The Buffalo Central Terminal, a beloved Art Deco masterpiece, operated as a bustling train station for over 50 years until it closed its doors in 1979. In the late 1990s, the nonprofit Central Terminal Restoration Corporation (CTRC) took over stewardship of the 12-acre site with the express mission of restoring and repurposing it as a community gathering place.
Project for Public Spaces will work with local stakeholders and community members to activate the Great Lawn, a large green space on the southwest corner of the historic complex that forms the primary physical connection between the Terminal and the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood. Transforming this green space is key to promoting equitable access to public spaces as it is located on Buffalo’s East Side, an area with a history of disinvestment, where residents are predominantly people of color, and where nearly 40% of residents live below the poverty line.
In 2021, over 20 community partners hosted outdoor events at the Buffalo Central Terminal’s Great Lawn bringing over 6,000 visitors to the historic campus. Events ranged from a multi-week public art installation, a national caliber musical and arts festival, and an Eid al-Fitr celebration—an outdoor prayer event marking the end of Ramadan. These community events were imagined out of an empty field—just think of the Great Lawn’s potential with real investment and design know-how.
This Community Placemaking Grant will build momentum for the future of the Terminal and facilitate even more civic experiences.