Norris Park remains the center of the community
The busy season has started for Norris Park.
There have already been church services, and the stately old park was the scene for last weekend's walk for multiple sclerosis.
Kids activities, music and stories will be the featured attraction at many locations around town for this weekend's Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival, and assuming the weather holds, no venue will be more conducive to fun than Norris Park.
There will be many more activities as the summer progresses -- Hot Summer Nights, the Relay For Life, Heritage Days and many others we've overlooked, don't know about or which haven't been planned yet.
People who haven't visited the park for a year or so may be in for a surprise.
They might be expecting a change, since most of the century-old trees had to be taken down last year because of their deteriorating condition.
But rows of new trees, many of them donated, have taken their place and new smooth, wide sidewalks have just been installed. The city is in the process of rebuilding Norris Park's centerpiece, the bandshell, and the old wooden playset has been removed, awaiting arrival of new, safer play equipment.
And, a local Boy Scout is working to create a new war memorial in the center of the park, replacing earlier ones that are long gone but whose purpose remains.
And, although most of the trees have years to go before they will provide significant amounts of shade, not all of the older trees were cut down. Several of them remain on the perimeter of the park, adding variety to Norris Park's arboreal splendor.
Yes, Norris Park just isn't the same. It's on its way to being better.