BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – You are probably used to mowing the lawn, and watering and weeding in the garden in your own yard. But could you imagine doing that for 22 acres of historic park land? That’s what Bert Baez and his grounds crew at Riverside Park do every day. They love the challenge of caring for the beloved park, one of the treasures of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks system.
“We got baseball diamonds, pools, basketball, tennis, football. We’ve got a little bit of everything in this park. And it gets used by a lot of people every single day,” Baez explained.
Baez is the supervisor of the grounds crew. Over the last seven years, he’s earned the nickname “The King.”
“He jumps on mowers. Grabs weed wackers. He grabs blowers. He’s out there, every day out there, helping me out,” explained one of his crew members, Daniel Perez. “It’s just the way he rolls. Any questions you have, anything to do with the work. He knows it all.”
Visitors are noticing the change in the way the park looks since Bert took over.
“I actually had a guy write a letter to the conservancy and said in the seventy-six years that he’s been here, he’s never seen this park look as good as it does,” Bert responded when asked about the best compliment he’s received.
Even though he grew up in the Riverside neighborhood, Bert wasn’t always so concerned with keeping the park beautiful.
“I used to be the one breaking the glass. Messing up the trees, and doing a little bit of the graffiti. Probably, kicked the garbage can here and there.”
Now, protecting it’s progress his personal mission, and he’s finding that being king comes with its perks.
“You get paid to look at this beautiful view every single day. And then it’s a beautiful day, you have all of Canada over there and everybody comes and enjoys the park. It’s exciting when they tell you how beautiful the park looks and it’s never been like this, ever. And keep up the good job. That’s really good to hear.
Learn how you can support the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Commission by attending its annual fall gala, click here.