Making Way for History: Kearns Awards Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park $250,000 in State Grant for Museum Expansion Project

The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park will convert hangar building into ‘Hall of Honor’ to make room for historic items and memorabilia.


Buffalo, NY– On Friday, October 27th 2017, Assemblyman Kearns announced $250,000 in state funding for the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park. Kearns was joined in the Hangar Building at the Naval & Military Park by the park’s chairman of the Board of Directors Donald A. Alessi, and Executive Director Captain Brian Roche. The money awarded to the Naval & Military Park will be used for renovating, updating and expanding Buffalo’s exceptional Naval and Military Park’s Hall of Honor, formerly The Hangar Building.

As popularity of the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park continues to grow, so has the desire from the public to donate historic items and personal memorabilia to the park. The limited amount of exhibition space for such items has led to the development of a plan to convert the hangar building, currently used mainly for storage and events, into a ‘Hall of Honor” with exhibit space. As of now, the only space readily available to display artifacts and other historical items is on the second floor of the museum’s main building. This expansion and renovation of the hangar building into a ‘Hall of Honor’ would provide the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park the opportunity to take in and showcase a variety of historic exhibits, items and personal memorabilia donated to the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park and space to expand its educational programs.

“As the son of a Korean War veteran, the dedication of the Buffalo Naval & Military Park to capturing Buffalo’s rich military history is admirable,” said Kearns. “I am grateful to New York State for contributing this funding to a worthy project, aimed at continuing the renaissance in Buffalo. Walking through the Naval Park offers a calm and soothing environment of remembrance for our veterans. I am honored to help in any way to ensure the continued success of the Naval Park and the vital role it serves in our community.”

“The Naval Park’s Board of Directors and staff is grateful to Assemblyman Mickey Kearns for recognizing the importance of the Park as one of the top tourist attractions in Western New York and its mission to honor Veterans,” added Naval Park Board Chairman Don Alessi. “The grant will greatly help foster that recognition as we reconstruct our Hangar Building into a “Hall of Honor.”

“Assemblyman Mickey Kearns is a devoted supporter for veterans and his most gracious grant is a true example of his deep commitment to the Park,” said Captain Brian Roche, executive director of the Naval Park. “The Assemblyman’s grant will further enhance momentum to the building of the Naval Park’s Hall of Honor.”

Support for the project has also come in from the City of Buffalo, which dedicated bond funds of $240,750 in 2016 to develop design plans and construction documents for the ‘Hall of Honor’ expansion. The design process is currently underway, with completed plans expected in 2018. Erie County has also dedicated bond funds of $960,000 in 2016 to implement Phase 1 of construction.

buffalo naval park, mickey kearns, don alessi

Board Chairman Don Alessi thanking Assemblyman Mickey Kearns for the generous $250,000 grant for the Park.

Captain Brian Roche, BNMP, Buffalo, NY, Buffalo Naval Park

The media looking on as Captain Brian Roche welcomes guests to the press conference.

Mickey Kearns, Captain Brian Roche, Don Alessi

(From left to right) Don Alessi, Board Chairman, Assemblymen Mickey Kearns and Capt. Brian Roche.