The Revival of North Tonawanda’s Botanical Gardens

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Beautifying the Botanical Gardens in North Tonawanda are continuing to bring the community together.


By: Eric Zadzilka

3rd Ward Alderman

Common Council President


Common Council President Eric Zadzilka


When it comes to monumental community projects, who would have thought that two words – restore and sustain – would become the impetus and the mantra to jump-start such a creative, effective, collaborative, and innovative effort?

This synergy between North Tonawanda residents, city officials, and the NT Parks Department ignited an undertaking that began almost four years ago. After I organized a few community garden cleanup projects, some residents asked me how our NT Botanical Garden could return to its former glory. This was my opportunity to engage those interested residents, whom I called upon in 2016 to form the Beautify the Botanical Garden Committee.

The goals of this new group were to transform this neglected city park into a scenic destination for special events, social gatherings, community education, and other activities. Each and every one of the residents who came out to be part of this organization were passionate about restoring and sustaining the NT Botanical Garden worthy of the pride we once had in it.



As with any project as large as this there were bound to be challenges. Two of the challenges we faced right off the bat were funding and bodies to facilitate our vision.

The committee progressed quickly over a short time; facilitated by community volunteers on scheduled workdays.  Randy Bradt of the Niagara County Legislature procured funds from casino fund revenue for the City of North Tonawanda to use to help this project. I requested that those funds be used to replace the garden’s centerpiece – a gazebo that had become unsafe over time – that ultimately was installed in August of 2016. Soon thereafter, funds became available for a kayak launch which was installed later that same year.



This grass roots group has now became the North Tonawanda Botanical Garden Organization (NTBGO); a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Legislator Randy Bradt played a key role in this transition and this organization was officially incorporated on June 14, 2018.


Niagara County Legislator Randy Bradt


The NTBGO achieved tax-exempt status on July 23, 2018, which allows for applications for available grant funding. In fact, more than three applications have already been submitted for three grants.

The NTBGO has even partnered with other local nonprofit groups. For instance, NTBGO supplies plants for Project Pride’s planters and is working with Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper on educational programs and tree breeding.



A greenhouse was put to use last winter for growing hundreds of annuals and perennials that have been planted in the botanical garden and around the city.

Many of the botanical garden’s flowerbeds have already been transformed. The old fountain area is now a butterfly garden designed to attract pollinators such as birds, bees, and butterflies. Three low-lying areas that collect storm water in spring and fall months have been turned into rain gardens with plants that thrive in wet conditions and also attract pollinators.

Many future plans such as plant sales to residents and instructional garden events are also taking shape.


Mayor Art Pappas and Alderman-At-Large Robert Pecoraro assisting in clean-up efforts.


The NTBGO has an active membership. Its Executive Committee members are Chairman David Conti, Vice Chair Mathew Wolcott, Secretary Laura Pecoraro, and Treasurer Amanda Reimer. Many other members share their gardening and plant expertise; Sherrie Mitchell, Coleen Erick, James Moll, Bruce Herman, and Lauren Tandy are the core group.

Quarterly meetings are held in February, May, and August at the NT Public Library; and meetings are open to the public. The annual meeting is held in November.

Projects and community workdays are scheduled on Saturdays throughout the year.  Please visit their Facebook page, North Tonawanda Botanical Garden Organization, or email at

Consider attending an upcoming event or becoming involved with an incredible venture to beautify our Community.

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