Installation of playground funded primarily through $100,000 state grant to be completed next week
New York State Sen. Sean Ryan on Monday joined community stakeholders and representatives from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and Preservation Buffalo Niagara to break ground on a new playground in Buffalo’s Elmwood Village.
The Elmwood Village Playground will be fully installed next week at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, becoming the only playground within a half-mile radius.
The playground’s construction has been funded by a $100,000 state grant secured by Ryan, and a $25,000 grant provided by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. A $10,000 private donation by Buffalo residents Brendan and Julia Spitz and additional community fundraising coordinated by the Elmwood Village Association made up the remainder of the project’s funding.
The project was initially announced in 2019, but plans were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and resulting supply chain issues.
This playground, designed by KOMPAN Playgrounds, will include an obstacle course, an elevated playhouse with a slide and an accessible staircase, and a number of ground-level activities for younger children. All of the playground equipment is designed to improve physical, cognitive, creative and social development, and will sit on a rubber surface that features several activities for imaginative play.
Ryan said, “After facing some unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic, we are excited to finally get this project to the finish line. When this playground is installed next week, families in the Elmwood Village will have a new, walkable community gathering place where kids can get some fresh air and exercise. A special thank you goes out to our community partners and donors, whose generosity made this project possible.”
Jamie Owens, pastor of Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, said, “Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church is proud to donate the space for this gift to our community. Our children are true gifts, and our congregation felt this was a project that would promote fellowship of all those who live within the Elmwood Village. We hope the residents of this community find as much joy on this playground as we have felt bringing it to them. Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church would like to thank all who supported us in this blessed addition to Elmwood Avenue.”
Preservation Buffalo Niagara Executive Director Jessie Fisher said, “Historic neighborhoods are about more than just buildings; they are about all of the places and spaces that make up the fabric of community life. We were proud to support one of the largest National Register districts in New York state by assisting in building this space for local families to come and enjoy.”
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds were established at the Community Foundation to provide support to four areas that were important to Wilson: caregivers, community assets, design and access, and youth sports. Endowment funds, like these created to honor Wilson, are designed to grow over time and provide funding for charitable causes according to a client’s wishes.