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History of Amherst State Park News Archives


Buffalo News,   June 9, 2000  by Lisa Haarlander

      Though it's better-known for its office parks, Amherst will dedicate 77 acres it saved from development as Amherst State Park on Sunday afternoon.

       The state park is actually the St. Mary of the Angels property at 400 Mill St. that the town and state joined together to purchase more than two years ago.

       The gates open at 11 a.m. and the dedication ceremony starts at 1 p.m.

       Parking on the grounds is limited and reserved for VIPs.

       The public is asked to park at Mill Middle School, 505 Mill St., and use a free van that will run from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

       Visitors with mobility impairments may be dropped off at the park.

       "The dedication and grand opening brings together in one afternoon two community treasures -- the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Amherst State Park," Supervisor Susan J. Grelick said in a prepared statement.

       "I hope this special and historic event will be the first of many at Amherst State Park."

       In addition to unveiling a plaque commemorating the occasion, the Sisters of St. Francis will sing an a cappella blessing.

       The Williamsville Rotary Club will sell hot dogs and other picnic food. And there will be face-painting and play mobiles for children.

       Visitors are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy a free concert by the Philharmonic at 1:30 p.m.

       The group will perform excerpts from pieces by Shostakovich, Chabrier, Chaminade, Copland, Briccialdi, a Gershwin medley and selections from "Carousel."

       More than two years ago, Amherst and the state agreed to purchase the St. Mary of the Angels Motherhouse and surrounding property as part of a $5 million package to protect the motherhouse and preserve the surrounding land as a major park.

       Sen. Mary Lou Rath, R-Williamsville, was among those who helped secure $2.5 million in state funding for the project.

       "To have been able to secure the New York State funding for this project in partnership with the Town of Amherst is a source of great pride," Rath said in a prepared statement.

       "Now this oasis in our town will remain forever green for present and future generations to enjoy."

       Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-Clarence, Rath and Assemblyman Jim Hayes, R-Amherst, will attend the ceremony.

       Because Amherst did not want to be responsible for the upkeep of the 70-year-old brick landmark, the town sold the Mill Street building and property to a Syracuse developer for $2.3 million.

       The company, Peregrine Development Co., has said it will convert the building into moderate-priced senior citizen apartments while keeping the historical integrity of the motherhouse.

       The building has already been declared a local historic landmark, and Peregrine is now working to have it listed on the state Registry of Historic Places.

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