THE SIEGEL FAMILY HAS BEEN LONGTIME SUPPORTERS OF THE OLMSTED PARKS, WITH BOTH HERB SIEGEL AND HIS SON, AARON, SERVING ON THE BOARD OF THE BUFFALO OLMSTED PARKS CONSERVANCY.
Now the family is taking the next step to create a commemorative space with a $300,000 gift for an endowment.
Located at the Western Shore of Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park, Siegel Landing will be a 20-feet-by-40 feet sitting area highlighted by two benches and a rectangular base of pavers. The 1,000 stones surrounding the area will be available for purchase and inscription by other donors to support the space. Selling all of the pavers would bring another $1 million to the Conservancy.
Aaron Siegel said the gift provides a long-term method for the family to support the parks.
“That’s one of the things we’ve always struggled with here at Olmsted … We have to by hook or crook get extra money to run the parks,” he said. “We thought perhaps we can use that as a mechanism to raise permanent funding so that we could take a little of that uncertainty away regarding our funding and build on it so the parks are bigger and better, not just for us, but for our kids and grandkids.”
Herb Siegel, an attorney who founded and served as managing partner of the former Siegel Kelleher & Kahn LLP, has been a supporter of the Conservancy since 1999, including serving on the board from 2004 to 2007. Now retired, he lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Aaron Siegel joined the board five years ago and serves as president and CEO at Franklin Asset Management.
Siegel Landing was announced to supporters in September at the Conservancy’s annual gala, where the first two pavers sold for $2,600 apiece. With the public announcement slated for Thursday afternoon, two different sizes will available for sponsorship at $500 and $1,000 through December, when the price will go up to $750 and $1,250.
Stephanie Crockatt, executive director at the Conservancy, said the location of Siegel Landing is significant, representing the spot where a grandstand once stood.
“The paving there indicates the footing of that grandstand, and it’s a wonderful spot,” she said. “Most people know where it is — it’s one of the most beautiful spots to sit and look over the lake and an absolutely perfect point to begin this project.”
With a budget of about $3.5 million, the 850-acre Olmsted Parks system in Buffalo includes six major parks, seven parkways and eight landscaped circles.
The gift also represents the first time a donor has provided both construction or restoration of an area, as well as a long-term fundraising mechanism for the parks. Funds from the individual paver sponsorships will go into the Conservancy’s general fund, while the $300,000 from the Siegels will provide ongoing maintenance. It’s the kind of gift she hopes to see more of as the organization approaches its 150th anniversary.
“It is the trifecta and sets it up perfectly for us,” Crockatt said. “If every donor also included an endowment and a funding mechanism, we would be set. This is testimonial of the type of gifts we hope to have made.”