1-on-1 with Wilson Foundation CEO David Enger

Posted at 8:07 AM, Oct 18, 2018

The CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation stopped by the 7 Eyewitness News studios Thursday morning to discuss the foundation's $100 million investment in LaSalle Park and Buffalo's waterfront.

Katie: Talk to us about this park. What are we going to see here?

David Enger: You're gong to see an internationally designed park. We're doing two of these by the way, there was another $100 million announcement in Detroit yesterday. They're about 12 months ahead, just because the process was in place a little sooner. They selected Michael van Valkenburgh, the international designer, modern day Olmsted to build the park on the river there. We're going to use the same process here -- internationally recognized designer working on a park here that will be a destination for everyone in the region.

Ed: Dave, I'm wondering why LaSalle Park was the park you chose to revamp and rehab?

David Enger: So we looked at a number of parks and there were a few things that made it very special. It's the largest waterfront park in Western New York, has beautiful venues, and the challenge of the freeway disconnecting it was appealing to us. There is a different socio-economic condition across that freeway. That's a neighborhood that has lower income and we wanted to see this as a diverse park for all people, all incomes, all races.

Katie: Let's talk about why Buffalo was so important to the Wilson family.

David Enger: Oh gosh. There was an article written by one of the USA Today sports reporters talking about LaSalle Park. LaSalle made his name by going from Buffalo to Detroit. Ralph made his by coming from Detroit to Buffalo. Ralph was a lifelong Detroiter, moved there at age two, lived there until he passed away, but the coolest thing ever is that he made his name and his reputation here in Buffalo.

Ed: On a personal note, Ralph would have turned 100 this week. What do you think he would say about the BIlls, the team that he owned once?

David Enger: Ralph was such a tenacious competitor. I think he'd be pleased with how the team is rebuilding right now and what the future is ahead for the Bills.

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