Extension advances Cuomo's vision to increase access to Buffalo's waterfront, doubles linear footage of docks
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. cut the ribbon Friday on its 520-linear-foot dock extension along the Central Wharf at Canalside in Buffalo, doubling the dock's length and bringing the total amount of berthing space to nearly 1,000 feet. It will allow for up to 40 additional boats to dock at Canalside.
"Today's ribbon-cutting demonstrates another move by Gov. Cuomo to enhance the experience for the anticipated 800,000 individuals that will visit Canalside this season," said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. "The dock extension will boost seasonal and recreational use of the Buffalo River and Canalside, further connecting residents and visitors to our region's greatest natural asset. We heard from the public that it wants increased access to the waterfront, we listened and we delivered."
The majority of the docks will have 30 inches of freeboard, to match the existing floating docks. The last 40 feet at the southern end fill have a lower profile with 12 inches of freeboard to allow easier access for smaller vessels like kayaks, canoes and other non-motorized watercraft. BFLO Harbor Kayak is now set up at the south end of the site, toward the Skyway pier and DL&W Terminal. A platform and gangway at the southern end of the docks, as well as an additional gangway at the northern end, will allow increased and efficient access to the docks.
New this year is also water bike rentals through Water Bikes of Buffalo.
"When first installed, these docks were the only publicly accessible, wheelchair-accessible docks in the region," said Tom Nowak, president of Great Lakes Watersports Institute, which runs the program Adaptive Watersports at Canalside. "They have proven enormously successful and the extension will make this great waterfront asset available to even more people."
In addition to the seasonal docks, ECHDC purchased a floating platform to allow for safe and easy docking for larger vessels, like tall ships. The floating platform has an adjustable access platform and two gangways to efficiently manage circulation of tours and crowds when large ships are visiting. It will be used for events such as the Maritime Festival, when Canalside will welcome the tall ships Peacemaker and Lynx to Buffalo's waterfront to celebrate the maritime history and tradition along one of the world's most storied canalways, Sept. 13-15.
Congressman Brian Higgins said, "Increased activity along Buffalo's waterfront is creating additional demand for facilities to accommodate all of the new and returning visitors. With each project we build excitement and momentum that is important to Western New York, not only for the public space it provides, but the jobs and economic opportunities multiplying as a result of the groundwork we've built."
State Sen. Mark Grisanti said, "I am excited to be a part of yet another development downtown. This expansion on the waterfront will provide more access for those who enjoy watersports. I again encourage everyone to come on down and check out Canalside and all the great things happening every day."
State Sen. Tim Kennedy said, "This is another sign of progress and another opportunity for Western New Yorkers to come out and enjoy Buffalo's waterfront. Canalside has so much to offer, and we must build on this momentum and continue to support economic development. I thank Gov. Cuomo and my colleagues in government for their ongoing focus on rebuilding Buffalo, starting at the water's edge."
Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, "Public access to the water should be the No. 1 goal as efforts are undertaken to improve our waterfront. This latest project shows an ongoing commitment by Gov. Cuomo to provide that public access, and create new recreational opportunities for all boaters during the upcoming summer season at Canalside."
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "The extension of the Canalside dock adds another feature to a one-of-a-kind attraction here on our waterfront. Visitors who enjoy boating, kayaking and canoeing will feel right at home as they take to the water and enjoy the summer at Canalside, with recreational opportunities for all to take part in."
City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "Today's announcement is further proof of the continued progress along the Buffalo waterfront that's spurring new investment and job growth. I'd like to thank Gov. Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Duffy for their dedication to the City of Buffalo and Canalside, where there's something for everyone. The dock extension is another part of this great success story, bringing more city residents and visitors to downtown Buffalo and our beautiful waterfront."
Herbert F. Darling Inc., the contactor, completed the $998,000 project on time and on budget. New York Power Authority funds and the balance of the inner harbor state funds paid for this project.
To reserve dock space, contact the dock operator, Brand On Services Inc., at 716-851-6501.
ECHDC recently launched its 2013 season of summer programming at Canalside and debuted www.canalsidebuffalo.com, a mobile-friendly events calendar. This year, Canalside will host more than 800 events and activities presented by 108 local individuals and organizations. It is expected that the programming will attract 800,000 visitors to Buffalo's waterfront. New offerings this year include "Canalside Food Fight" - a series of food truck competitions; a games and leisure component featuring an outdoor reading room and games, such as badminton and other lawn/board games, as well as pool, ping pong and foosball in The Ruins; and "A Celebration of Music" with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Friends. Old favorites returning with expanded programming include Explore and More Children's Museum, Young Audiences of WNY and the African American Cultural Center. Also back for 2013 are the Saturday Artisan Market, Music at the Ruins and fitness programs, such as yoga, tai chi and Zumba.