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NYSDOT Project Completed on Buffalo's Outer Harbor

Jul 18, 2014
Press Release
Officials Hail Completion of the Tifft Street Pier and Boardwalk

New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Regional Director Darrell Kaminski and Congressman Brian Higgins today were joined by state and local officials at a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of the Tifft Street Pier and Boardwalk along the Outer Harbor in the city of Buffalo, Erie County.

“Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, and with the support of our federal, state and local officials, the Buffalo Outer Harbor has been transformed into a true recreation destination,” said Regional Director Kaminski.  “Western New Yorker’s are encouraged to experience the revitalized waterfront and all it has to offer with its miles of pathways, trails and boardwalks, pavilions, piers and fishing docks along the scenic waterfront.”    

“Completion of the Tifft Pier represents the most recent piece in a puzzle creating interconnected parks and public spaces along the Outer Harbor,” said Congressman Brian Higgins.  “This project, supported by federal funding, was envisioned by members of the community volunteering on the Outer Harbor Parkway Landscape Committee who worked closely with the NYSDOT to design the Pier as a unique feature drawing people closer to the water.  Five years ago Fuhrmann Boulevard was a one-way, crumbling roadway that people couldn’t find if they tried.  Today, the Parkway provides a beautiful access to Tifft Pier and multiple new destination points from Union Ship Canal down to the Buffalo Lighthouse.”  

The $4.3 million project included various enhancements for formerly neglected urban areas located along Fuhrmann Boulevard on the Outer Harbor.  The Tifft Street Pier was constructed to extend into the Outer Harbor at the westerly terminus of Tifft Street.  This pier provides a new fishing location with floating docks.  A new boardwalk area was constructed to provide public access along the Lake Erie and Outer Harbor shoreline.  The pier and boardwalk, coupled with new park space, seating and provisions for public art, make this a destination for residents, tourists and families.  A covered pavilion highlights the Tifft Street Pier and provides a new signature element along the waterfront.

The project also constructed the Industrial Heritage Trail along Fuhrmann Boulevard just north of Ohio Street.  This historically themed recreation area includes a series of historical interpretive markers that tell the story of how Buffalo’s working waterfront developed and contributed to the growth of the Buffalo Outer Harbor.  The industrial heritage of this area is referenced in interpretive elements that identify historic and contemporary industries.  The trail includes recycled Belgian blocks, historical timber benches, architectural lighting, heritage markers and landscape beds.    

On the east side of Route 5, a new fishing dock was built on Lake Kirsty at the entrance to the Tifft Nature Preserve.          

"Much attention is being paid to the Buffalo Outer Harbor because of significant improvements and obvious progress that is being made to our revitalized waterfront," said Senator Mark Grisanti.  “The transformation continues with the completion of the Tifft Street Pier and Boardwalk, making it the ideal destination for Western New York residents and visitors to our region, especially families who want to enjoy the natural scenic view.  I applaud all those involved with this project and look forward to more positive developments in the future."

Senator Tim Kennedy said, "Buffalo's waterfront is already the place to be this summer, and with the completion of the Tifft Street Pier and Boardwalk, our resurgent city will have one more attraction to bring even more people to our shorelines.  We've been working hard alongside the state Department of Transportation and our federal and local partners to help drive the rebirth and rapid development happening here at the water's edge, and this investment will help spur sustained growth in Western New York starting at our waterfront.  This $4.3 million project connects our proud industrial history with the boundless opportunities and bright days waiting for us in our immediate future.  Thank you to Governor Cuomo for advancing our collective vision for a vibrant waterfront with important investments like this."

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, “Encouraging and preserving public access to the water is the critical component we need to have a thriving waterfront in Buffalo.  The newly renovated Tifft Street Pier and Boardwalk is a terrific addition to our growing waterfront landscape.  My thanks to New York State for investing in this new asset which with enhance public access to the water.”

“The completion of the Tift Street Pier and Boardwalk is yet another visible sign of how hard we are working to provide more public access along the Lake Erie and Outer Harbor Shoreline,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown, noting that the $11.3 million redevelopment of Ohio Street is well underway, strengthening an essential link between Buffalo’s inner and outer harbors.  “People enjoy being on the water and the Outer Harbor is going to be the next great destination in Buffalo.  Today’s celebration is a testament to the strong partnerships we have to help Buffalo realize its full potential on the waterfront.”

“The new Tifft Street Pier is another important way we are working to connect the people of Western New York to the waterfront,” said Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chairman, Robert Gioia.  “Each improvement on the Outer Harbor brings more people to Buffalo’s shoreline.  The exciting ideas coming from residents at recent ECHDC Outer Harbor public meetings show us that Governor Cuomo’s vision for utilizing our most important resource is coming into focus; every new project builds on the waterfront’s potential for economic vitality and enjoyment.”

The completion of this project marks the end of several planned projects that helped to reclaim, revitalize and greatly enhance the Buffalo Outer Harbor.  Over the past several years, State Route 5 was reconstructed from the U.S. Coast Guard Station to the Union Ship Canal, which provided new access to the Lake Erie waterfront and created economic development opportunities.  Highway interchanges were redesigned to afford the most convenient access to waterfront businesses and attractions.  Fuhrmann Boulevard was transformed from a neglected industrial road into a parkway.  Twin pavilion structures were constructed adjacent to the Gallagher Beach Pier, south of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Boat Harbor.  An elevated boardwalk was constructed along the east side of the Times Beach Nature Preserve to improve pedestrian access to this area for wildlife viewing.  Access has also been improved along north and south sides of the Union Ship Canal with the completion of the new boardwalk promenade and a kayak launch.  Multi-use paths and trails have now been established along the shoreline for recreation.  

Collectively, the completion of these projects has transformed formerly neglected and decaying spaces on the Buffalo Outer Harbor into vibrant, exciting recreational destinations for the community along the waterfront.          

The prime contractor on the project was Mark Cerrone, Inc. of Niagara Falls, Niagara County.