Lawmaker Says Project Should Feature Environmentally Friendly Design and Ample Green Space
BUFFALO, NY - In a letter to United States General Services Administration Administrator (GSA) Lurita Doan, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) is calling on the federal government to adopt a “Green” design strategy in the development of a new Peace Bridge and American Plaza.
“The Peace Bridge Plaza project is a challenge and an opportunity to provide efficient, predictable access while incorporating the greatest, greenest principles of sustainable design,” Congressman Higgins said in his letter.
GSA is responsible for the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and disposal of thousands of federally owned real estates. Upon completion of the Peace Bridge project the GSA will lease the facilities, owned by the Peace Bridge Authority, for U.S. Customs and Homeland Security operations.
In his “Go Green” request, Congressman Higgins is pushing for the GSA to work with the Peace Bridge Authority to maximize green design of buildings and green space. In his letter Higgins suggests the following elements:
· Highest Possible LEED Certification: The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Projects are awarded Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification depending on the number of credits they achieve. Congressman Higgins is pushing the GSA to pursue the highest possible LEED Certification as they work on the design elements of new buildings, inspection booths, plantings, lighting choices all of which will maximize energy efficiency while reducing long-term utility costs.
· Building the Niagara Corridor: With construction underway for a new environmentally friendly federal courthouse located in Niagara Square, Congressman Higgins believes a “Green” American Plaza and Peace Bridge further down on Niagara Street would complete the bookends to Buffalo’s gateway, bringing the promise of new energy along the Niagara Street business corridor.
· Ample Green Space: The Peace Bridge expansion plan calls for a $25 million fund for buffers, community enhancements and other mitigation factors. Congressman Higgins is asking the GSA to consider the project’s proximity to the Olmsted designed Front Park in all design efforts. In his request, the Congressman is asking the GSA work with the Peace Bridge Authority to maximize available green space and support the return 3 acres of green space to Front Park, the creation of 5.2 acres of new buffer/green space near the plaza and 2.7 acres of additional parkland in the surrounding neighborhood.
“The existing bridge has been in operation for the last 80 years and a new bridge will serve us for another century,” added Higgins. “Smart choices today benefit us economically and environmentally for decades to come.”