Thomas Herrera-Mishler, CEO of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, spoke at Town Hall in September at a program sponsored by FSOP and the Volunteer Park Trust. The conservancy has worked for the past twenty years to restore and reactivate Buffalo’s Olmsted park system, the first planned park system in the United States.
Like Seattle’s system, Buffalo has large parks connected by parkways, though the automobile age has wreaked havoc on both. The conservancy manages all of the operations, maintenance, restoration, and preservation of the Olmsted parks and circles in the city.
Herrera-Mishler described the myriad programs the conservancy runs to serve the parks and their users. Through creative management and dedication, they have brought back landscapes; rebuilt a derelict wading pool as a summer splash pad, a spring and fall reflecting pool, and a winter skating rink; restored historic structures; and, as a result, helped rejuvenate an entire city.
He described how donors and volunteers need to feel a personal investment in the parks. Luckily, in Seattle we have many people who care deeply for the Olmsted parks and boulevards that form the foundation of our park system.
The video is available on YouTube and includes a short film, “The Best Planned City in the World,” and short interviews with representatives of FSOP, the Volunteer Park Trust, and the National Association for Olmsted Parks.