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Results of Outer Harbor public input survey now available

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Tue, Sep 11th 2018 11:30 am
Survey results will help inform ECHDC's efforts; next public meeting on Outer Harbor is Nov. 19
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. (ECHDC) has released the results of its Outer Harbor "Capital Planning Phase" public survey. The qualitative survey, which was conducted both online and in-person, was part of the agency's first community meeting to seek public input for three projects focusing on access and the activation of over 150 acres of Buffalo's Outer Harbor. View results of the survey here.
Beautiful, natural, enjoyable, peaceful, relaxing, vast/open, but also disconnected were some of the frequently recurring words used to describe the Outer Harbor. Many respondents view the Outer Harbor as a place for a variety of outdoor activities, a natural escape from the city with great views and beautiful sunsets. They expressed a desire for the Outer Harbor to maintain usable green space while adding basic amenities and better public access to the water. While the Outer Harbor has improved, according to respondents, most want to see a continuation of natural development. Many recurring themes and ideas centered around a desire for more trails, nature preserves, lake access, restrooms, swimming/beaches, boating amenities, restaurants and events, among other responses.
The survey results will help inform the project alternatives for the following areas: First Buffalo River Marina, Wilkeson Pointe to the Bell Slip, and Terminal B. The projects are part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's vision for a dramatic transformation of Buffalo's Outer Harbor. Click here for a map of areas that will see improvements.
The survey, conducted by Bergmann, was distributed at a July 11 public meeting and was available online from July 9 to Aug. 13. There were 290 respondents to the survey (237 to the online survey and 53 in-person at the open house). The gender of respondents was skewed slightly more to females over males. Slightly more than 40 percent of responses were from people aged 50-69, but people aged 30-49 were also well represented. Nearly half of respondents reported they live in the City of Buffalo, while the remainder reported living in the surrounding cities, towns, and villages; confirming the Outer Harbor is currently a regional asset and not a huge tourist attraction. Most respondents proved to be knowledgeable of the Outer Harbor, having been able to identify key locations of the site when asked to pick from a list. While one-third of respondents enjoy the Outer Harbor on a weekly basis, two-thirds visit once a month or less.
ECHDC is currently working on capital planning for the following projects:
•Northern Site: First Buffalo River Marina
  • 15 acres
  • Enhance public access
  • Maintain 115-slip marina
  • Enhance Queen City Bike Ferry access
  • Identify potential adaptive reuses of the Connecting Terminal grain elevator
  • Consider long-term development potential
•Central Site: Wilkeson Pointe to Bell Slip
  • 124 acres
  • Includes Michigan Pier and Wilkeson Pointe
  • Includes Slips 2 and 3 and Bell Slip
  • Consider improvements that will enhance access and visitor experience
  • Discuss natural community habitats
•Southern Site: Terminal B
  • 15 acres
  • Approximately 96,000-square-foot, one-story building
  • Program study for metal frame building
  • Identify uses most appropriate for the site
  • Proximate to exterior events lawn, currently under construction
The next public meeting is 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at a to-be-determined location near the Buffalo waterfront. For more information, visit https://outerharborbuffalo.com/accessandactivation/.
The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. is governed by a nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors. As a subsidiary of Empire State Development, the state's chief economic development agency, ECHDC supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor and the Outer Harbor.

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