Stephanie Crockatt’s last day on the job is May 18th, when she takes on a new role in Sarasota
BUFFALO, N.Y. — As she prepares for a new adventure, out-going Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy Executive Director Stephanie Crockatt holds Buffalo in her heart.
“I have seriously loved getting to know Buffalo and have made some very good friends – lifelong friends – which is important to me,” Crockatt said.
“I still think Buffalo is a best-kept secret. Time here seems like a blink, and I have learned so much along the way.”
A far cry from her first impressions of the Queen City.
“Well, when they brought me in for the interview I was coming up from Georgia, And I remember flying in and looking at the water and it was late April and there were still icebergs in the water. And I thought, ‘oh my gosh! What am I doing?'”
But while the Western New York weather was a path of new discovery for Crockatt, the work and legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted certainly was not. She has a degree in landscape architecture, so she was familiar with the work of Olmsted. Even so, there were some surprises waiting for her in Buffalo, first off, the fact that the 198 was built through the middle of Delaware Park.
“What I did not know, and I think this is probably something that’s missing, is that this was the nation’s first urban parks system that he designed. A lot of times the text books and what they talk about in school, they talk about what he did at Central Park, but they really don’t talk about the park systems. They talk about Yosemite and some of the campuses he designed, but we don’t really hear a whole lot about Buffalo and I hope that will change.”
And so, as she moves on in her journey, she will take a little Buffalo with her, along with a whole lot of Olmsted.
“He has given me peace, the fact that the landscapes that he created were a vision that he had 150, 200 years ahead of his time and these are treasures. You can go into any one of his parks and sometimes you don’t even realize that you’re in an urban environment. You still feel that you’re outside in nature. It’s fabulous to think that everybody gets to experience it. The parks are free, they’re welcoming to everybody it’s just he gives me peace and knowing that we all have nature here.”
Crockatt leaves her position on May 18, when she will become the first President of the Sarasota Bay Park Conservancy.
The board will form a search committee and hire a search firm to find Crockatt’s replacement. They anticipate to appoint a new executive director in the coming months.