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Rumsey Shelter House restoration complete in Delaware Park

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Fri, Jun 7th 2019 05:40 pm

Ribbon-cutting by Bank of America, Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee

Officials from the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, joined by Bank of America, the Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee and several dignitaries, officially reopened the historic Rumsey Shelter House in Delaware Park. A $250,000 anchor grant from Bank of America to the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy was matched by the Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee, allowing for the final phase of restoration of this historic and desirable park amenity.

“Partnered grants like these are exactly the type of support our organization needs to ensure that public comfort amenities such as the Rumsey Shelter House are brought back into use,” said Stephanie Crockatt, executive director, Olmsted Parks Conservancy. “The conservancy is grateful to both Bank of America and the Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee for their support and dedication to our Olmsted parks, and in helping us meet our mission of enhancement for all city and Western New York citizens.”

Located at the Delaware Park entrance just off the intersection of Delaware Avenue, Forest Avenue and Rumsey Road, for over 30 years the shelter had been vacant and in a state of neglect. The historic building once offered a comfort station with bathrooms and a small main room featuring a fireplace.

Most of the original interior tilework remains, as do the original windows and interior doors. The fireplace remains and has been completely reconstructed with its mantel shelf replaced based on the original construction drawings, which survive in the City Hall archives.

The shelter’s hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, maintained by the conservancy.

“As part of Bank of America’s focus on advancing economic mobility, we are proud to support Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s efforts to help build livable, healthy neighborhoods,” said Kevin Murphy, Buffalo market president for Bank of America. “Recognizing this unique opportunity to restore the historic Rumsey Shelter, we were honored to take a leadership role along with the Greenway Fund Standing Committee in recognition of the Olmsted Parks System’s 150th celebration in 2018.”

The Rumsey Shelter House was built in 1935 as part of a federal WPA (Works Progress Administration) project associated with the larger scale widening of Delaware Avenue and the reconstruction of the park road bridge. The original 1900’s comfort structure in the park had already been demolished. With activities today such as soccer, walking, jogging and “Shakespeare in the Park,” having access to restrooms and sanitary service is critical to park users.

“The Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee works with New York Power Authority to enhance the region through increased access to water, green space, and amenities, which help service and connect us all,” said Alan Bozer, chairman of the Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee, conservancy trustee and partner at Philips Lytle LLC. “The Standing Committee is proud to partner with Bank of America and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy to increase park services and standards that benefit us all.”

Renovation of the shelter as well as restoration of the Scajaquada Trail were also supported by $1.3 million in previous funding from the Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee: The committee funding comes from NYPA as part of a 2007 federal relicensing agreement for the Niagara Power Project.

“The New York Power Authority is proud to support the Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund and play a role in the revival of an historic community landmark that will further increase the desirability of Delaware Park,” NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel said. “As a member of the Western New York community, NYPA would like to acknowledge the Bank of America’s generosity and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy for its dedication to encouraging more residents to enjoy the great outdoors.”

Shelter facilities have always been a key park amenity, and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has restored similar facilities in MLK Jr. Park and most recently in Cazenovia Park. The conservancy will announce in mid-June its five-year planning priorities for additional park projects and enhancements across the Olmsted Park System. In alignment with its guiding master “Plan for the 21st Century,” the conservancy said it looks forward to more critical partnerships for added value and quality of life.

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