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Playground at Seneca Bluffs Park to be named for Donald Herbert, Sr.

Playground at Seneca Bluffs Park to be named for Donald Herbert, Sr.

Erie County Legislature and County Executive Poloncarz honor the sacrifice of heroic firefighter

At today’s legislative session, the Erie County Legislature, in partnership with Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, declared that the playground at Seneca Bluffs Natural Habitat Park will be named in honor of Donald Herbert, Sr., a fallen hero of the Buffalo Fire Department.  Herbert was trapped under a collapsed roof while fighting a fire and looking for victims in 1995, at age 34. Following the injury, Herbert was unresponsive and uncommunicative until April 30, 2005, when he suddenly became lucid and was able to communicate with family and friends. He passed away in February 2006, leaving his loving family, his wife Linda, and his four sons, who continued his commitment to public service. Two of his sons serve as Buffalo firefighters and two serve as Buffalo police officers.

The Seneca Bluffs Natural Habitat Park is an Erie County-owned 15 acre property located along the Buffalo River, along Seneca Street. The site is being redeveloped and improved by the county and its partners at the US Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, and Western New York PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management). As a part of the many improvements to Seneca Bluffs, a playground is being created for recreation purposes.

Also at today’s session, Erie County Legislator Pat Burke, who spearheaded the effort to name the park for Herbert Sr., honored Donald Herbert Jr., a firefighter, and his wife, Tara a physician assistant at Buffalo General Hospital, as Erie County Citizen of the Month. The couple was recognized for their dedication and commitment to preserving and expanding the Seneca Bluffs location. They saved the site from commercial development by rallying their community and supporting the development and remediation of the site as a public park.

“This is a family of dedicated public servants,” said Erie County Legislator Pat Burke. “Their service to our community is invaluable. It is a testament to the legacy of Donald Herbert Sr. that his sacrifice will be honored at a public space that exists thanks to the hard work of his oldest son.”

“The new playground at Seneca Bluffs will be a welcoming, family-friendly community asset and it is appropriate that we honor Donald Herbert, Sr. by naming this new facility after him,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Mr. Herbert is a true Buffalo hero and his legacy of dedication and service to the community is carried on today by his family, helping to protect the community we love and preserve the Seneca Bluffs site.”

The Seneca Bluff site was identified in 1994 as one of five unique and critical habitat areas in Erie County that required protection. The site provides habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna, and is part of a larger wildlife corridor along the Buffalo River. The habitat types include a floodplain island, seasonally flooded wetland, forested floodplain, an upland meadow, and 2,500 linear feet of shoreline. A large diversity of migratory birds, wading birds, and waterfowl make use of the site throughout the year.

Burke 2018 Com