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ECHDC board authorizes contracts to 'build on waterfront success and improve visitor experience'


Wed, Mar 15th 2023 08:45 pm

Contracts approved include a market study for cruise ships, Erie Canal bicentennial visitor experience, Winter Storm Elliott restorations

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation met and authorized several contracts to “build on the waterfront’s success and … advance it as a visitor destination.” The ECHDC board approved contracts for a cruise ship industry market demand study, Erie Canal bicentennial visitor experience, and emergency maintenance and restoration services on the Outer Harbor.

“Gov. Hochul and ECHDC have spearheaded revitalization projects along Buffalo’s waterfront that have demonstrated the success of New York state’s strategic placemaking investments,” ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia said. “The actions taken today build on that renewal and will lead to additional visitors, capitalize on Buffalo’s history and support year-round activities.”

Based on a recent overall resurgence in passenger cruise ship demand, M&N Engineering, DPC will undertake an industry market study related to the potential cruise industry in Buffalo. The New York City-based multidisciplined engineering and planning firm, with an upstate office in Rochester, also includes Cheng Solutions LLC (M/WBE) and Encourus Group (SDVOB).

ECHDC stated, “The Buffalo/Niagara Region has long been a destination for water-dependent industries, with special importance attributed to its Lake Erie location and close proximity to Lake Ontario. Passenger cruise ships have served the Great Lakes for hundreds of years, with successful ports currently active from Detroit and Cleveland to Duluth, Minnesota, and Toronto. M&N’s scope of work will include: establishing a comprehensive understanding of the current state and future prospects of the Buffalo/Niagara region’s Great Lakes cruise ship industry; creating a Buffalo/Niagara Region strategy to guide the development of a successful cruise ship industry on the Great Lakes; identify and detail the needed infrastructure improvements for a Buffalo homeport and the Buffalo/Niagara Region’s cruise ship ports and port attractions; and determine economic development benefits to construct a permanent cruise terminal using two scenarios (new construction at Michigan Pier and rehabilitation of DL&W Terminal). The contract amount with M&N to complete the scope of work will not exceed $217,387.”

The ECHDC board also authorized a contract with Local Projects, a New York state design firm with an office in New York City, for design and fabrication services related to the Erie Canal bicentennial visitor experience.

ECHDC stated, “Local Projects will design, fabricate, install and service several indoor and outdoor experiences at Canalside for world-class experiences specific to Buffalo and its history with the Erie Canal. Local Projects focuses on exhibition and media design for museums and public spaces and specializes in engaging audiences through emotion and technology, and developing new ways for people to interact with art, cities and one another. Its team also includes Hadley Exhibits (Buffalo-based), Tillostson Design Lighting (WBE, NYS-based), Zenith Systems, My Active Driveway (MBE, NYS-based) and/or (WBE, NYS-based), and Loyal Kaspar (NYS-based). The contract amount with Local Projects is not to exceed $1,012,000.”

The ECHDC Board also authorized a contract with NW Contracting for emergency maintenance and restoration services at the Outer Harbor related to Winter Storm Elliott. The December 2022 storm damaged areas of ECHDC’s Outer Harbor shoreline properties, and deposited debris along points of public access. The storm also eroded shoreline riprap, undermined multiuse pathways, toppled trees and destroyed fences. Several sections of the Outer Harbor were immediately closed for safety reasons. The work is primarily needed at locations along a 2-mile stretch of shoreline known as the Greenbelt Trail and Bell Slip, as well as at the Bike Ferry Landing. Restoration will include stabilization of stone and naturalized embankments, asphalt repairs, fence and gate repairs and/or replacement. The contract amount with NW Contracting is not to exceed $602,644.

Funding for all these contracts is from the New York Power Authority, through relicensing agreements tied to the operation of the Niagara Power Project.

The ECHDC Board of Directors also approved the corporation’s operating and capital budgets for the fiscal year 2023-24.

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