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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2010 Archives > April 2010 > Mayor Brown Announces Agreement With Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

Mayor Brown Announces Agreement With Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

Contact: Peter K. Cutler

Ten Year Contract Covers Management and Operations of Olmsted-Designed Parks

Mayor Byron W. Brown announced that the City of Buffalo has reached agreement with the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy for management and operation of the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks in the city. The agreement concludes months of negotiations between the city and the Conservancy, which coincided with the operation and management of all city parks reverting to the city from Erie County on December 31, 2009.

“This is a great outcome for the residents of Buffalo, our renowned Olmsted-designed parks and for anyone who enjoys the recreational opportunities that are available at these excellent parks, said Mayor Brown. “I commend our staff, notably Brendan Mehaffy, Anne Joyce, Chair-elect of the Conservancy and several civic leaders including Robert Gioia of the Oishei Foundation, Jonathan Dandes and Andrew Rudnick of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership for working diligently to achieve this positive resolution. The Buffalo Olmsted Parks are a magnificent component of the city’s urban environment and form one of the greatest urban parks systems in the country.”

Key provisions in the agreement include:

  • Keeping jobs in the City by inserting a residency provision requiring all future Conservancy employees to be domiciled in the City of Buffalo.
  • Securing a diverse workforce and administrative staff through the adoption of a diversity policy.
  • Working with the Conservancy on workforce development by utilizing such programs as welfare-to-work.
  • Meeting the Conservancy’s desire to stabilize its finances and increase the maintenance level in the Olmsted Parks by increasing the City’s direct cash contribution of the Conservancy to $1,000,000.
  • Leveraging private funds (non-taxpayer dollars) for park maintenance by creating a new incentive for private fundraising whereby the City provides a $1 City match for every $2 raised by the Conservancy from private sources for operating expenses.
  • Securing more of the fees raised in the Olmsted Parks for park maintenance by increasing the floor on earned revenue shared by the Conservancy and the City from $370,000 to $500,000.
  • Addressing future increases in the cost of maintenance by allowing the Conservancy to keep 100% of all new earned revenue initiatives.

“It is clear that the city is committed to partnering with the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy to help our efforts to restore these world-class parks to their historic significance as detailed in the Conservancy’s Plan for the 21st Century,” said David J. Colligan, chairman, Olmsted parks Conservancy.

Since 2006, Mayor Brown has invested over $14 million in the city parks system, including over $6.5 million in capital projects throughout the Olmsted-designed parks. In addition, the Mayor directed an additional $359,000 to the Olmsted Parks to support post-2006 October Surprise Storm clean-up and restoration efforts.

“On behalf of the Olmsted board, staff, our thousands of volunteers and Buffalo’s park lovers everywhere, I am so pleased to be here with Mayor Brown  celebrating  Buffalo’s historic Olmsted parks, parkways and circles”, said Thomas Herrera Mishler, president and CEO of the Olmsted Parks Conservancy. “We are committed to working hard and keeping the 1200 acres of legacy green spaces open year-round for all to enjoy. As stewards and contracted managers of the park system, the Conservancy along with our partner, the City of Buffalo, will continue to set the bar for clean and safe parks.”

“I believe that this contract recognizes the valuable contribution of the Conservancy, while at the same time protecting City of Buffalo taxpayers,” said Mayor Brown.  “The incentives for private fundraising and earned revenue ensure that those that support and use the City’s Olmsted Parks the most contribute more for the upkeep of the Parks.  Permitting the Conservancy to apply 100% of all new earned revenue in the City’s Olmsted Parks to operating expenses, also provides the Conservancy with control over the operating expenses rare in other aspects of municipal operation.”