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ECHDC open house for public to learn more, provide input on Buffalo cruise market study


Fri, Jun 16th 2023 08:55 am

June 22 meeting seeks feedback from stakeholders, public on potential for cruise lines coming to Buffalo waterfront

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. will hold an open house on Thursday, June 22, for the general public and key stakeholders to learn more about and provide input regarding the potential to bring passenger cruise ships to Buffalo.

A press release stated, “In 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced plans for cruise ships to arrive, depart and dock in Buffalo. The Buffalo cruise market study’s goals are to assess market potential and measure anticipated economic benefits associated with cruising to the Buffalo region, as well as establish a strategy involving physical, operational and marketing investments to maximize available market and economic opportunities.

“ECHDC and project consultant Moffatt & Nichol also launched the Buffalo cruise market study project webpage, which provides a project overview, schedule and additional materials on the project.

Mark Wendel, ECHDC senior director of design, said, “The excitement is building as we move forward with exploring Gov. Hochul’s vision for the waterfront, which includes bringing cruise lines to Buffalo. The overall plan includes engaging the cruise line companies, reviewing the necessary infrastructure to host the Great Lake cruise ships, and collaborating with other tourism professionals to maximize the visitor experience of the cruise line customers. We look forward to hearing the feedback of stakeholders and the public as we explore the economic potential of a cruise line project.”

The public open house will be held at the Pavilion at Canalside (on the canals, across from the Explore & More Children’s Museum) from 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 22. There will be a short presentation at 6 p.m. The purpose of the open house is to share information about the project and seek feedback from members of the public. Throughout the project, ECHDC will continue to seek feedback from stakeholders and members of the public through interviews and small group meetings. The final study will be presented in December.

The press release 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.

“Over the past decade, ECHDC has restored 21 historic acres at Canalside and 200 acres on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, which has resulted in $300 million in new development. In August 2023, Gov. Hochul announced accelerated funding to redevelop Buffalo’s waterfront, focusing on several key projects. These projects focus on increasing pedestrian waterfront access and recreation; provide road and safety improvements to create waterfront parkways; and invest $87 million in the DL&W Terminal for a new commercial activity center and metro rail station.

“These activities to-date have led to the Buffalo cruise market study planning effort. ECHDC is tasked with developing and implementing the governor’s vision of a redeveloped Buffalo waterfront to attract people and businesses.

This spring, ECHDC hired Moffatt & Nichol to conduct a cruise market study for Buffalo and the Great Lakes Region.

A dedicated website that hosts all project-related information, including the open house details, can be found at https://buffalowaterfront.com/activities/buffalo-cruise-market-study.

Moffatt & Nichol is a global infrastructure firm that provides engineering and consulting services to clients in the marine terminal, transportation, energy, environmental, federal and urban development markets around the world.

As a subsidiary of Empire State Development, the state’s chief economic development agency, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor, and the Outer Harbor.

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