environmental concerns has been rejected in favor of the three arch design.
      'A bird and a fish determine Peace Bridge design'
      Decision against Peace Bridge companion span starts new battle. Rejection of Peace Bridge companion span upsets panel that chose design They may not know it, but a bird that grows to 16 inches and a tiny fish have killed the plans for a dramatic Niagara River cablestayed bridge with towers taller than the Washington Monument. Federal and state environmental agencies protecting the common tern and the silvery emerald shiner delivered the latest blow to the Peace Bridge project.

      (How about a tunnel instead of a bridge? Why not build a tunnel such as Detroit and New York City have. That would definitely alleviate the congestion at the border.)

      Dan Hamilton's plans for waterfront.

      Give us back our neighborhood schools.

      One of the main advantages Buffalo schools had over the suburban schools was the ability of the children to walk to their neighborhood schools. Federal Judge Curtain took this advantage away in his decision to bus the school children all over the city to alleviate "segregation" in the city. This effort wasted millions of dollars that could have been put to much better uses. Other cities have finally realized their mistake and gone back to the neighborhood school system. The judge also compounded his mistake by requiring the school board to hire unqualified teachers as part of a quota system. This took away much of the credibility of Buffalo shools and added to the exodus of young families to the suburban schools. These two decisions resulted in a general lack of confidence in Buffalo schools and depressed housing prices in Buffalo.

      "The Buffalo/Western NY Area - A most beautiful region of America"
      A great place to Live, Work and Play!

      All about the Historic Erie Canal

      Buffalo's Small Boat Harbor

      The Power of Human Imagination - Mankind's Special Gift.

      Donald L. Hamilton

      ISBN 09649265-1-2, 210 pages, Tradepaperback with drawings.

      More Info. - click here.

      "Human Imagination is peoples' ability to visualize in their mind. To be creative!
      The power to become aware of the wonders of the nature!
      An eagle may have much keener eyes then ours but it cannot 'see' the things that we can!"

      Donald L Hamilton