Between Allen and Cottage Streets
Submitted by: mary simpson
A historic urban gem restored by the efforts of local neighborhood.
This tiny greenspace, surrounded by homes built in the 19th century, was restored in the 1990s through the efforts of the neighborhood to its 19th century charm. The center of the park is graced by a wrought-iron Victorian fountain, the east end by four new flower beds filled with daylilies, woodruff and other flowers, and the west end by a bermed area with a tree-shaded garden. Historic street lights create an inviting and safe environment even at night.
What Makes Days Park a Great Place?
Days Park is accessible on foot and bicycle from both Allen and Cottage Streets. It is a cul-de-sac with only pedestrian/bicycle access from Allen Street, Allentown’s major commercial street. The sidewalks are tree-lined. The park’s inviting lawn creates a vista from Allen Street, visually connecting it to Cottage Street at the other end.
Days Park projects a long sweep of green, with mature oak and maple trees when you stand at the Allen Street end. The splash and gurgle of the fountain invites pedestrians to enter. All clean up is done by the immediate residents including raking the leaves, picking up litter, weeding the flower beds and providing dog owners with bags to clean up after their pets. Because of the constant stewardship of the residents, it is an inviting and safe place to be, and has become the neighborhood playground for many of the area’s young children.
The park is an attractive venue for passive and active recreation, from picnics and concerts to Tai Chi and pick-up ballgames. It is safe and features a welcoming playground for area children and families. For more than 20 years, there has been a Sunday volleyball game played by Vietnamese refugees and now, their children. The Allentown Association, a neighborhood advocacy group, has sponsored family events in the park as part of an annual Octoberfest. Children ride bikes and folks of all ages rollerblade on the street, without fear of vehicular traffic.
Days Park is attractive to people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and abilities. Buffalo Public School #36, a bi-lingual Early Childhood Center, borders the park and enrolls more than 200 children, mostly Hispanic, who often use the park as an outdoor classroom.
History & Background
Although Days Park was a welcome greenspace from the 1870s to the Great Depression, by the 1980s it had turned into a dusty field, with few trees, many vacant and abandoned properties and high levels of crime. The horrible condition of the park compelled owners and tenants who lived on the park to seek the assistance of the police, housing inspectors and other agencies to eliminate crime, blighted housing and restore the greenspace.
Since 1987, the Days Park Block Club has raised funds by selling baked goods, plants and t-shirts, and procuring federal, city, county, and state funds and private donations. Flower gardens and trees were planted, new historic street lights were installed and a Victorian wrought-iron fountain again graces the center of the park. The restoration is ongoing, with new gardens at the east end of the park planted in the spring of 2003. The Days Park Block Club has partnered with the Allentown Association, the Kleinhans Community Association, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Buffalo Public School #36 to make the park inviting again.Days Park has also reclaimed its legacy as an Olmsted park, when it was discovered that Frederick Law Olmsted submitted designs for it in 1887. The "lost" Olmsted park had been found, through the volunteer efforts of a neighborhood resident.
Mary Simpson: 716-881-6464
Debbie Grine: 716-882-1002