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ECHDC approves GPP for Canalside interpretive structures project


Mon, Dec 11th 2017 01:30 pm
The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. board of directors met Monday and approved two items: the adoption of the general project plan (GPP) for the Canalside interpretive structures project, and an environmental consultant services contract.
"With the growing popularity of Canalside as a tourist destination, the demand for visitor amenities has been growing," said Robert Gioia, ECHDC chairman. "Our GPP for the Canalside interpretive structures project satisfies visitor needs while also further interpreting and activating the commercial slip and central wharf. We can't wait to move forward on these projects."
The GPP for the Canalside interpretive structures project defines the project, the budget, determines there are no significant environmental impacts, and sets a public comment period and hearing.
 The $12 million project consists of several capital improvements and investments that will facilitate increased public amenities, access and activation of the Canalside area. The pavilion and union block building, both located along the commercial slip, will lengthen Canalside's programming season and provide visitor services and public restrooms.
The ECHDC board will need to approve subsequent contracts, such as construction manager and construction contracts, to spend the project budget. These sites are City of Buffalo-owned, but ECHDC operates and maintains the area under its management agreement with the city through 2024.
The ECHDC board also awarded an environmental consultant services contract to LiRo Engineers for an amount not to exceed $314,500 for a three-year term with renewal options for two individual, additional years. As property owners, ECHDC has a legal responsibility to comply with environmental regulations on land it owns on the Outer Harbor. The contract will consolidate resources and provide more efficiency in response to both known and unknown environmental conditions at Buffalo's Outer Harbor.
The ECHDC is governed by a nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors. The seven voting directors are recommended by the New York state governor and are appointed by the New York State Urban Development Corp. d/b/a Empire State Development as sole shareholder of ECHDC. The two nonvoting, ex-officio director positions are held by the Erie County executive and the City of Buffalo mayor.
As a subsidiary of ESD, the state's chief economic development agency, the ECHDC supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor and the Outer Harbor that is attracting critical mass, private investment and enhance the enjoyment of the waterfront for residents and tourists in Western New York. Its vision is to revitalize Western New York's waterfront and restore economic growth to Buffalo based on the region's legacy of pride, urban significance and natural beauty.
For more information on ECHDC, visit www.eriecanalharbor.com.

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