In 2005 Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) pushed for the creation of a board made up of local people who would be responsible for timely decision making and oversight of developments on Buffalo’s waterfront. Three years later we are making real progress on the inner and outer harbors thanks to the efforts of that board, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC), in conjunction with those of Congressman Higgins.
On Memorial Day weekend we saw the construction gates open along the Erie Canal Commercial Slip providing the public with unprecedented access to a transformed waterfront area with boardwalks, a pedestrian bridge, greenspace and informative historical markers.
“Just months ago this prime waterfront property lay dormant with only weeds and rocks void of any activity or real access,” said Congressman Higgins. “Last weekend I visited the inner harbor several times. Hundreds of people turned out to enjoy the new space. There is a demand for and a real excitement about what is happening here.”
This week additional actions were taken to improve Buffalo’s inner and outer harbors:
· The ECHDC will enter a $299,676 one-year agreement with Buffalo Place for maintenance, security and event planning at the inner harbor site. Congressman Higgins initiated discussions between Buffalo Place and ECHDC and encouraged the maintenance agreement. Grand opening events are being planned for July 4th week.
· A $214,008 engineering agreement for demolition of the Aud and Donovan building was authorized. Demolition will occur upon the completion of the ongoing asbestos removal project scheduled to conclude later this year. Demolition will clear the way for new mixed use development along that property.
The projects listed above will be paid for in part by funding secured through the New York Power Authority Relicensing settlement agreement championed by Congressman Higgins.
“This is about making important investments in assets unique to Western New York and building new economic and public energy on those investments,” added Higgins. “We still have a great deal of work ahead of us but after years of talk and master plans today we have something real to enjoy and build on.”