Project to replace columns of rose garden pergola begins in the fall

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BUFFALO, NY - Major repairs are coming to an iconic Queen City landmark, which has fallen into a state of disrepair.

"It's one of the most visible and important spots in Delaware Park," said Thomas Herrera-Mishler, President and CEO of the Buffalo Olmsted Conservancy, which takes care of the park in cooperation with the City of Buffalo, when commenting on the Delaware Park pergola.

The colonnade at the park's rose gardens, a prime spot for visitors and photographers, is especially popular for wedding parties, who appear in an endless stream on summer weekends to pose for pictures.

However, upon closer inspection, one finds, things are far from picture perfect here.

In particular, the bases of the structure's wooden columns, last replaced nearly 40 years ago, are rotten from exposure to the elements, and some are missing entirely.

"We're very aware of the conditions of this structure. It has been in decline for quite some time now," Herrara-Mishler told WGRZ-TV. "But the conservancy is actually going to be replacing all of these columns with composite columns that won't rot."

He said the columns, which can be painted any color, also meet the approval of the New York State Office of Historic Preservation.

"We got a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo to buy the columns, a grant from a local family foundation to paint the columns, and a grant from the state of New York to install the columns," Herrara-Mishler said.

The cost of the renovations will be about $125,000 and contracts for the work will be let this fall, so that the work can be completed by the summer wedding season of 2015.

The Olmsted Conservancy says the columns at the pergola have actually been replaced four times, including once in the 1950's, when they were replaced with ones made of brick.

They hope the modern materials in the next incarnation of them will keep the old girl looking good, long into the future.

Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Bill Boyer.

Follow Dave on Twitter:@DaveMcKinley2

Email: Dave.McKinley@wgrz.com

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