Celebrating local African American heritage in neighborhood spaces
Located just east of downtown Buffalo, the Willert Park neighborhood has historically been home to important African American businesses and cultural institutions. William Street is a prime corridor for the neighborhood, directly linking it to downtown and the Michigan Avenue African American Heritage Corridor. At the intersection of William Street and Michigan Avenue is Jesse Clipper Square, a pocket park featuring a memorial for African American veterans. A recent streetscape project expanded and enhanced Jesse Clipper Square with a new layout based on the original 1938 design from John Edmonston Brent, Buffalo’s first African American architect.
The William Street reconstruction project added several green infrastructure elements along William Street from Michigan to Jefferson Avenue. Porous pavement was installed in the parking lane on the north side of the street, and the roadway median was widened to include trees and rain gardens that manage stormwater runoff from the street. Collectively, these green infrastructure elements promote infiltration of rain and snowmelt into the surrounding soils, provide temporary stormwater storage and improve water quality.