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What Should Buffalo Put On The Outer Harbor?

4---Buffalo-Outer-HarborOver the next few days, the public has the chance to help waterfront planners put projects on the map in Buffalo's Outer Harbor. Literally.

Planners working with the state's Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., held the first of several meetings Wednesday evening to allow the public to share their vision for the property, on the other side of the Buffalo River from downtown's bustling Canalside District.


Some attendees with stickers of Ferris Wheels in hand, voted for attractions, by placing them on the map, others preferred parks, each looking at what would fit and be desired on a vast plot that stretches from the Small Boat Harbor to the  Buffalo Lighthouse and US Coast Guard Base

4b---Buffalo-Outer-Harbor"Our study area is about 171 acres. Most of us don't wake up in the morning knowing what 171 acres means, in terms of what it can contain. So one of the things we are sharing and learning about in these meetings is what can you put on a long thin strip of land with limited access to the rest of downtown Buffalo," said Karen Alschuler, a consulting planner with Perkins-Will, the firm hired to help state officials decide what to do with that property.

In Our Webpoll (above R) or at

"We just about finished having an existing visions report and for that we've collected some basic information," Alschuler says, adding that things like wind, weather and transportation will also be factored in to what the public suggests

Buffalo's Early News In Depth:
Hear John & Susan In-Studio with

Dennis Dornan, Architecht, Planner & Project Manager, with NYS consultant Perkins+Will

On Collecting Ideas From The Public
How The Workshops See What Fits

On The WBEN Liveline:
Cong. Brian Higgins with Dornan
In September, the state reached an agreement to transfer most of the outer harbor lands owned by the NFTA to the state. Approximately 190 acres -- including what was once the NFTA's Small Boat Harbor, and the adjacent Gallagher Beach will become a new state park.  The remaining acres, in a strip of land will be developed into other uses that the latest planning meetings will help flesh out.

At yesterday's meeting the public also got the chance to review what has worked in other city waterfronts, to see if such developments would fit here. 

"What this process will do is try to coordinate those best practices with what the passionate folks have for this area," says Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. Chairman Robert Gioia.  But  he warns they are not seeking one big "silver bullet"  development for the property.

"And when you see the activity and the vibrancy and diversity and the crowds at Canalside ,(pictured R)  we like the way that has turned out. Starting small and letting it grow, as opposed to the silver bullet theory. I don't know that there are many ideas or opportunities for that to go forward," he says.

" Many of these projects take 10 to 20 years in other communities. We have a governor who has said he's not accepting that." Gioia adds.

Three final proposals from the consultants are due in August.

A second meeting on the plans will be held Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Makowski Early Childhood Center on Jefferson Avenue. A final public session will be held Saturday at 9:00am at the Old First Ward Community Center on Republic Street in South Buffalo.

07/10/2014 6:45AM
What Should Buffalo Put On The Outer Harbor?
Please enter your comments below.
07/10/2014 9:33AM
Giant Trump statue
"He is our hero and we worship him devoutly" - WBEN audience
07/10/2014 2:44PM
container port most infrastructure is in place might need to expand the rails into the area
07/10/2014 2:54PM
International Village
An international village should be developed that represents the different immigrant groups who settled Buffalo. The area would have restaurants, shops, festivals, carriage rides in the summer, sleigh rides in the winter...
07/10/2014 3:36PM
Harbor Project Idea
A Planetarium and Climate Change Center (not just a political platform but a real center). This is a current idea, but even the structure itself can make a difference. I have heard plans of this before and the idea and putting a 8-10 story spherical structure (like Disney's EPCOT) would REALLY stand out on the skyline itself and say "Buffalo is ready for the future." There's a group in place with knowledge and some resources to run it already, they just need a home.
07/10/2014 8:33PM
Just look at Baltimore's Inner Harbor and Fell's point if you want ideas
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