Buffalo, NY – Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) joined members of West Seneca’s AmeriCorps and other local community groups to recognize the end of Earth Week 2006 and National Volunteer Week with the clean-up of Gallagher Beach along Buffalo’s waterfront.
“Earth Week is about each person doing their part to contribute a world with clean air, water and land,” said Congressman Higgins. “One of Western New York’s greatest assets is our proximity to fresh water. We must make the most of this natural resource by working together to see this area reach its full potential.”
"Congressman Higgins’ partnership with AmeriCorps affirms his commitment to Western New York’s young people and our shared interest in building a stronger community,” said Mark Lazzara Executive Director of West Seneca Youth/AmeriCorps.
“Cleaning Gallagher Beach is a way to help preserve the environment for Buffalo’s future, which, as young people, is important for our future as well,” added Victor Perez, President of the Corps Council that developed the Beach Sweep project.
On July 25, 2002, then-Assemblyman Higgins called for the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, to assume control of Gallagher Beach and the Small Boat Harbor from the NFTA. Governor Pataki agreed to the proposal on October 23, 2002. NFTA and State Parks have not yet effectuated the transfer. In the Assembly, Higgins has championed the effort to secure $19 million for Outer Harbor improvements, including the construction of a boardwalk and shoreline enhancements in the Gallagher Beach area.
Last year Congressman Higgins led a community effort for a greater settlement from the New York Power Authority in the Niagara Power Project Relicensing Agreement resulting in $279 million for Buffalo and Erie County which will be dedicated to waterfront development. The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, a group made up of local leaders established at the request of Congressman Higgins, will oversee projects developing along the Inner and Outer Harbor.
Construction will begin this summer on the Outer Harbor Greenbelt project which includes bank stabilization, environmental remediation and a pedestrian/bicycle pathway from the Pier Restaurant, south around the Bell Slip, to the Terminal A building. $9.24 million is in place to fund this project, including $640,000 from SAFE TEA LU, the six-year federal highway legislation, and $3.5 million from the New York State Clean Air Clean Water Bond Act.
AmeriCorps’ mission is to provide opportunities for Americans to help improve the nation through service to communities – making our environment cleaner, our children healthier, our schools better and our streets safer. The waterfront sweep is one of several clean-up events AmeriCorps took part in during Earth Week.
“This community is fortunate to have AmeriCorps and grateful to its members for the great work they are doing here today and continue to do everyday to make our region a better place to live,” added Congressman Higgins.