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Higgins: Finishing touches underway on the Lodge at Buffalo River Fest Park


Mon, Feb 29th 2016 05:05 pm

Restaurant and banquet center set to be next destination on Buffalo's waterfront

Valley Community Association Executive Director Peg Overdorf and Congressman Brian Higgins, pictured, provided a sneak peek at the lodge located along the shore of the Buffalo River. The new waterfront destination is set for a full public grand opening this May.

"Progress begets progress, but it always takes a fearless outlier to get the ball rolling. Peg Overdorf has been a true believer in the Buffalo River and its surrounding neighborhoods, long before others could see the opportunity," Higgins said. "Over the last decade, millions in federal funding have been invested in the cleanup of the Buffalo River and surrounding infrastructure to make the river enjoyable and accessible. The lodge is the latest project building on the progress we've created and giving the public another great destination along the Buffalo River."

"The completed lodge will offer food, refreshments, bathrooms and fantastic views of the Buffalo River for local residents and the wider Western New York community to enjoy," Overdorf said. "We look forward to being open for business this May."

The lodge will serve dinners on Friday as well as lunch and brunch Wednesday through Sunday. The site, which has seating for 120 indoors and can accommodate several hundred outdoors, will also host banquets and special events. Construction on the building began in 2014. 

The lodge is located in Buffalo River Fest Park at 249 Ohio St. Under the leadership of Overdorf, who has served as executive director of the Valley Community Association since 1979, Buffalo River Fest Park first opened in 2011. Located in the shadows of the historic grain mills, the public park, which also serves as home to the annual Buffalo River Fest weekend, hosts a number of events ranging from concerts to yoga. The three-acre park features a band shell, picnic areas, a boardwalk, landscaping, a pergola, public docks and great views of the Buffalo River. 

The vision to build Buffalo River Fest Park has led to a number of surrounding investments that are making the Buffalo River one of Western New York's top destinations. Adjacent to Buffalo River Fest Park is Mutual Riverfront Park, an initiative of the New York Power Authority, which opened in 2012. In 2014, work was completed on the reconstruction of Ohio Street, an $11 million-plus project supported with federal and city funding. 

Higgins pointed out the lodge and other developments along the Buffalo River come following significant federal investments to cleanup the river, which was declared biologically dead nearly five decades ago. Over the past 10 years, the federal government, through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and other programs, has invested $72.8 million in and around the Buffalo River. An additional $34.6 million in support has come from state and local governments, $27.2 million of which was provided through the 2005 federal relicensing settlement with NYPA.

The lodge in River Fest Park is located 200 feet east of the Michigan Street lift bridge, which connects Buffalo's inner and outer harbor and is easily accessible from Canalside via the shoreline trail that runs behind the DL&W Terminal along the water's edge.

For more information on Buffalo River Fest Park, visit http://thevalleycenter.com/buffalo-river-fest-park or contact the lodge at [email protected].

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