From one expert's point of view, parks are an essential part of a city, serving people across the age and income categories, and there are great opportunities in Buffalo's parks.
Peter Harnik eats, breathes and studies parks in his role as director of the Center for City Park Excellence for The Trust for Public Land. He was in town Wednesday night for a speech in the Burchfield Penney Art Center, after a tour of the Outer Harbor to look at a waterfront site planned for a park.
Harnik says urban waterfront parks are great assets for a community, especially in the North.
"You do have a big challenge in the Outer Harbor with that barrier roadway being both visual noise and a physical barrier, really a major intrusion that makes it difficult for people to get there," Harnik said.
"Parks from we have been able to tell, function a lot better if you can walk to the park than if you have to drive to the park."
Harnik says parks are better if they don't have to include large swaths of land set aside for parking.
He says there are commonly-held beliefs about parks including that they are hurt by winter weather. Instead, he says his agency finds the best parks are in the North, especially Minneapolis and Madison, Wisconsin, both with winters possibly worse than here.