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   Carol Sampson




Remarks of Carol Sampson, NYPA Community Liaison, at the RiverRock Gardens Groundbreaking, Riverside Park, Buffalo, N.Y. November 19, 2013.

On behalf of the New York Power Authority, I’m delighted to be part of today’s event as we break ground for the restoration and refurbishing of RiverRock Gardens. This is a special project that Thomas Herrera Mishler and his Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy are giving great importance to for re-creating Frederick Law Olmsted’s landscaping vision in this lovely section of Riverside Park. As Western New Yorkers, we can all appreciate revitalization projects like this in a very personal way, so we’re looking forward to its completion.

This initiative underscores the priority that New York State is giving, under Governor Cuomo, to returning its parks to their natural splendor—and Western New York is certainly blessed with some of the most majestic. Here, a long-lost garden in the last park the Olmsteds designed in Buffalo will blossom again into a world-famous tourism attraction.

The improvements require that key regional and state parties work together in close harmony. The Power Authority is proud to be a partner in the continuing collaboration in helping to make possible the beautification and amenity improvements in Western parks and other recreational areas. As a result of the 2007 federal relicensing of our Niagara Hydroelectric Plant in Lewiston, we committed to provide $9 million in annual payments for separate Greenway development funds in Erie and Niagara counties. That funding works out to a total of $450 million of NYPA Greenway monies over the plant’s 50-year license. It’s a significant amount that is being well applied by the four Greenway standing committees charged with disbursing the funding. Today’s RiverRock Gardens groundbreaking is one of the fruits of our support, corresponding with more than half of the improvement project’s $925,000 price tag.

Along with extensive new plantings, we’re also looking forward to a new stone bridge and benches around the garden. The project will also revive the Olmsteds’ historic “minnow pools” based upon plans stored at the Conservancy’s Olmsted Archive. This will bring back to life an aquatic feature lost over time, while collecting surface runoff, to help address drainage issues.

The Power Authority is excited to be involved with this project, as we are with many others that we are supporting from funding through the Greenway standing committees

They include:

  • Erie County’s Black Rock Canal Park and boat launch, highlighting the 1812 war Battleship Detroit. This project is receiving $900,000 in support from the Committees.

  • City of Buffalo’s Bird Island Pier Reconstruction of the recreational walkway from below the Peace Bridge to the source of the Niagara River. The Committee contributed $1,500,000 to this project. 

These initiatives to optimize our abundant outdoor attractions, like others under the Governor’s leadership, enhance the Buffalo-Niagara Region tourism experience and encourage visitors to stay longer and enjoy the attractions that we’re proud of. They are part of the legacy we bequeath to future generations.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this happy event.

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