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Grand staircase restoration in Delaware Park announced for 'Olmsted 200'


Tue, Sep 14th 2021 05:30 pm

Restoration project part of conservancy’s current 5-year plan

The Buffalo Olmsted Conservancy announced the grand staircase restoration project at Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park. The project aims to finish its capital fundraising and to begin preparatory site work in fall 2021. As the nation prepares to celebrate the 200th birth year of Frederick Law Olmsted, a ribbon-cutting is expected in late 2022 to unveil the new staircase.

A press release stated, “Many Buffalonians can attest the massive granite stones and steps have shifted as large sections of the foundation beneath have eroded away. Periodic repairs have kept the stairs in relatively fair working order, however, over the last 10 years, the project has reached a point of critical need. Capital investment and restoration of this iconic and notable park feature will not only provide safer access, it will enhance the historic viewshed from the lake up to the Buffalo AKG Art Museum with its new building addition also anticipated in late 2022.”

Conservancy Executive Director Stephanie Crockatt said, “The grand staircase symbolizes a tangible connector in our historic park system and, true to Olmsted’s design principles, it serves as public access to valuable parkland. The staircase is one of, if not the oldest original park feature. To celebrate this achievement as part of Olmsted’s 200th year would be magnificently appropriate in tribute to this amazing man and Buffalo’s Olmsted park system. We are grateful for our dedicated partners, neighbors and donors, and hope we can inspire anyone and everyone who uses these iconic stairs to help us reach our goal.”

To assist toward the total construction cost of $700,000, a private donor gave $100,000 as a lead gift, and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is matching $300,000 toward the remainder. The conservancy has already raised $55,000 from the community, leaving $245,000 to hit the cost target. People are asked to come together and spread the word on this project. All donors will receive special recognition; anyone contributing $5,000 or more will receive a commemorative signifying paver at the Siegel Landing near the staircase.

“From weddings to proms and graduations, numerous memories are enhanced and visually captured at the grand staircase year after year,” Delaware District Council member Joel Feroleto said. “I’m very supportive of this project for the community and especially applaud the conservancy’s directive to clean and reuse as many of the historic granite stones as possible.”

JJ Tighe, director of parks and trails initiative, said, “The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation is honored to be part of this project. The history and significance of this staircase is part of the Olmsted legacy in Delaware Park and represents a cultural and community connection we strongly encourage and support.”

To learn more about this project or its funding, visit www.bfloparks.org/grandstaircase or reach out to Crockatt or Director of Development and Communications Catie Stephenson at 716-838-1249. To learn more about the national “Olmsted 200” initiative in 2022, visit www.Olmsted200.org.

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