Buffalo, NY (WIVB) – On Tuesday, the volunteer group Friends of Broderick Park took significant steps to change the name of historic Broderick Park to Freedom Park.
The Buffalo Common Council considered a request that the name change would better reflect the area’s rich history and its role in the Underground Railroad.
“This park was a sacred place because so many of our ancestors who came to this area by subway had to cross this river to become free. This side of the Peace Bridge is the shortest distance to Canada from the lake,” said George Johnson, board chair of the Friends of Broderick Park.
“There are numerous stakeholders and community leaders, particularly in the African-American community, who view it as a very historic park because of the Underground Railroad,” added Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader David Rivera.
The name change was not approved Tuesday, but the resolution was a step in the right direction.
“The next part of the process is a public hearing where the public can have their say and talk about why we should make the name changes or what concerns they may have,” Rivera continued.
The area’s renaming was also advocated by the family of Michael Broderick, after whom the park was originally named.
“One of the great-nephews contacted us from California, and then one of the great-great-grandchildren contacted us here in Buffalo. We want people to know that they fully support the name change and to make sure that they do,” Johnson concluded.
Council will schedule this public hearing in the coming days. It will be posted on their agenda before an official renaming and subsequent ceremony can take place.