Campus News

RENEW fellow aided in Buffalo green infrastructure projects

A conceptual rendering of the green infrastructure potential in downtown Buffalo from Rain Check, a program of the Buffalo Sewer Authority.

A conceptual rendering of the green infrastructure potential in downtown Buffalo from Rain Check, a program of the Buffalo Sewer Authority.

By CORY NEALON

Published February 26, 2019

“RENEW fellow Kevin Meindl is helping to make a difference. ”
Oluwole “OJ” McFoy, general manager
Buffalo Sewer Authority

If you’ve driven along the S-curves on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo lately, you may have noticed work underway to improve Scajaquada Creek in Forest Lawn Cemetery and Delaware Park.

If you’ve driven down Niagara Street, Northland Avenue or William Street, you may have noticed those thoroughfares have new curbs, sign and bike lanes.

This is all due, in part, to the efforts of UB RENEW Institute Fellow Kevin Meindl, who worked with the Buffalo Sewer Authority (BSA) and the city of Buffalo to make these projects happen.

Meindl, who recently accepted a job as a landscape architect with the BSA, is exactly the type of person RENEW had in mind when creating its fellowship program. The fellows are a small group of engineers, urban planners and scientists who work in conjunction with city officials, dedicating 80 percent of their time in City Hall and out in the field, and the remaining 20 percent at UB.

RENEW Fellow Kevin Meindl helped with the recent dredging, shoreline buffer and wetland restoration project in Scjaquada Creek in Buffalo.

RENEW Fellow Kevin Meindl helped with the recent dredging, shoreline buffer and wetland restoration project in Scajaquada Creek in Buffalo.

“RENEW Fellow Kevin Meindl is helping to make a difference. During his time as a RENEW fellow, Kevin led the planning, spatial analysis and project management for green infrastructure capital project designs and construction with the Buffalo Sewer Authority,” says Oluwole “OJ” McFoy, general manager of the Buffalo Sewer Authority. “During his tenure as a RENEW fellow, he led technical advisory committees with local and national researchers, academics and practitioners to advance collective knowledge and green infrastructure implementation in Buffalo.”

RENEW Director Amit Goyal says the fellows program is helping RENEW achieve its goal of making Buffalo a model for other cities in implementing sustainable solutions in innovative and cost-effective ways.

Green infrastructure projects, such as the dredging, wetland and riparian habitat improvements in Scajaquada Creek, as well as streetscape improvements, are transforming the physical condition of Buffalo, and propelling it to the forefront of what it means to be a smart and sustainable city, Goyal says.

“One of the goals of the innovative partnership between the city of Buffalo and the RENEW Institute — wherein RENEW fellows are embedded within the city to help implement the city’s energy plan and to build connections between university faculty and the city of Buffalo — was to provide experience to the fellows to conduct impactful work,” he says. “Kevin’s experience as a RENEW fellow involved collaboration with UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the School of Architecture and Planning, as well as other local and national researchers, academics, practitioners and local community organizations such as PUSH Buffalo and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper.

At the BSA, Meindl will be leading the planning and design of the Rain Check green infrastructure program. Rain Check Buffalo is a multimillion-dollar effort to implement high-performance landscapes that increase resiliency by managing stormwater, reducing urban heat island effects and increasing the plants, trees and natural spaces throughout the city that work toward mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts.

“I am humbled for the opportunity to make a lasting impact on our city, honored to be serving under the leadership of Mayor Brown and the Buffalo Sewer Authority administration, and excited to implement projects that directly improve the quality of life for those who live and work here,” Meindl says. “I look forward to continuing a close relationship between the city and the university.”