At the Crossroads of Creativity

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Can you believe it’s May already? After a long winter, it’s finally time to put away that heavy jacket and go outside to enjoy Spring in Buffalo! And, what better way to do that than to take a stroll along the North Buffalo Rails to Trails–one of Buffalo’s first urban rail trails. Abandoned for decades after the last rail car rolled through, this space has been completely transformed in recent years into a multi-modal walking trail and bike path.

Whether you are walking, running, biking, skateboarding or rollerblading, the path offers dedicated recreation space for people of all ages and skills, and directly connects to the Tonawanda Rails to Trails just on the other side of Kenmore Avenue. With hundreds of daily users, the North Buffalo Rails to Trails has proven itself to be a leisure hotspot, yet it still has the potential for so much more. That’s why the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA) and University Heights Collaborative (UHC) are embarking on a comprehensive planning and community placemaking initiative to transform the Rails to Trails into a truly world class public space.

At the Crossroads of Creativity

To kick-off this initiative, we’ll be hosting a family art and recreation event, “At the Crossroads of Creativity” on Saturday, July 7, 2018 from 10:00AM to 2:00PM right at “The Crossroads” where Minnesota Linear Park and the North Buffalo Rails to Trails intersect. The day’s events include:

  • Instructor-led aerobics for all levels
  • A chalk art contest
  • Family-oriented art projects
  • A guided bike ride along the trail
  • Beginner photography lessons
  • Information tables with local community organizations
  • The chance to share ideas with mural artists
  • A raffle for a FREE Reddy Bikeshare pass
  • Refreshments

There will be tables and easels set up for open air painting with limited supplies available, although attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite art supplies along with them! This will be a great opportunity to experience the Crossroads through art and activity, but to also get to know the surrounding neighborhood and how special the space really is. The event is free and open to the public.

Community members are encouraged to stay engaged with re-imagining The Crossroads beyond the June 2nd event through a number of different ways:

Public Art at the Abutments

  • The Crossroads is home to two imposing 20’ x 100’ stone abutments, vestiges of a long gone rail bridge that once crossed the space. With the generous support from the Arts Services Initiative of WNY and long-time Rails to Trail supporter Joe Dash, owner of Dash’s Market, UDCDA and UHC are hosting an open call for local artists to submit a mural design for one of the abutments. Designs should be original and representative of the communities surrounding the Crossroads. The UDCDA and UHC also request that proposals take into consideration the opportunity for community paint days, where residents and students can join the artist in prepping and painting the final design. Supplies and an artist stipend will be provided for the winning proposal.

Continuing to Re-imagine the Crossroads

  • Ample green space surrounds The Crossroads where volunteers and local community groups have already planted trees and flowers over the past few years. UDCDA is taking the next steps in gathering ideas to incorporate rain gardens, plant more flowers around the abutments and install a kid-centric play area on the northeast and northwest sides of the trail. As the UDCDA explores funding opportunities through local foundations and the NYS DEC, we want to hear from residents and trail supporters concerning amenities, infrastructure improvements, and other ideas on how to transform The Crossroads into a truly world class public space and community asset.

Questions or comments? Please contact UDCDA’s Director of Community Development and Planning Darren Cotton at 716-832-1010×212 or d.cotton@udcda.org.