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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2014 Archives > October 2014 > Delaware Park One Of The 2014 Great Places In America

Delaware Park One Of The 2014 Great Places In America


American Planning Association (APA) designated Delaware Park as one of the 2014 Great Places in America; this designation puts Buffalo in the national spotlight again, building on the positive momentum that includes over $5 billion in new economic development activity

October 1, 2014 - The American Planning Association (APA) today announced that Delaware Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, has earned the designation as one of its Great Places in America for 2014. Mayor Byron Brown, joined by members of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (BOPC), applauded the selection of Delaware Park, one of Buffalo’s most treasured cultural assets.  APA ‘Great Places in America’ program was launched in 2007 and represents the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow.

“We're honored that our historic Delaware Park is one of a select few parks in the country to be singled out by the American Planning Association as a Great Public Space,” said Mayor Brown, noting his administration’s over $35 million investment in parks citywide since 2006. “Our city’s sprawling network of parks, which includes Delaware Park, makes Buffalo a world-class destination to live, work and visit.  And, through the City of Buffalo’s unique partnership with Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, we will continue to ensure this park and parks citywide further succeed at a time when Buffalo enters a new era of opportunity that includes over $5 billion in new economic development activity and the creation of over 12,000 new jobs. I’m honored that the American Planning Association has recognized Buffalo’s Delaware Park as one of 10 Great Public Spaces in America for 2014.”

The City of Buffalo is a major partner of BOPC, contributing $1,200,000 annually for the reported total BOPC operating budget, along with additional parks personnel, city funding for critical infrastructure repairs, utilities and more.  Approximately $20 million in capital funding has also been secured by the city since 2006 for improvements to the historic Olmsted system. 

 “The parks improve our quality of life,” said Kevin Kelly,   Board Chair of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.  “Buffalo is going through an economic rebirth right now and we must thank Mayor Byron Brown and the City of Buffalo for their ongoing support. This national recognition from the APA represents what we can accomplish when we all work together.”
Each October during National Community Planning Month, APA’s Great Places in America program names 30 exemplary streets, neighborhoods and public spaces that add value to communities and foster economic growth and jobs. APA’s Great Streets, Great Neighborhoods and Great Public Spaces feature unique and authentic characteristics that have evolved from years of thoughtful and deliberate planning by residents, community leaders and planners.

“Recognizing these special places highlights the role planning plays in adding value to communities,” said William Anderson, FAICP, president of APA. “Planners, working with others, help build better communities in a variety of settings, from urban to rural; the result - better neighborhoods, cities, and regions. We applaud these efforts and congratulate this year’s designees.”

Since 2007, APA has designated 230 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces.   For more information about these neighborhoods/street/public spaces, as well as APA’s top 10 Great Streets in America, Top 10 Great Neighborhoods in America and top 10 Great Public Spaces in America for 2014 and previous years, visit For more about National Community Planning Month taking place throughout October

Delaware Park, a 350-acre park in Buffalo, New York, was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead in 1870. The park has been home to the Buffalo Zoo since 1875, and was home to the Pan-American Exposition of 1901, which attracted thousands of people with ornate, multicolored buildings and gothic statues, some of which remain today. The park was separated into two halves in 1962, when the Scajaquada Expressway was constructed through the park. Years of neglect and underfunding followed. The park’s condition was dramatically improved when the Olmsted Parks Conservancy took over funding and maintenance of the park system in 2004. Over the past decade, The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the City of Buffalo, the County of Erie and The Urban Design Project developed the Plan for the 21st century, which created a framework for the restoration and enhancements of the parks, places, and parkways that comprise the Olmsted system. The Marcy Casino building, underwent a $1 million restoration in 2013.

In addition to Delaware Park in Buffalo being designated a great public space, nine other public spaces were also recognized:  Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa;  Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island; The Great Plains Trails Network in Lincoln, Nebraska;  Lake Mirror Park in Lakeland, Florida;  Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon; The Master Plan for the 36-acre Point State Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Mount Rainier Vista and Montlake Triangle in Seattle, Washington;  Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; The Lawn at the University of Virginia (UVA).