TAKE THE SURVEY AND LET YOUR IDEAS AND OPINIONS BE HEARD! Broderick Park at the foot of Ferry Street, is rich in the history of the Underground Railroad. A survey for an upcoming public art beautification project in the park needs the community’s input. Your opinion matters!
Broderick Park; the last stop on the Underground Railroad where thousands of enslaved Africans who had escaped inhumane conditions in bondage, crossed the Niagara River into Canada in search of a better life. The efforts of Mrs. Batchelor and the Buffalo Quarters Historical Society and many others thru the years, have not been in vain. Today Broderick Park is a jewel in the City of Buffalo’s park system steeped in inter-national, national, and local history, including, most significantly, its association with the Underground Railroad.
The park is designated a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Site and has undergone an $11 Million makeover (2013) under the leadership of Mayor Byron Brown, which included an enhanced concession area, an amphitheater and performance plaza, a new family gathering area and shelter, a great lawn and large event space, a contemplative garden, and a ‘Freedom Walk’ with historical paving stones incorporated throughout the site. The Friends of Broderick Park, a group that was re-energized this year and is under the leadership of George Johnson of the Buffalo United Front, has taken a leading role in caring for the park. Their mission is to secure its recognition as a historic landmark and destination of the Underground Railroad; to enhance use of the park for recreational, cultural and educations activities; and to ensure the park’s longevity through stewardship and necessary improvements.
“This park is sacred ground,” stated Johnson. “We want to bring awareness of its signifi-cance to the community and make Broderick Park a destination goal!” The first task of the group this year was the beautification of the gardens which had not been given the much needed attention they deserved. They started with the Lillion Batch-elor Contempltive Garden, named in honor of Mrs. Batchelor’s trailblazing dedication to celebrating the parks history. Throughout the summer The Friends held volunteer events every Saturday morning where they continued to care for the other gardens, pick up liter, and engage with visitors.
The Friends have lots of plans for the future including cultural and educational programing events and festivals all depending on when large group events are possible again. However the immediate task at hand for The Friends is an ambitious public art initiative in partnership with the City of Buffalo Arts Council. They are looking to add beauty to Broderick Park through art that reflects the importance of the site with regards to the Underground Railroad and also the Black History of Buffalo. And they are seeking input from the community by way of a survey that can be found online and in this issue.
News of the art initiative was well received by Mrs. Batchelor, as she had also envisioned historically relevant art in the park (specifically murals and sculptures). She even wrote of promoting “positive race relations through sharing of the arts “ when she started out over two decades ago. At 86 years young she expressed gratitude for having “Friends” to keep the park and “all this wonderful history alive…”
Please complete the survey! It can be found on this page and online at
https://bnwaterkeeper.org/projects/broderick-park/, on their Facebook page
The paper survey can be filled out and mailed, dropped off , or placed in the drop box at The Challenger Community News, 1337 Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14208. Or you can click and print the survey above and email it to us a firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Friends of Broderick Park on Facebook and anyone who wants to get involved with the group or has any questions can contact Chris at email@example.com.