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Higgins welcomes big plans to invest $44.3 million in Buffalo's waterfront over next 5 years

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Mon, Nov 9th 2020 12:45 pm

Says more major improvements coming to Outer Harbor under leadership of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.

Congressman Brian Higgins welcomed adoption of a general project plan (GPP) for Buffalo’s Outer Harbor by Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.

He said, “This year gave us a renewed appreciation for our outdoor spaces, including the mental and physical healing it provides to the public. We have helped to deliver incremental improvements to Western New York’s waterfront, but to sustain the momentum we cannot rest on what has been accomplished – there is still work ahead for this community to reach its full waterfront potential. We appreciate Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation’s focus and look forward to this continued progress.”

The plan calls for $44.3 million in investments to 208 acres of Buffalo Outer Harbor property over the next five years. The projects are funded with $15 million in New York state funding provided through the Buffalo Billion, $9.8 million in federal funding and close to $19.5 million in funding made possible through the federal relicensing settlement with the New York Power Authority, which Higgins fought to secure.

Features include improved waterfront access, new event space, additional passive and active amenities and new comfort stations.

For years, Higgins fought for transfer of Outer Harbor property from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to ECHDC. The transfer occurred in 2014 at a cost of just $2 – as Higgins requested – which set the stage for public improvements to hundreds of acres of land.

Buffalo’s Outer Harbor has already seen in excess of $120 million in improvements in the past decade, including: transformation of Fuhrmann Boulevard into the Outer Harbor Parkway, the creation of Buffalo Harbor State Park, and numerous enhanced destination points at Gallagher Beach, Times Beach, Tifft Street and Lake Kirsty Piers and the historic Buffalo Lighthouse.

The plan released also laid out an additional $105.7 million in waterfront improvements proposed to be constructed in the subsequent 15 years, for a total 20-year investment of $150 million.

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