The return of Fosdick Field?

It’s been a while since we’ve heard any news on the Fosdick Field front. The last time I wrote about it was in 2015, when there was an attempt to garner more community and top tier support for transitioning City Honor School’s “front lawn” back into an athletic facility (learn more).

Former Fosdick-Masten H.S. athletic field – The transition of the field to BMHA is considered a “planning error” by school principal and Co-chair of the Committee to restore Fosdick Field, William Kresse

With a dearth of green spaces to play sports, transferring the lawn space back from the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA) to Buffalo Public Schools – formerly Fosdick-Masten H.S. athletic field – has now become a priority with the Brown administration. 

“My Administration has filed a request with the Buffalo Common Council seeking approval of the City’s abandonment of Fosdick Street and transfer to Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) to facilitate the transformation of the street and other properties adjacent to City Honors School to a state-of-the-art athletic facility,” Mayor Brown said. “I am pleased to advance what will be a tremendous project for City Honors, Buffalo Public Schools and student athletes for many years to come.”

It was back in 1977 that the ownership of the former Fosdick-Masten H.S. athletic field was siphoned to the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA). If Buffalo Common Council approves the deal, Fosdick Avenue (currently City-owned) would be transferred to Buffalo Public Schools for $1, which would then become part of the athletic playing facility. 

The removal/inclusion of Fosdick Avenue, which runs adjacent to City Honors School, the entire length between Best Street and East North Street.

Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Kriner Cash said, “The District is deeply appreciative of this first important step toward restoring Fosdick Field. Our students and the broader community, for generations to come, will benefit from this action taken by Mayor Brown today.”

Over the years, BPS, BMHA and the City Honors/Fosdick-Masten Park Foundation have been in talks about the potentially bright future of the vacant, four-acre property. In its current state, the field is underutilized, especially when considering the site’s full potential. 

A final solution for that sale of the BMHA property is expected by the end of the year.

“Over the past several months, the Brown Administration and Buffalo Public Schools have collaborated to see that the transfer of Fosdick Street secured benefits for children and residents citywide with the Schoolyards agreement,” said Brendan Mehaffy, the City’s Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning.

Along with the initial filing, a second filing has been made by the City that, if approved by Common Council, would “allow public access to 17 school playgrounds and five athletic facilities throughout Buffalo after school hours and on days when school is not in session.” This “Schoolyards” agreement would greatly benefit communities and neighborhoods that are lacking quality, safe green spaces for kids to play. In a day and age when child obesity is a growing concern, and children are spending more time in front of TV sets playing video games, access to convenient athletic facilities is more important than ever.

“The ‘Schoolyards’ agreement is a great way to expand recreational opportunities to all neighborhoods and similar programs have been successful in cities across the country,” said Andy Rabb, the City’s Deputy Commissioner of Parks & Recreation.

Baer and Associates stated (back in 2015) that the construction of the field would be $2.9 million. Design work has already been completed by GLS Architecture, along with Optima Design, Frandina Engineering & Survey and Baer & Associates.

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