Next Steps Taken in His Plan for Jack Nicklaus-Designed Public Golf Courses and Recreation Spaces

Buffalo, NY — Kevin Gaughan’s charitable company, Nicklaus Olmsted Buffalo, Inc., has taken ownership of the South Buffalo land necessary to bring his parks improvement plan to fruition.

Culminating three years of effort, the company closed this week on the purchase of the 107-acre site from Steelfields, Ltd., a Rochester group. “I’m thankful to the previous owners,” Gaughan said, “And I’m grateful to the firm of Hogan Willig, whose financial support and talented attorneys helped make this transaction possible.”

“We’ve now taken the most important step toward creating unparalleled new public spaces for Buffalo and its residents,” Gaughan added.

Under Gaughan’s plan, the acquired land, which sits next to Frederick Law Olmsted’s South Park, will hold a public golf course and recreation space designed by legendary champion, Jack Nicklaus. The Nicklaus course will permit removal of the present South Park golf course, and revival of Olmsted’s original design for land surrounding the Botanical Gardens: an arboretum of 2,300 plant species, which graced South Park before being uprooted by the present course.

In addition to designing the South Buffalo course, Gaughan’s plan calls for Nicklaus to redesign
Delaware Park’s golf course, using less land and restoring a portion of Olmsted’s Meadow. Gaughan will connect these new public amenities with an education center that will utilize the arboretum and Nicklaus course to provide vocational training to inner-city youth.

Community leader advisory committee

Also announced today is establishment of an informal group of voluntary community leaders who will assist with the project as it progresses.

“My plan seeks to affect historic lands which were designed by the world’s finest landscape architect and are owned by the residents of Buffalo,” Gaughan asserted. “As such, we will conduct this endeavor in transparent, inclusive manner, ever seeking public input and ideas.”

Among others, the advisory committee includes:

Mark Blue, President, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Buffalo Chapter
Eugenio Russi, Executive Director, Hispanics United of Buffalo
Lucy Lawliss, Co-Chair, National Association for Olmsted Parks, Washington, DC
Avy Stein, Founder, Cresset Wealth, Chicago, Illinois
Dr. Will Keresztes, Director, Community Engagement, Buffalo Public Schools
Dr. Lynn Fusco, Superintendent, Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Education
Ashley Smith, Executive Director, Elmwood Village Association
Eric Harvey, President, Parkside Community Association
Omar Khan, Interim Chair, SUNY Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning
Steven Bartkowski, Executive Director, Western New York Professional Golf Association
Paul Brown, President, Buffalo Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO
Stan Hudson, Executive Director, Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site
Peter Marlette, Managing Partner, Barclay Damon
Hal Payne, Vice President, (retired) SUNY Buffalo State College
Philip Perna, President, Supermarket Management, Inc.
Peter Fenn, President, Eastern Amputee Golf Association
Diane Tiveron, Managing Partner, Hogan Willig (Committee chair)

Gaughan has also launched a project website, which will act as a clearinghouse for information and discussion of the project as it progresses.

Finally, Gaughan announced that Nicklaus Olmsted Buffalo, Inc. will locate its Buffalo offices at 438 Delaware Avenue. The building, designed in 1868 by H.H. Richardson and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was the home of William Dorsheimer and his family. In 1866, Dorsheimer, a local civic leader,
convinced Olmsted to consider Buffalo for one of his parkland designs.

“Much work remains,” Gaughan concluded, “but with these advances, our project enters a new phase and moves closer to reality.”