I live in a townhouse that borders the park. Can you tell me the hours that construction will be taking place? Also will supplies be delivered before and/or after regular work hours? Thanks!
We anticipate construction hours to run from 6am to 4pm. Most deliveries will happen between construction hours, but given the large quantity of material it is possible that sometimes delivery will happen outside of normal construction hours.
We received several questions regarding the tree removal and replacement plan.
The park has been deteriorating and we needed to re-grade it to protect against rising water levels, increasing storms, and weather events. The park has been battered by storms. The majority of the park floods during a storm, and if the park wasn’t being rebuilt into the community’s vision, it would likely continue to be underwater during storm events and further compromise the seawall and park.
There are two reasons for this: primarily, climate change. We are experiencing more frequent and intense storms. There are intense winds and waves that pick-up strength as they come from the west part of Lake Erie. Those winds are funneled into the park — our shoreline and Canada’s creates a funnel as the lake flows into the Niagara River and the park is in the bullseye.
The second reason is that the hard shoreline doesn’t absorb and dissipate the wave action, and the shallow water level of Lake Erie creates a bathtub effect that increases, rather than decreases, the waves.
To protect against flooding from increased weather events and rising water, we are creating a new, resilient shoreline; raising the elevation of the park near the shoreline (581’ closer to the shoreline); introducing changes in elevation (hills) up to 30 feet; and ensuring that the park will be ADA accessible, which it currently is not.
Once the park is completed, we will have planted about 2,600 new trees (approximately 5x the amount of trees removed) that will provide comfort through shade and wind protection and seasonal interest through flowering and fall colors to all visitors. Some of the removed trees will find a second life in the inlet area as rootwads and standing snags to enhance the new habitat being created.
The trees were removed in the early winter of 2022 as a way to protect the Northern Long Eared Bats, who were in hibernation elsewhere by that time. This was a requirement of the regulatory agencies to protect the species.
What is the cost for the project?
Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America yet, to my knowledge, there is not one public court in the City of Buffalo. Will there be any courts at the Ralph Wilson Park?
There are Sepak takraw and tennis courts, which might be able to be used for Pickleball – we are looking into it.
There is frequent four wheeler and motorized bike activity through the park now, as there is throughout the city. With the updates and expected more crowded population with the renovation, how can you ensure that those motorbikers will not be a problem?
There will be speed humps throughout the park and we are working with our community working group to identify a security plan.
Have you included people with disabilities and organizations representing people with disabilities in your planning to ensure the park goes beyond being ADA compliant to create a space that is fully welcoming and accessible to all?
We worked with an accessibility consultant on the park design and playground design to create accessibility at multiple levels. Playground includes equal play opportunities – every play experience will be available to all kids.
Reconfigured paths to allow for ADA accessibility to and from the new pedestrian bridge and most of the paths. There are a few instances where there are a couple of steps connecting paths, though there will always be another ADA accessible route. All paved for ADA accessibility and winter maintenance.
Will the trails in the park be mostly asphalt or will there be natural surfaces?
There are acres of lawn of natural surface that people are welcome to wander around, though the defined paths will be paved.
Will the new design allow for open water swimming?
There will be no swimming allowed at RWP as the shoreline is on a shipping lane – the Black Rock Canal. However, there will be access to the water for other activities such as kayaking, fishing, sunset watching, etc.