Neighbors unhappy with LaSalle Park rehab plan

Jul 8, 2015

There was little support at a packed house Tuesday night for Buffalo's latest plan for rehabbing part of LaSalle Park.

Much of Buffalo's LaSalle Park is in need of renovation.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The million-dollar plan on the charts in the Niagara Branch Library calls for repaving much of the ring road around the park, stone curbs and more clearly delineating parking to keep cars off the grass.

Neighbors were clearly unhappy about what is being planned.

"It's got its degradations," said preservationist Tim Tielman.                     

"The Parks Department's lackadaisical attitude about maintenance really began with the construction of off-street parking because that has now signaled to people that they can park all over the landscape. I was there yesterday. People aren't even using the lots, they're just parking willy nilly rather than sticking to the roadways."

The park gets heavy use from people living across the city but especially residents of the West Side, with lots of picnic space, a skateboard park, playground and Niagara River views.

There are millions of dollars promised eventually for more than just pavement work. Common Council President Darius Pridgen says park patrons represent the changing community.

"LaSalle Park is very diverse. You have people who utilize it a lot from the West Side. But, you also have people from every side of town, East Side and South Side and North. So, it is an exciting park and does it show its wear and tear? Absolutely. But, is it used probably more than most parks in the City of Buffalo? Absolutely," said Pridgen.

A plan to improve bike access from the park into the Waterfront Village area drew enough early fire that the plan has already been altered. Many of the participants in the meeting want changes in the park to reflect a master plan completed a few years ago which called for removing the road at the downtown end so drivers couldn't race around it.