Summertime is usually the time of year where new buildings go up, flowers grow, and people are outside enjoying the nice weather.
Now, one more spot in Buffalo has been cleaned up, courtesy of Erie Community College and the Buffalo Department of Public Works, Parks and Streets. Beginning in late April, both organizations began the first phase in the beautification efforts of downtown’s Fireman’s Park. ECC faculty and students replaced six interior benches, just in time for summer.
“We hope this park can now be a place where our students can gather and welcome the surrounding arts and business community,” said Erie Community College President Jack Quinn. “It’s in our campus’s front yard, so we’ll be happy to play host.”
The project was developed by ECC’s Service Learning, Building Management and Maintenance, and Architecture departments with the city. The goal was to give students opportunities to receive on-site training as part of their program curriculum’s necessary service learning component, as well as the opportunity to revitalize a downtown park once established to honor the City of Buffalo’s firemen.
“ECC has long supported the tireless work of our local firefighters, whether in our communities or in our classrooms,” said Quinn, whose college recently worked with the Erie County Legislature to help volunteer firefighters gain tuition reimbursement at ECC. “To be able resurrect this downtown park not only for them, but for our own students and with the City of Buffalo is a great opportunity for our college.”
The first phase of the project included replacing 14 benched and turning an inoperable fountain into a multi-tiered garden. Students and faculty from the school’s Building Management and Maintenance Department along with West Seneca’s Occhino Paving worked together on the project.
In future semesters, the college plans to continue devising service learning projects with its departments and the City of Buffalo to enhance the park’s aesthetics and public viability. Preliminary ideas that have been discussed includes the addition of flower beds along the park’s four entry ways, entry signage, enhanced overhead lighting and standing industrial art to honor the city’s firemen.
Emily Schwartz is the Coordinator of Open SUNY Communication and Projects.