A Wonderful Time At the Crossroads of Creativity!

The Crossroads continues to evolve as a public space and community gathering spot. Seen here is the transformation from 2015 to present.

It was a beautiful, sunny, relaxing day this past Saturday, and what better way to enjoy that than to join fellow community members for a cookout, open-air art, and games At the Crossroads of Creativity!

University District Community Development Association in partnership with University Heights Collaborative and the University Heights Tool Library hosted a community art day and cookout at the Crossroads of Minnesota Linear Park and the North Buffalo Rail Trail. Neighboring community members were invited to reimagine the multi-use pathway as a community space where people can picnic, play games, create art, read a book or just relax and enjoy the hidden serene nature of the Crossroads. Many who attended admitted that they have lived next to the Crossroads for years and never knew the green space existed. To their surprise, after spending the day with us, that with a folding chair or blanket in hand, a relaxing day outside was just a short walk away from home.

Activities for the events were planned to inspire people to create art, be active and to simply be outside. Ryan from Sweet Buffalo Rocks led rock and canvas painting activities for all ages, while families passing by decorated the pathway with sidewalk chalk and joined Mr. Jerry from Exercise Like The Animals for youth-oriented aerobic exercises. Others test rode Reddy Bikes, playedwith field games, learned about statewide bicycling initiatives and safety with Dave, and explored the many wonders of toy dinosaurs designed by Chase, a young artist in the neighborhood. In addition to all of the fun, participants had the opportunity to share their vision for the Crossroads. There was an overwhelming request for public seating including benches or Adirondack chairs, an art installation on the former train bridge abutments, community programming, picnic tables, a playground and more shade. These ideas will help UDCDA, UHC and UHTL lead a participatory budgeting process to beautify the Crossroads and transform it from a pass through into a community place.

Many local organizations joined us for the event including the New York Bicycling Coalition, University District Community Development Association’s Housing Department, University Heights Collaborative Recycling Initiative, University at Buffalo’s Pediatrics Department, Buffalo Arts Studio, Sweet Buffalo Rocks, Exercise Like The Animals, and Reddy Bikeshare. We are so grateful for the turn out and for all of the support coming from the many organizations and volunteers who made this event a success.

We will continue to seek design input from the community and hope to see this space become even more of a green space asset to the community! If you have any comments or recommendations for design plans, please send them to the Director of Community Development at UDCDA, Darren Cotton, d.cotton@udcda.org.