"What we're doing out there is making it pedestrian friendly [with] public access to the waterfront. There's potentially going to be a sand beach at this location," says Sam Hoyt, regional president of Empire State Development Corporation.
The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation is part of Empire State Development.
The work will also include shoreline enhancements, and fixing up an existing building into a comfort station and garage.
The effort represents the first construction project for the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation at the Outer Harbor.
The project should be complete by Memorial Day.
The following a news release about the project from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office released on Thursday.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the start of construction on improvements at the Outer Harbor in Buffalo, marking the first step toward creating a shovel-ready, mixed-use development site.
The project represents the state Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation’s (ECHDC) first construction project on the Outer Harbor. Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy joined local officials today to kick off the start of construction and tour the project site on Fuhrmann Boulevard.
"No longer will this section of the Outer Harbor be an underutilized stretch of waterfront property that visitors and the citizens of Buffalo cannot access," Governor Cuomo said. "Building new development on the outer harbor will generate jobs, create more economic opportunity and give Buffalo’s residents greater access to the waterfront. Projects like this are key part of our efforts for bringing Buffalo Back and revitalizing Western New York."
Following ECHDC’s principle of public access, the site will have access along the entire length of the perimeter and water’s edge with various design components, including pedestrian paths, volleyball courts, natural playgrounds, wind sculptures and public docking. Additional work on the site will include shoreline enhancements; removal and disposal of miscellaneous concrete slabs and foundations; installation of a soil cap over the entire site; installation of site utilities and site lighting; and the rehabilitation of an existing building into a comfort station and garage. Additionally, the site will develop six acres of land that will be made shovel ready for future mixed-use development. The project is expected to be complete by Memorial Day 2013. The Outer Harbor will also include a sand beach in the future.
Lieutenant Governor Duffy said, "When this project is complete, the people of Buffalo will finally be able to relax at the waterfront and enjoy a view that has been hidden for far too many years. Governor Cuomo has made rebuilding Western New York a centerpiece of his economic recovery agenda, and today's announcement builds on the energy that can be felt throughout the region. The Outer Harbor is a prime location from new development and activities and will be a catalyst for many things to come in the City of Buffalo."
The Outer Harbor parcel (Parcel OH) is made up of the Cargill Parcel purchased by ECHDC in 2008 and the former New York Power Authority parcel that housed the ice boom until it was relocated to a new site. The NYPA parcel was recently acquired from NYPA as part of the re-licensing agreement.
ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia said, "Our goal is to replicate the success of Canalside by increasing opportunity at the outer harbor. Governor Cuomo continues to be a champion for Buffalo and Western New York, and a staunch advocate for the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation’s guiding principle of providing public access to the waterfront. I am pleased to see this project get underway so that by Memorial Day 2013 the public can enjoy this waterfront asset."