Public's input sought for draft plan
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. Chairman Robert Gioia has announced the agency plans to hold a community open house to seek public input on a draft blueprint for the Buffalo Outer Harbor. The goal is to turn the long-neglected industrial property into a world-class mixed-use waterfront development that will combine open spaces and public waterfront access with economic activity and private investment.
Working with Empire State Development and Perkins+Will's San Francisco- and New York-based planning and architecture team, ECHDC officials want Western New Yorkers to review the draft plan, which was designed using the three preliminary plans created by the nearly 600 people who participated in multiple interactive meetings this summer. (See pictures here.)
"I thank the public investing their time and invaluable ideas into this design process. We are now one step closer to creating a blueprint for development of Buffalo's Outer Harbor," Gioia said. "The execution of the plan will take place over time, based on priorities identified through the course of this process and economic parameters. I look forward to seeing Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo's vision of a vital and inviting waterfront come to realization on the Outer Harbor. "
The open house will take place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, at WNED Studios, 140 Lower Terrace, Buffalo. The presentation will include introductions by Tom Dee, ECHDC president; a PowerPoint presentation by Perkins+Will explaining the preferred plan; manned information stations for Q&A interaction; and tables for discussion and writing comments about the plan
This is a final opportunity for public input before the draft is revised into a final blueprint later this month. The final blueprint will include both a long-term strategy to allow for changing conditions or future needs as well as early implementation items. The final plan is expected to be released in October.
Last September, Cuomo presented his vision for a dramatic transformation of the City of Buffalo's largely vacant Outer Harbor waterfront. This vision included the transfer of approximately 350 acres of waterfront land from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to the ECHDC, whose mission and resources will better enable it to support and expedite the land's redevelopment.
Approximately 190 acres of the transferred Outer Harbor lands, a small boat marina and a beach is now a new state park - and the first state park in the City of Buffalo under the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The remaining, adjacent land was primarily yet unplanned, but will ultimately feature mixed-use waterfront development under guiding principles established by the Buffalo waterfront development advisory committee, a group with five members appointed by Cuomo and four members appointed by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
ECHDC announced in April the state was moving ahead on plans to redevelop and dramatically transform the soon-to-be-acquired state land holdings on the Outer Harbor into a vibrant and accessible waterfront for residents and tourists alike. The selection of Perkins+Will as master consultant began the public planning process.
For more information, visit www.eriecanalharbor.com/outer-harbor
For more information on ECHDC, visit www.eriecanalharbor.com.