Buffalo, NY—Calling it the “next logical step in creating an interconnecting system of parks and open spaces,” Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) renewed his call for New York State to include Tifft Nature Preserve as Phase II of the Outer Harbor State Park. In a letter faxed to Governor George Pataki and NYS Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro, Higgins urged the Administration take all necessary steps to move on the expansion of the eagerly-awaited 90 acre Outer Harbor State Park.
One year ago this week, then-Assemblyman Higgins first called for the inclusion of the Tifft Nature Preserve into the adjacent, and soon-to-be-opened New York State Park at the Outer Harbor. “I believed it then and it is even more critical today that my idea be aggressively pursued as the fiscal collapse of the county has put an even greater strain on the local cultural organizations, including the Buffalo Museum of Science which has managed Tifft Nature Preserve for more than 22 years.”
“The State remains the best suited and best equipped to maintain and enhance the 264-acre site as it has the ability to fund capital projects and operational improvements to the Preserve over the long term.”
The Congressman noted the critical need for a long-term funding solution comes at the same time as a long-awaited public access construction project is at the site. The $1.17 million Tifft Street Greenway project will provide a pedestrian and bicycle pathway linking the Tifft Nature Preserve to the Outer Harbor and to the Tifft Playfields. “The waterfront will finally be connected to the neighborhood and the neighborhood will be connected to the waterfront-bringing the pedestrians and bicyclists right to the entrance of the Tifft Nature Preserve,” said Higgins.
The critical piece of public access infrastructure will bring more awareness and certainly more people to the fishing, hiking, recreational, educational and environmental opportunities available at Tifft Nature Preserve, most likely the first “Brownfield” reclamation project in the country.
“Tifft Nature Preserve provides an unique urban sanctuary that shelters birds, and a large number of plants and other animals all just minutes from downtown Buffalo. We all have a responsibility to ensure that these natural resources are protected not just for today but for generations to come. The Buffalo Museum of Science has borne the burden of fiscal, operational and programming management for more than two decades – and they are to be credited for their stewardship,” said Higgins.
“Taking the aggressive step of folding the Preserve into the Park will ensure that Tifft is open and available for generations to come,” concluded the Congressman.