Every August thousands converge on LaSalle Park for the annual Rick James Memorial Funk Fest; one of many festivals and gatherings held at the popular park along the Buffalo
Waterfront; a spot that’s also a favorite among residents of the westside community.
Newsflash. In case you didn’t know LaSalle Park will soon be transformed into the future Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park. The Imagine LaSalle Initiative invites the community to a public information session held at the Northland Workforce Training Center on Monday, May 20th at 5:30 p.m., hosted by community focus group member Marnetta Malcolm for input and to learn more about he new vision and design.
“The design I have seen…is a really good design,” said Malcolm. “More than anything, I really appreciate that they are really listening to the community.”
This information session kicks off the last leg of the design vision model’s three-week city tour with stops at Buffalo Central Library, Canalside, LaSalle Park (May 16-19) and Northland Workforce Training Center (May 20-24). Members of the community will have an opportunity to learn more about the community vision process that began last summer and continues as the design is refined, as well as hear from the design team about details of the initial design vision. Participants will also be able to view and comment on the 16-foot by 6-foot model of the design vision for the park.
Imagine LaSalle has followed a community-driven visioning process incorporating nearly 2,000. It has been guided by 22 carefully chosen community ambassadors, made up mostly of West Side residents and several of whom represent African American cultural and community institutions and organizations from across Buffalo, such as Marnetta Malcolm from the NICYO Rick James Memorial Funk Festival, Tuona Batchelor from Buffalo Quarters Historical Society, and Jamil Crews of the Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals.
They travelled to such cities as Chicago, Cincinnati and New York to draw inspiration and ideas, yet still create something that genuinely represents Buffalo. Their findings were detailed in last October’s Community Vision Report, released after the RCWJRF announced a $100 million commitment to support Western New York’s Parks & Trails, including $50 million to transform LaSalle Park into the future Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park. The team anticipates a potential groundbreaking in Spring 2022, with an estimated completion date of Spring 2024.