Amendment a Major Step Toward Consolidation of Coast Guard Land and Facilities at Sector Buffalo to Open 20 Acres of Land for Public Use
Washington, D.C. - Today Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) offered an amendment to the Coast Guard Authorization Act which passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that would pave the way for the consolidation of Buffalo Coast Guard facilities, restoring public access to 20 acres of green space surrounding the Buffalo’s historic lighthouse at the outer harbor. The amendment follows up on communications between Senator Clinton, Congressman Higgins, and U.S. Coast Guard officials regarding the possible return of this land for public use.
“I want to commend Congressman Higgins for proposing this amendment, which could not have come at a more crucial time. The consolidation of these facilities could help the City of Buffalo realize the full potential of its Outer Harbor without compromising the essential security and safety role played by the Coast Guard. This is a step in the right direction as Buffalo seeks to sustain its economic development. A move to consolidate will only supplement current economic activity by allowing for development on the waterfront. I hope that we will soon have the opportunity to make this idea into a reality,” Senator Clinton said.
“This is an important step toward restoring full public access to Buffalo’s historic light house and valuable green space at the water’s edge, and an exciting opportunity for the Coast Guard to contribute to the new momentum and nascent economic development underway at Buffalo’s waterfront, without compromising any of the homeland security, search and rescue, navigational and other services the Coast Guard provides to Buffalo and other Lake Erie communities,” Higgins said.
Sector Buffalo currently occupies approximately 31 acres on the City of Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. The present configuration of the base prevents public access to a significant portion of the City’s waterfront, including one of our community’s most historic landmarks, the Buffalo Lighthouse. The Coast Guard has indicated that Sector Buffalo occupies a site that is too large for its needs, and is difficult to maintain and secure. In 2003 the Coast Guard drew up a preliminary plan to upgrade facilities – some of which are over 70 years old – and consolidate them in a way that would meet its operational needs and allow for future growth.
“Not only would restoring public access to these 20 acres of land contribute greatly to economic revitalization at the outer harbor, it would improve the efficiency of the Coast Guard facility.” Higgins said.
Higgins’ amendment requires the Coast Guard to submit a project proposal report to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee within 12 months. The report would include an evaluation of the most cost-effective method of providing shore facilities at Sector Buffalo, as well as the feasibility of consolidating Coast Guard facilities at Sector Buffalo, a preliminary plan and cost estimate for the design, engineering, and construction of the project, and a description of which excess lands will be turned over to the community. The project proposal study is necessary before the Coast Guard can proceed with construction of a consolidated facility.