The Ralph Wilson Centennial Park project has finally broken ground in Buffalo, New York, after four years of community engagement and planning. This development has been in the works since 2018, starting with the Ralph C. Wilson Junior Foundation‘s US$ 50M commitment. But now a total of $110 million has been raised from other groups to fund the project.
Redevelopment costs for the Ralph Wilson Centennial Park site, located on Buffalo’s Lower West Side were initially estimated at $110 million. However, the engineering, design, and $16 million endowment costs, are likely to increase the total amount to $140 million. Formerly known as LaSalle Park, this waterfront destination is intended to offer sweeping views of hills and valleys, and diverse recreation.
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Development plans for phase I of the Ralph Wilson Centennial Park project
The multi-phased Ralph Wilson Centennial Park project, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, will kickstart phase I with a pedestrian bridge. This will improve accessibility to the park and it will involve replacing an aging bridge, scheduled for demolition in 2023. According to the city’s deputy park commissioner, Andy Rabb, it would be a sleekly-designed bridge, running across the Niagara Thruway. German design firm Schlaich Bergermann Partner designed the pedestrian bridge.
In addition to the pedestrian bridge, other developments are also planned for phase I of the new park. This will include upgrades to several existing baseball and softball fields. Rabb mentioned that the renovations will cover outfield fences, dugouts, and the installation of outdoor lights on some fields.
Future developments and timeline
Future developments for the Ralph Wilson Centennial Park also include a planned 2.5-acre playground. Additionally, a Buffalo Blueway site with a paddle sport launch will be built by Waterkeeper south of Col. Ward Pumping Station. The Buffalo Blueway site will be situated near an existing seawall, which was renovated earlier this year by the USACE. The entire project will be managed by BUDC and Gardiner & Theoboldare.
A specific timeline has not been given for each phase, but the park is scheduled for completion by late 2025. Rabb mentioned that actual construction on phase I of the Centennial Park was still several months away. Presently, pre-construction site work is in progress and it’s being carried out by Gilbane Building Co., the project’s construction manager.
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