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Construction at Ralph Wilson Park to begin this month

Phase One involves removing dozens of trees.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The new $110-million Ralph Wilson Park will start taking shape this month at the former Lasalle Park in Buffalo. With this phase of construction, you will start seeing some trees coming down.

The Deputy Commissioner of Public Works for Parks says the City of Buffalo worked with the designers of the park to save as many trees as they can.

"There's over three hundred trees that are going to remain in the park. The trees that are coming down are either low-quality trees, with damage, root damage or other kinds of structural issues, but really the majority of the trees that are coming down have to come down for the grade changes that are being done in the park, so with the new bridge, there's going to be abutments that are built and you can't bury trees in ten, 15-feet of dirt and expect them to survive," said Andy Rabb, Deputy Commissioner of Public Works for Parks.

More than 26 hundred new trees will eventually be planted at the park.

"So the ecologic benefits of this project both with the shoreline restoration and all of the new trees and plants that are going in here, many of them native species as well, the ecologic benefits far outweigh the removal of the existing trees," said Andy Rabb, Deputy Commissioner of Public Works for Parks. 

The first phase of construction also includes upgrades to three baseball fields and renovations to soccer fields.

"Most of the park is still going to be open. Different sections of the park will be closed at different times. We've already reached out to the leagues that used the Little League diamonds and are making accommodations for those leagues for next year to work in other parks across the city," said Andy Rabb, Deputy Commissioner of Public Works for Parks. 

The hope is to have the bulk of the substantial construction done by 2024 or 2025.

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