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Interim Exec. Named to Head Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

Patrick Fagan, appointed interim CEO of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

Back in July 2005, we reported the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, a nonprofit group that manages the Frederick Law Olmsted's parks and parkways in Buffalo, New York, had lost its executive director and a national search was underway to fill the position. Corinne Rice, the Conservancy chairwoman, points out that finding someone with both parks management and fund-raising experience has not been an easy task. Consequently, an interim chief executive officer has been names--Patrick Fagan, a Conservancy Board member and former president of Shea’s Performing Arts Center for 15 years. He is assuming the position without pay.

Fagan, 66, acknowledges limited park experience, but says he knows how to run a business.

The Conservancy began as Friends of the Olmsted Parks in 1978 and became partners with the city of Buffalo in 1995. Through a city and county agreement in July 2004, the Conservancy took over management of the parks, said to be the first not-for-profit organization in the nation to manage a park system. Olmsted Park includes six major parks, eight connecting parkways, nine circles and seven smaller spaces, all originally planned by Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted Park comprises about three-quarters of the city's parkland and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Conservancy's annual budget has increased from $300,000 two years ago to $3.5 million after last year’s takeover of the city parks.

The park deploys an "army of zone gardeners" to keep up the parks and for such projects as rebuilding the two miles of Delaware Park pathways, breaking ground on a $4 million upgrade of Front Park, a survey of 12,000 trees, and major improvements to Martin Luther King Jr., Riverside, South and Cazenovia parks.

Fagan has relinquished his spot on the Olmsted Board to become interim CEO and expects to spend most of his time raising money.

Delaware Park, one of the six major parks in Olmsted Park, planned 130 years ago by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and managed today by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

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June 18, 2019, 9:00 pm PDT

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