Brian has long believed in a simple formula for waterfront development: remove the barriers to public access, provide high-quality public destinations along the water’s edge, and economic growth, private development and opportunity will follow. In 2005 he led the charge to secure a $279 million federal relicensing settlement from the New York Power Authority, which has funded and continues to fund parks and public improvements along Buffalo’s Inner Harbor, including Canalside, and Outer Harbor.
In 2013, Brian set out to help the City of Niagara Falls reclaim its waterfront. He pushed for removal of the Robert Moses Parkway to reconnect people and neighborhoods with their waterfront and insisted the New York Power Authority was responsible for paying for it.
Brian’s waterfront efforts reach outside of the Cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Examples include: federal funding for the West River Parkway on Grand Island as well as the Intermodal Hub & Comfort Station connecting waterfront trails in the Tonawandas.
In Congress Brian is a champion for programs that promote, invest in and protect our water. Robust funding for the Army Corps of Engineers ensures waterways are navigable and shorelines are protected. Continued protection of our National Heritage Areas build new opportunities in Niagara Falls and along the Erie Canal. As a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force, Brian fights to reduce threats to our water, including chemical and wastewater pollution, harmful algal blooms, and invasive species, and pushes for expanded funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has led to revitalization of the Buffalo River.
More on Waterfront
The $5 million East Canal public space stretching between Washington and Main streets in Buffalo is under construction with a December 2013 completion date. The East Canal project will create an outdoor public space that will feature fountains, seating and a tree grove. It is located just south of One Canalside – the former Donovan State Office Building – which is currently being renovated into office and hotel space. Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy ceremonially broke ground with local officials on the latest components of the Canalside development today.
Today, in his Washington, DC office, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) met with U.S. Army Corps Buffalo District Commander Lieutenant Colonel Owen Beaudoin as well as Army Corp planning and project management staff to discuss plans recently announced by the Army Corps to fence-off access to Squaw Island Pier. During the meeting the Army Corp agreed to reverse their decision and work with Congressman Higgins to maintain public access to the site.
Congressman Brian Higgins is saying “not so fast” to a federal agency planning to limit waterfront access in Buffalo. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently announced plans to fence off Squaw Island fishing pier, a popular waterfront access point for local fishing enthusiasts. Congressman Higgins raises formal objections to efforts to restrict access to the site in a letter to the Buffalo Commander.
This week marks the annual tradition of removing the ice boom from the Niagara River, a sign of spring, but this year also a sign of progress for Buffalo’s waterfront. An agreement in the New York Power Authority (NYPA) relicensing settlement provided a new home for the ice boom, formerly stored on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor which has resulted in two new public waterfront parks.
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) expressed shock and disappointment upon learning of plans by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to “postpone” the 2013 National Veterans Golden Age Games in Buffalo, NY. Higgins is urging the VA Secretary to reconsider and proceed with the event, titled Warriors on the Waterfront scheduled for May 30 through June 4, 2013.