One of the organizing team’s most recent campaign victories occurred in October 2011 when West Side residents convinced Mayor Byron Brown, members of the Common Council and Parks Commissioner Andy Rabb to release $350,000 towards the renovation of a neglected park on Massachusetts Avenue.
To date, the commitment was the city’s largest pledge to this project, increasing the total money that people in the community had won for the park to more than half a million dollars.
The Massachusetts Avenue Park Campaign grew out of the Green Development Zone's Community Planning Congresses. Residents identified the large, empty, seldom-used park with unsafe equipment and buckled basketball courts as a major priority.
The park is the largest publicly-owned green space in Buffalo’s densest neighborhood. More than 5,000 families live within walking distance, including 5,000 youth aged 14 and under. More than 15 agencies serving youth lie within walking distance of the park, including the neighboring Butler-Mitchell Boys & Girl’s Club.
In late 2009, residents decided to plan a better future for this important community resource:
- More than 100 residents of the area attended a community planning meeting in October 2009 to generate ideas for the park and prioritize their ideas;
- A draft, based entirely on those priorities, was drafted by ecoLOGIC Studios; the plan was posted for public review in December of 2009 for 30 days in four neighborhood locations; and
- More than 100 residents of the area, primarily youth, contributed comments during the review period.
PUSH organized a leadership team of residents and youth interested in working to partner with the City of
Buffalo to implement the Massachusetts Avenue Park plan. Through these efforts, the City has committed to spend $500,000 on Phases I and II of implementation.
Phase I construction began in the fall of 2011, and included critical safety and entrance improvements. Phase II construction began in September 2012, and will include new park entrances and paths, new perimeter fencing, a new youth athletic field, and a new park pavilion.
To learn more about the Massachusetts Avenue Park click here and here.